Every year thousands of cyclists roll into town for one of the largest bike rides in the nation, and officials with Downtown Wichita Falls Development are making sure riders have a place to park their bikes when visiting the downtown area.
It took about a month to build and is the first of four sculptural bike racks being installed in the area.
Downtown Wichita Falls Development is partnering with the WFISD Career Education Center to allow more bike racks to be built and welded by local high school students.
The downtown area has seen more and more foot traffic over the past couple of years, and now more and more cyclists are rolling around, and that’s why officials wanted new sculptured bike racks installed so they may park their bikes and stay a while.
Wichita Falls is home to the largest 100-mile bike ride in the nation and with thousands of riders visiting the city, Executive Director of Downtown Wichita Falls Development Jana Schmader said they wanted to accommodate riders’ needs.
“As visitors come in the see that we are committed to adding infrastructure to downtown for cyclists,” Schmader said. “We want to make it more inviting, more accessible and then we want to give them a place to park and get off their bike and spend their dollars in our economy.”
With help from the economic development corporation and private donors, a new bike rack was unveiled at 8th and Scott in front of Highlander Pub and Schmader said they got it installed just in time for HHH.
“When we started getting into this process, we said we would really love to do this before HHH, can we make that happen? Between the Burn Shop and between city staff who expedited agreements everyone collectively worked together to make sure that we could get this first one done, installed and unveiled and ready for HHH,” Schmader said.
Others have jumped on board with making downtown more bike friendly.
Owner of Half Pint Cynthia Doten recently installed a bike rack in front of their business, and while Hotter ‘n’ Hell was on her mind, Doten said the rapid growth of downtown played a big part in wanting to install it.
“We thought about it because of HHH, but we’ve seen more traffic down here, we see more people riding their bikes down here, and say for example, we’ve noticed one person leaning their bike up against the patio fence and it would be easier for them because they probably worry about it falling over, but if it’s right here, there’s more access to them,” Doten said.
And with more and more businesses popping up, downtown officials hope that the new bike rack creates a domino effect and inspires more businesses to get behind the bike-friendly movement.
This is the first of four sculpture bike racks being installed in Wichita Falls by downtown WF Development.
They will install a Sheppard bike rack, a Hotter ‘n’ Hell bike rack and an MSU bike rack in the near future.