By guest writer Shyra Allen, May's Year of Yay! ride co-leader
For more than 5 years, Yay Bikes! has designed rides to help cyclists enjoy our city from the seat of their bicycle—one of the best ways to see Columbus. I was given the opportunity to lead Year of Yay! May 2016. Setting out on my 17th YOY ride, I was 50% kid, with the wind in my face and my heart pumping Kool Aid. At my side was co-lead Shirley Droney, followed by a long trail of old friends, first-time riders and even moms and dads with double trailers. Check out the route we took!
Our first stop was in Easton Town Center where we attempted to interpret the “Getting From Here to There” mural. Despite our best efforts to collectively interpret its meaning, our pondering was drowned out by the unexpected arrival of what I’ve now termed “the green tractor” puffing smoke and noise and refusing to go away. However, it gave us the opportunity to hydrate and prepare for ride to the Golf Depot mural.
Against the backdrop of Saturday’s hustle and bustle traffic on stretches, long winding roads and climbs of Stelzer, Columbus Metropolitan Airport, Hamilton Rd and Tech Center Dr, we peddled our way up to Golf Depot—the highest point in Franklin County, 8 miles from downtown Columbus—and its breathtaking view of Columbus’ skyline. There we were met by Steve Renaker, Director of Golf & Hospitality Assets. He said that he “couldn’t believe that people really go look at murals on bikes,” which translates roughly into “Yay Bikes! is boss!” Steve talked about how amazed he was to watch the artist paint the mural by himself in three days. He was awed that throughout the Golf Depot Mural there were groupings of color that ensured a mixture of levels and shapes that increased the visual impact of the mural. Most importantly it captured the beauty of golf that Steve loves, plus his co-founders’ passion for trains.
Our shortcut to Gahanna’s Rocky Fork Vista on the Big Walnut Creek Trail was a welcome change as we descended to the heart of Gahanna’s downtown. Warmly greeting us at the Gahanna History Mural was another community partner, Zac Guthrie of Gahanna Parks & Recreation. The overcast day could not dim Zac’s pride in the mural or our delight at the ivory tones accented by chocolate browns and black lines that reflected the natural light of the mural’s Southern exposure—exuding a feeling of warmth through color, texture and dimension. We were also grateful for his shout out to YayBikes! for the bike valet that we provide for Gahanna’s annual Creekside Blues and Jazz Festival.
Wrapping it up, we grabbed a snack and water from our saddlebags, preparing for our last stretch with only one destination in mind: Whole Foods. We splashed in shallow water puddles, jumped over twigs in the road and sped down a hill with the wind in our hair. Suddenly I was 100% kid. But never, not once, was I at all bored.
Thanks to everyone who braved the threat of rain to join our ride. See you next month! Until then, check out this audio profile of the ride from the fabulous Darrell McGrath: