Over the past several years, the urban core of Columbus has changed, filled in and expanded. In that same period, roads have become safer for those who choose to trek the area on two wheels.
More stuff to see and better visibility for bikers? Win-win, friends.
Riders pedaling with Bike the C-Bus, the annual urban trek presented by the Long Street Tour, will see a city emerging in more ways than one.
"I think people are hesitant to ride Downtown," said organizer Ray George, a city cyclist who battles the impression that his pursuit is nothing but potholes and muggings. "That's not the reality. There's really cool stuff to see."
To change the common sense, George has created a 29-mile route past some of the best the city has to offer.
Riders will see the renovated Lincoln Theatre, community gardens at Franklin Park Conservatory and the nature center on the Whittier Peninsula. They'll also bike across the new Main Street Bridge, over the bricks of German Village and around the quaint traffic circles of Harrison West.
Some of the route uses city bikeways - including a stretch on the Olentangy Greenway near Ohio State University - but the majority happens in the streets.
Several distinct legs and numerous rest stops will give participants a chance to step off if winded. It's not a supported ride, but volunteers will be on hand to scout any perilous spots. Helmets are required.
"It's waking people up to what's actually here in town," George said. "Within the cycling community, there's a big disparity of people who live in the suburbs."
Around 500 are expected Saturday, up from just 190 two years ago. Entry costs $25, and proceeds will benefit area organizations including the Ohio Sickle Cell and Health Association and the YMCA.
"I got really good responses last year that people were educated on this ride," George said. "It's pretty flat for cyclists and has a lot of really neat neighborhoods."
Looking for other places to bike? Find trip guides and trail reviews from routes across the state at the Ohio Adventure Map, available at columbusalive.com/venture.