Bicycles race through downtown Indianapolis - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Bicycles race through downtown Indianapolis

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INDIANAPOLIS -

Some of the best cyclists in the Midwest took to the streets downtown in the Fourth Annual Indy Criterium race.

This race paints a bigger picture of how cycling is now embraced in Indianapolis.

Late Saturday Morning T McMartin wrapped up a 50 mile ride a little tired but filled with inspiration, "It's just a spiritual experience to be out there and do 50 miles by yourself."

McMartin took part in one of three recreational rides leading up to the Indy Criterium.

Which gave downtown Indianapolis a Tour De France feel with more than 500 cyclists of all ages and skill levels testing their endurance, their power and more importantly, their will.

"We have beginner races all the way up to the most experienced racers, the category one which is right below being a pro racer," explained Jennifer Cvar from Indy Crit.

This race offers more than some thrills, it shows Indianapolis is coming into its own in the cycling world.

"Oh it definitely says we are an up and coming cycling community. Just to have something this big is amazing," said McMartin.

Leaders in the cycling community say the city has come a long way in just the past two years.

IndyCog's Kevin Whited, said, "I think it has, I think it has I mean there's still a lot of work to do but I think we are rounding that corner as we speak."

Just in the past two years under Mayor Greg Ballard's lead, the city has added 75 miles of bike lanes making commuting safer.

The city's investment reaches beyond bike lanes in fact right now there is a $1.3 million construction project going on the Fall Creek trail extending it 4,600 feet taking it from just north of downtown Indy to Fort Ben State Park.

Kevin Whited, the executive director of IndyCog says it's a change that's finally embraced, "After a short amount of time people get used to this new infrastructure. Anything new scares people."

McMartin welcomes the expansion but says the city should be proud of how far we have come with changing landscape and attitudes about biking.

The 75 miles of bike lanes are a part of Mayor Greg Ballard's Bikeways plan which will create more than 200 miles of bike lanes across the city over the next 12 years.

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