Sometimes you just have to hear it from someone else before you believe it.
Earlier this week I noticed a young couple sipping coffee and browsing the shop. I knew I had not seen them before, so struck-up a conversation. They were not looking for anything in particular, and seemed content to just soak-in the ambiance and learn what Two Wheel Transit was all about. They asked about the history of the shop and wanted to know more about the local cycling scene and community.
It turns-out they are from Baltimore and have been considering a move to the northwest both for what it does and does not have in comparison to home. She was interviewing for a job here and they decided to stay a few extra days for exploration. He went in search of single-track and put in on trail 25 at 7 mile in Riverside State Park. He was amazed that he could keep riding for 3 hours and not even come close to riding all that the park has to offer. We discussed the 24 hour race coming up there next month and they began to get a sense of how bikey this town is.
Living and riding here it is easy to focus on what is wrong - complete streets (lack of), unconnected infrastructure, intolerant drivers, etc. What was cool as we talked more was hearing their perspectives of our area and how easy it would be to bike to work and cover the city from end-to-end by bicycle. This would be unthinkable where they live in terms of size, safety, traffic along with other big city issues. Both were amazed that there is a vast network of skinny trails on the High Drive Bluff that we use for recreation and commuting. Finally, they also liked that we have so many inclusive bike-related events like Spokefest, Loreen Miller, Bike to Work Week and our shop ride to name a few.
So next time we get frustrated or annoyed at what we feel is slow progress or a missed opportunity to improve the cycling experience in our area, remember that from the outside looking in Spokane is a pretty cool place for bikes.