• Jay

    Come on come on, throw out the name of the other Bicycle-Friendly Community in Mississippi….

    (Hint, it’s Oxford…)

    May 19, 2014
  • Deem

    Ridgeland is the quintessential white-flight city. It’s citizens work in Jackson, then live across the county line, so they don’t have to look at black people after they get off work. Ridgeland, like most white flight cities, was hastily planned and developed which means horrific traffic and an almost complete lack of complete streets policy. Sure, there’s the Trace, which is more popular for motorcycles than bikes, but you can’t actually ride to the trace safely on a bike. You have to load up your bike on a car first…which kinda defeats the point of cycling, no? And riding down winding country roads in Mississippi on a bike?? I guess that’s as good as any place to die. Maybe the area has changed in the 8 years or so since I lived there, but this isn’t an area of the country that embraces change or progressive ideas, so I seriously doubt it. Kudos to the Bike Tourism folks for daring to visit the worst state in the country in search of bicycle friendly places, but I think you’re doing your followers a disservice when you advocate visiting Ridgeland instead of the myriad other places which are way better to ride.

    May 20, 2014
  • We absolutely agree that there’s a lot of work that needs to be done in Ridgeland, and across Mississippi. In our wrap-up with the city, we talked about the importance of building an improved network of safe routes that allow people on bikes to ride to the trail system or to the Trace or other destinations. And we pointed out that it’s crucial for the city and tourism folks to work with bike advocates. But writing off the city doesn’t do anybody any good. Change is slow; and for it to stick properly, it must be supported. Part of the reason that we support bike tourism is that it enables many more people than just die-hard bike advocates to come to the table and talk about improving their city. In a place like Mississippi, talking about the benefits of biking to work may not be a successful argument; but talking about how building bike lanes can bring in tourist dollars can resonate with the business owners and city officials who need to be on board.

    May 20, 2014
  • Michelle

    Wow! Deem! I am sorry someone tee-teed in your cereal this morning. I am guessing you would not believe your own eyes concerning how much progress has happened towards bike friendly cycling in the 8 years you have been away from Mississippi. The Metro area has at least 30 miles of multi use trail, beginners rides virtually every night of the week, a women’s only bike ride once a month and so many organized bike rides a cyclist has to choose which rides they can participate in each week. Mississippi is #31 on The League of American Cyclists bike friendly states list which is far from “the worst state in the country” to ride a bike. I will also mention that it is extremely easy to ride a bike to the Trace and on the Trace and all over the country roads and many of the urban roads in Mississippi – no car necessary. We have the same problems that every state has concerning drivers and cyclists which in my opinion is more about distracted driving than anti-cycling. Mississippi has a long way to go to become a top 10 cycling friendly state and Ridgeland has a long way to go to become platinum bike friendly city, but even Boulder Colorado has cyclists that own bike racks for their cars. Please consider coming down for a visit to see for yourself that Mississippi has embraced change and progressive ideas. I would be glad to take you out for a nice calming bike ride!

    May 20, 2014
  • Thanks all for the dialogue and discussion, which is an important part of growth and change. But I don’t think we should jump on anyone for their comments, because we all recognize that there is still a lot of work to be done. Our hope, with our visit to Ridgeland and this post, is to shed light on the changes that are taking place in some of the least-expected locations, because its places like Ridgeland that can help broaden the support for bicycling across the country.

    May 20, 2014
  • I spent two months in Mississippi this year, primarily in the Gulf Coast region, and it’s really a mixed bag. On the one hand, there were the terrifying, no-shoulder roads with pickup trucks barreling down them and the “bike paths” that were glorified crumbling sidewalks, but on the other hand, there were also signs of initiative in cycling infrastructure: low-traffic bike routes, sharrows and signage on major interstates, bike racks on city buses, etc. There are definitely improvements being made, but true to Southern way of life, they are taking their time.

    May 20, 2014
  • Here’s a link to what “deem” doesn’t know about bicycling in Ridgeland.


    May 21, 2014
  • John

    I am a resident of Ridgeland and avid cyclist. I take offense at the above comment, since I didn’t move here so I ‘wouldn’t have to look at black people.’ And Ridgeland goes back to the 1800’s, and hardly a ‘hastily planned white flight’ city.

    Named one of the top 100 towns to live in by Money magazine in 2007 and 2011, I suggest anyone visit and judge for themselves. One spectacular ride is 40 minutes away at the Vicksburg Mem. Park, with the closest thing we have to steep climbs, along the Mississippi River, amid pristinely kept battlefields.

    May 21, 2014
  • Wendi

    After 8 years, you should come back and see the biking community for yourself before you spread you obvious anger for the City of Ridgeland. I live in Jackson. I appreciate Gene Mcgee’s efforts on Ridgeland, and we on Jackson are reaping some of those benefits. Give progress a chance.

    May 22, 2014
  • Sacramennah

    Thanks for the tour overview, R&L. I’m planning a ride down the Mississippi later this year, from Ohio to NOLA and am very interested in riding impressions and tips. (there is precious little info out in the blogosphere.) I’m glad to hear that communities are picking up on the benefits of simply supporting safe accommodation for cyclists! We don’t ask for too much, we’re happy spending money on room & board, and we enjoy meeting local folk. Looking forward to riding on the Trace.

    May 28, 2014

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