Bikes to invade for Sunday’s Tour de Hillview

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Part of bigger plan for biking in city throughout year

By Stephen Thomas

HILLVIEW - The wheels are spinning in Hillview to enhance community health.

The city is sponsoring Tour de Hillview, a free bicycling event for all ages.

In conjunction with the event, officials will introduce the new Hillview Community Bicycle Project, a program sponsoring free bicycles for the community’s use.

Tour de Hillview takes place Sunday, Oct. 25, beginning at 10 a.m. in the Hillview City Hall parking lot.

Hillview recreational director Terry Bohannon said two separate rides will be featured, the longest stretching 12.6 miles around the city. A less-advanced 5-mile route will be available for younger or beginning riders.

“One goes around the city, the other one is in the subdivision,” Bohannon said.

Escort and chase vehicles will be provided by the city, showing lead riders which route to take and following riders at the back of the pack.

“The chase vehicles will be there in case somebody gets tired,” said Bohannon. “They can get a ride back.”

Tour de Hillview is designed for all ages, included fun tricycle events for the youngest riders.

Bohannon said all types of bicycles and bicyclists were welcome. Water will be provided. Helmets were not required but encouraged.

For more information about Tour de Hillview contact Bohannon, 957-5280.

The theory of the new Hillview Community Bicycle Project is to supply the Hillview area with both bicycles and community racks where the bikes can be retrieved and left again for use by others.

The project began when TARC employee and bicycle enthusiast Craig Gosselin contacted Mayor Jim Eadens.

“I wanted to try this community project,” said Gosselin. “Jefferson County was not the place to start that. Hillview was a perfect community for this.”

Gosselin decided to implement a project when TARC employees removed bicycles from an office cellar following recent flooding. As a former Olympic-style cyclist with the military, Gosselin used his knowledge and skills to fix up each bike for use.

Similar bicycle projects have shown success in other cities and on college campuses. Gosselin said Hillview was the first city in Kentucky to implement a program.

Gosselin also recalled a story about a bicycle left in New York City for free use. Whoever rode it was encouraged to write the owners and tell them where they went with the bike.

“That story stuck with me,” he said.

Along with six bicycles donated by Gosselin through TARC, the Hillview Public Works Department has prepared a number of bikes previously in storage and unclaimed.

Hillview City Hall is the first location to place a public bike rack for the program. Bohannon said 25 bikes would fill the rack to officially kickoff the program during the Tour de Hillview event.

Gosselin said beach cruisers and BMX bikes would be best for the program, being easier and less expensive to maintain. Handicap-accessible working tricycles would also be available.

“They can get on (the tricycles) and without having a huge amount of knowledge they can pedal and ride them,” Gosselin said.

Hillview will accept any bicycles as donations toward the program, no matter the condition. Gosselin said the bikes could be fixed up and used for spare parts in maintaining other bikes.

To keep the program active, volunteers will be asked to keep constant bike maintenance. Gosselin will host free classes to train volunteers on proper maintenance.

The self-sustaining project will continue with the help of volunteers and support through local businesses. The city hopes to place racks at various business locations throughout the city in return for program sponsorship.

Anyone wishing to donate bicycles to the Hillview Community Bicycle Project can drop them off at the Hillview Public Works Garage or call Gosselin, 716-8033, to arrange a pick-up. Volunteers interested in free bicycle maintenance classes may call Gosselin.

Businesses interested in sponsoring bike racks should contact Gosselin or the City of Hillview, 957-5280.

“I’m hoping that an exciting project like this will help bring forth community spirit,” Gosselin said.