Saturday, June 12, 2010

Bikes at Celebrate Fairfax

As we've mentioned, FABB will provide free bike valet parking at Celebrate Fairfax! on Sunday. If you bike there today (Saturday) you're on your own.

To check out what bike parking options there are on the site when there's no bike valet provided we rode to the event last evening. The road in front of the government center is blocked so we rode up to the person directing traffic and asked where the bike parking was located. He looked puzzled and asked a nearby policeman who said there's no bike parking and that we could probably lock up our bikes against the fence. We could ask at the next gate if we liked. We rode to the next gate and asked there. Same response. One person said we could probably lock up our bikes in front of the government center where there are two large grill racks.

Small problem, bikes aren't allowed in that area. There's a sign (above) that greets cyclists as they approach the entrance to the fair on the government center grounds that pretty clearly states that bikes aren't welcome.

The pile of bikes parked in the photo on the left were locked next to the entrance and shows what happens when you have only one cable lock and no bike valet parking. There are bike racks located at the two county buildings across Government Center Parkway. Let's hope next year Celebrate Fairfax! sends a more welcome message to bicyclists. They are doing so this year with Ride to the Fair Day on Sunday, but there needs to be better bike parking during the entire event.

Many people live in this area and should have the option of biking to the fair. We'll be there tomorrow and hope lots of cyclists show up on bikes, showing that there is a need for good bike parking. There are a number of routes to the Government Center as indicated on the Fairfax County Bike Map. See the Government Center area map for details.

Update: Thanks to the FABB volunteers who helped out on Sunday for the bike valet service. Unfortunately there were very few people who rode to the fair. One problem is that few people think of using bicycles for transportation in this area. Even though experienced cyclists have no problem riding here, there are no dedicated on-road bike facilities and the trails are unmarked and not well maintained. Until Fairfax makes a commitment to developing a better bicycle infrastructure, only the most dedicated cyclists will use bikes for  transportation.

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