One day last summer, I saw a request for a few folks to come out to Scott for a photo shoot for Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. Diane and I ended up doing it, along with Craig Zediker, Tim Hittler and Lauren Johnson. It was more of a production than I expected, as they had multiple still photographers and videographers, along with a whole lot of gear. They shot hours of video and thousands of photos as we rode up and down the pecan grove, sometimes riding past the the stationary cameras and sometimes following along behind a convertible or a truck with photographers on board.
I got a DVD from one of the photographers and, since I never saw or heard any more from it, was glad to have some nice pictures and figured we were filed away somewhere. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I saw an ad in Bicycling Magazine and in a Parks and Tourism insert in the DemocratGazette that used one of the pictures. Bicycling only showed my shoulder, but I knew it was me! I understand that they've seen the error of their ways and included the rest of me in the latest issue, along with Diane's hip. A friend mentioned that he'd seen the ad at Bicycling Magazine's online mag.
The ad with us in it rotates with some others, but of all the Arkansas ads link to :
...where there is a very well done video promoting cycling in Arkansas. Look fast and you'll see people that you know if you are local. My sister lives in Connecticut and her response to the video was, "Now, instead of trying to tell people how beautiful Arkansas is, I'll just show them this."It conveys a very positive image of bicycling in our State.
I must admit, I think it's kind of cool to show up in Bicycling, especially since it's not as the "before" boy in one of those "Lose 15 Pounds Fast" articles. I'm pleased that we can have a very small part in promoting cycling in Arkansas.
I'm sure that they pulled out those file photos to get onto the coattails of the overwhelming popularity of JBar Cycling!
Call Out to Mayor Pat Hays and the NLR City Government:
I was at a meeting the other day that included NLR Mayor Pat Hays and I praised the new piece of bike lane near the Burns Park Funland mentioned here a few days ago. He said, "That was my idea. I thought it would give riders the ability to make the Funland loop without getting into the traffic and allow riders crossing the freeway to gather some speed while giving drivers a chance to see them before they enter the lane."
Good thinking, Mayor, and thanks! A small project with a very positive payoff!
The mayor is a rider and, in fact, came into the meeting on his bike and in kit saying, "I can't stay long. I have to get my ride in."
Work continues in North Little Rock to improve bike infrastructure and public awareness of cycling. At a recent City Council meeting, Alderman Sam Baggett expressed concern that the City was too focused on bicycles and suggested that perhaps something like a city shooting range would serve his constituents more. If you live in NLR Ward 3 (which includes Levy, Scenic Hill, Amboy, and Crystal Hill) and ride, please drop Mr. Baggett a note just to let him know you're out there and that you support the City's progressive stance on cycling. He was not "antibike" at all, but I got the impression that he didn't think there were many riders in his ward, though I can think of 4-5 off hand. Cycling can use his support.
Regardless of your ward, if you're a NLR resident, drop your alderman a note just to let them know that we are a city with a lot of cyclists and we appreciate their support.
For the most part, the cycling improvements being considered in NLR do not cost a great deal, but a few signs, some marker paint and public education can go a long way when it comes to enhancing the cycling experience and getting people involved in commuting and recreational riding. The more "mainstream" cycling becomes, the better off we are.