In my family, we have been looking forward to the grand opening of the Cultural Trail for a long time. We draw a lot of attention as we bike around town: 2 adults (plus a bike trailer carrying a toddler) and 6 children on bikes, my husband leading the way and me bringing up the rear, shouting encouragements to straggling “tired” complainers and warnings to those veering into traffic or fighting to get in front of their siblings. My husband and I have a long-standing argument about whether to ride on the sidewalk or the street. The Cultural Trail settles things beautifully for us — you ride here.
We also live in Fountain Square. We endured months of torn up streets, non-existent sidewalks, “no parking,” and construction vehicles and workers everywhere. My littlest son came into toddler-hood during this time and was elated. His best entertainment was walking down to see the “diggers and bulldozers.” Our older children were less enthused, but we kept telling them to “Just wait! This is going to be amazing.”
As the trail started to take shape, we began to see all the places we could go. In an interview in last week’s NUVO, trail founder Brian Payne said, “You can see every major arts/cultural/heritage/sports/entertainment venue from a safe, beautiful, framed experience that really takes all the anxiety and worry out of it.” How true. We discovered that my high school daughter could bike from home to Herron High School, both destinations only a few blocks from the trail. Last summer, my husband and I biked to Cafe Patachou every Saturday morning for breakfast and found it faster than driving and trying to find parking . . . and far more inspiring. Every week we would say, “Isn’t this incredible?? We are so lucky to live here!” One day last summer, we decided to bike as much of the Cultural Trail as we could. We biked to IUPUI, White River Park, the Central Library, Mass Ave, and home to Fountain Square, stopping off for coffee, lunch, shopping, ice cream, and talking with friends we saw along the way. We discovered new routes to places we didn’t realize were connected, innovative solar experiments, beautiful public art, a wildflower garden.
The nationally hailed Cultural Trail officially opened on Saturday. We got out our bikes and headed down to the trail early. After running into friends, we followed the marching band downtown, past outdoor zumba classes, a knitted house, a Brazilian street band who later taught my kids capoeira, and street games. We warmed up with free coffee and lemonade, played croquet and picked up new free books from my discovery of the day, Indy Reads Books (a gorgeous independent bookstore on Mass Ave. that gives all of its profits to fighting illiteracy in Central Indiana).
As the weather warms up, come out and explore the city again. Find something new to you. Our City Gallery show this month showcases Emma Overman’s magical discoveries in her Mapleton-Fall Creek neighborhood. I stopped in Kyle Ragsdale’s studio today for an early sneak peak of his view of the city, featured in the City Gallery next month. We’d love to hear what you discover as you bike or walk around Indianapolis this spring.