Columbia BikeAbout 2016 a big success. Ride again in 2017!

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The BikeAbout has its followers.  We love to see past participants sporting tee shirts from years past.

More than 400 riders of all ages enjoyed a great opportunity to explore Columbia on two wheels — and there was even one person on one wheel and a few people

Parent and child riding at bikeabout event with three wheels or more. This annual event always draws rave reviews, and 2016 was no exception.

The route began at the Downtown Columbia Lakefront and used the pathway around Lake Kittamaqundi and much of the new multi-use downtown pathway to start the ride up to Howard Community College and Howard County General Hospital before hopping onto the neighborhood pathways through Hickory Ridge, Harper’s Choice and Wilde Lake, then returning to Town Center.

Along the way, riders took the opportunity to learn more about Howard Community College; the contributions of Pat Kennedy during his tenure as Columbia Association’s president from 1972 to 1998; the 19th century grave site of Dorsey family members; Hickory Ridge place names; the preservation of the land in the Middle Patuxent Valley; unique tot lots like the first one that incorporated the ruins of a 19th century stone house; and the construction of Wilde Lake. You can see what they learned by clicking on any or all of those links.

Many riders reported that they learned new pathways and connections between villages. “I learned how extensive the pathway system is,” one participant said. “That’s after 35 years in Columbia, 20 of them biking.”

The BikeAbout is organized by Columbia Archives, which seeks to expose residents and visitors to the interesting history of the town, and by CA’s Open Space Management Division, which looks to increase awareness of the extensive pathway system it maintains. Measured against these goals, the 2016 BikeAbout was a huge success: The post-event survey revealed that 93 percent felt the event raised their awareness of Columbia history; 100 percent felt the event raised the awareness of the pathway system; 99 percent said they saw new pathways; and 66 percent said they were more likely to consider using their bicycles for errands, visiting places or commuting.

bikeabout event rider on sidewalk downtownRiders praised the excellent route, the signage, the friendly volunteers, the great organization; and how the community of Columbia continues to come together and get people motivated to enjoy the area where we live. There was also great appreciation for all the volunteers and the Howard County Police officers for helping out with street crossings, and for the free snacks provided by Giant Foods and Whole Foods Market. CARA (Columbia Amateur Radio Association), the Howard County Police Pathway Patrol Unit and Princeton Sports were on hand for any emergencies.

The route map is posted below, and CA’s Mobile App can help you follow it. Click here for more information about the app.

Those who enjoyed this year’s ride are welcome to join us again in 2017. Those who have never ridden before are invited to join in.