Reston resident Thomas Plevyak receives a bike map from FCDOT Bicycle Program Coordinator Nicole Wynands.
Photo by Carlyn Kranking/The Connection
Reston resident Thomas Plevyak rides his bike for exercise each morning and stops by the Reston Farmers Market on Saturdays, since it’s on his route.
“I’m a senior guy, and the exercise does me a lot of good,” Plevyak said. “And I’m riding my bike past [the market] anyway, so I like to come in here and pick up a few items. It’s very convenient for me.”
Plevyak said the bike paths in Reston were one of the reasons he chose to move to the area over two decades ago. Now, new bike lanes and trails across the county aim to make biking even more accessible. To raise awareness about such bike lanes and bike safety, the Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) and the Fairfax County Farmers Markets kicked off Bike to Market Week at the Reston Farmers Market on Saturday.
As market-goers moved from table to table, turning fruit over in their hands to find the best ones, FCDOT Bicycle Program Coordinator Nicole Wynands and Destination Sales and Marketing consultant Suzanne Patel manned a tent with bike maps and safety handouts.
IN THE PAST, FCDOT has led a Bike to Work initiative. But now, they are expanding to other, sometimes more accessible, biking destinations.
“Fairfax County is a big county, and not everyone can bike to work, so we are trying to encourage Fairfax County residents to try biking to other daily destinations too,” Wynands said. “The market is a great place to bike, so we’re here to basically provide some information on how to do so safely.”
Bike lanes have many benefits for pedestrians, motorists and, of course, cyclists. Bike lanes provide a buffer between pedestrians on the sidewalk and moving traffic in the street, improve visibility for motorists turning out of a side street or driveway, and make transit more comfortable for cyclists. Wynands said she hoped the information she gave to people at the market would encourage them to use their bikes more.
“A lot of people in Fairfax County have bikes, but they don’t use them as much, because maybe they don’t know where to go or where they feel comfortable going,” Wynands said. “We’re trying to show that you can bike anywhere, really.”
Patel shared information about Capital Bikeshare, a service that allows people to rent bikes and drop them off at any station when they are done using them. These stations are located around Washington, D.C., Arlington, Alexandria, Montgomery, Prince George’s County and Fairfax County.
“Biking is really easy,” Patel said. “The beauty of Capital Bikeshare is that we have stations placed all over, especially tagged to some of the main points where people would be going on their bikes.”
AS A RESULT of such outreach at markets this week, perhaps more people will follow in Plevyak’s footsteps and keep biking in mind as a viable mode of transportation or participate in future FCDOT events, like Bike to Worship Week, which is in the planning phase now.
“I think biking in general is very worthwhile,” Plevyak said. “It’s a wonderful exercise, it gets your heart rate up, gets more blood to your brain and all that sort of thing. If you have an event like [the farmers market], why not come here on a bike?”