Continuing on with things I loved about living and bicycling in the various cities I’ve lived and bicycled in (to wrap up National Bike Month), here are 10 things I loved about living and bicycling in Chapel Hill & Carrboro, North Carolina (which are two small towns that are pretty much merged).
- Biking to Weaver Street Market: Weaver Street Market is a co-op market that is essentially the center of Carrboro. It’s the most popular place in the area for hanging out, I think, as it’s got a nice green in front where concerts, impromptu picnics, and various events are held. Of course, it’s quite bike-friendly and I loved biking to there to do my grocery shopping, grab a bite to eat, hang out and people watch, or study.
- Nice Distances: The towns were relatively small and it was a nice distance to just about everyplace. I could jump on my bike and be where I wanted to be in a short time.
- Bike Culture: Being a progressive university city, there were a lot of bikers, progressives, and so on. While I wasn’t a part of any bike clubs or groups of bike fanatics (unless you count graduate school for city & regional planning), but the decent number of bikers made biking there so much nicer and more comfortable.
- Bicycle Path Connecting Carrboro & Chapel Hill: There was an off-road, short-cut bicycle path connecting Carrboro and Chapel Hill that I regularly used to bike to school. I think it actually inspired by Master’s thesis, a study on the relationship between bicycle facilities and bicycle travel in the United States & the Netherlands. It’s really not the most beautiful bicycle path in the world. But, it’s away from cars, peaceful, and useful.
- Small, Tree-lined Streets: These two towns have a number of beautiful old streets lined with huge trees and houses or buildings not set too far back from the street. Beautiful streets and nice to bike along.
- Area Transit: Chapel Hill Transit is (or was, when I was there) free. And, with bike racks on the front, they are quite useful if you don’t feel like biking uphill or in the rain or for some other reason. There were also regional buses that you could take you to Raleigh or Durham which also included bike racks.
- Biking Down Franklin Street: Chapel Hill, as you might guess, is on a hill. Biking up it is not my idea of fun, but you can pick up quite a bit of speed coasting down it, and it is a long coast. Fun stuff.
- Bicycling to & from Work (Whole Foods Market) Early in the Morning: For one year between college and graduate school I worked at Whole Foods Market in Chapel Hill. Working in the produce section, I had to get there quite early many mornings — 4:00, 5:00, or 6:00 am often. Biking there in the peaceful early morning was a pleasure, I would say.
- Bike Lanes: Carrboro & Chapel Hill have a decent number of bike lanes, nothing spectacular, but better than most U.S. cities.
- Spring: I had never really experienced Spring in Florida. Biking around in North Carolina during Spring was, therefore, a really wonderful and special experience for me. (& I’m sure I wouldn’t have enjoyed it nearly as much if I had been driving.)
That’s it for now. Any more ideas?
Check in later for another “Things I loved about Living & Biking in _________” post!
- 10 Things I Loved about Living & Bicycling in Sarasota, Florida
- #3 Portland, Oregon (USA): Great Bicycle City Photo Tour
- #4 Copenhagen, Denmark: Great Bicycle City Photo Tour
- #6 Groningen, Netherlands: Great Bicycle City Photo Tour
- #7 Berlin, Germany: Great Bicycle City Photo Tour
Photos via townofchapelhill/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 & Mark Haynes/CC BY 2.0