by Tao Oliveto, Carrboro, NC
Lance Armstrong, the seven-time Tour de France champion, has announced plans for opening a bike shop and commuting center in downtown Austin, TX, in May of this year. It will include bicycle/gear sales, bicycle storage and showers for commuters, a training facility and a cafe. Now you can ride in to work, grab a shower, breakfast and a chat with other riders before continuing to the office (by foot, bus, or pedicab).
Mellow Johnny’s, named for the yellow jersey, is making good-sense use of an existing 1950′s building and it is not just about the bike. Lance acknowledges the importance of encouraging and supporting a cycling culture in growing cities like Austin, “We have to promote (bike) commuting. This can be a hub for that.” Armstrong also promotes the addition of safe roadways for cyclists, positioning the new shop in close proximity to the the Lance Armstrong Bikeway, a path conceived of by a local cycling activist and subsequently funded by the city of Austin, that loops approximately 6 miles through the center of the downtown area.
With the revitalization of urban areas and the move towards mixed-use communities, an accessible mass transit system combined with a commuter bike center and safe bicycle lanes is what every city needs and what an eco-motivated population deserves. And I think many of us are motivated and inspired by new ideas and hope for a liveable and happy future.
And, I’m motivated by heroes like Lance, who, instead of resting on his laurels, is doing what he knows best and doing it for Change. Now I know that I’m riding with the best of them.