This book endeavors to change the nation’s perception of Indianapolis as being a place filled with speeding automobiles. I will be using the words ahead to show why I moved here from San Francisco as a way to make the National Bicycle Greenway real. You see, in the last twenty years, because of its internationally renowned Greenway system that is fed by its globally celebrated, downtown Cultural Trail, the only one of its kind in the world, Indianapolis now offers the most bike friendly business district in America!
Soon, you will see how, in coming full circle back to being a top place for cyclists, it was the bicycle, its clubs, racers and industry captains that helped make Indianapolis the world’s original leader in the early years of gasoline powered transport. You will also learn how one dynamic man, Carl Fisher, used his successes in the universe of pedal power to make the car the ruler king it then went on to become.
This book will show you how the transportation innovations Indianapolis brings about continue to affect the face of the Nation. From the nearby Lewis and Clark starting point, to Fisher filling the region with first HiWheel then conventional bicycles, to its revolutionizing train travel with implementing the first union train station in the world, to one of its companies making chain affordable enough that bicycles could be sized down to where they could be stood over, to another one of its businesses (run by Fisher) making it affordable to drive a car past sundown, to it bringing about the first car highway to connect the coasts (led by Fisher), Indianapolis has always stood at the forefront of how we as an American people move about.
In laying a foundation for showing you how it was the actions that took place in Indianapolis that brought about the America we now know, I will use the beginning of this book to take you through the timeline of a short history of long distance travel in America. It also won’t be long in the first chapter, before I also tell you about what was needed before cars could even exist to then enjoy the roads that would bring the Western frontier into the 20th century. Building on this, in the next chapter, you will see the part one still flourishing Indianapolis company, Diamond Chain, played in making a part that most all machines, whether powered by humans or by motors, need even today.
As the Crossroads of America where half of the nation is now within an 8-hour car drive, this book will show how it was Fisher who gave purpose to long distance driving. You will see how he got Americans everywhere to help him build the first road across an entire continent. The Lincoln Highway, originated in, and developed from Indianapolis, was the first arterial to travel from the Eastern Seaboard to the Pacific Ocean.
We will also see how Mr. Greenway, Ray Irvin, led the charge that transformed the Rust Belt City Indianapolis had gone on to become into its now being known as the Greenway Capital of America. As an extension of Irvin’s work, the 8-mile Indianapolis Cultural Trail is what we will be keying off of as we endeavor to connect the coasts for cyclists.
By the time you have finished this book, you will understand why I need to be here so I can relaunch the National Bicycle Greenway from where Greenways are a known and valued commodity. In daily using and learning about the Cultural Trail, I look forward to locals helping me devise a formula that establishes Downtown Greenways in all 19 of our other NBG Anchor cities that connect San Francisco to Washington, DC. With such a template in place, the NBG can help cities show themselves off as they attract bicycle visitors from all over the nation and world. It will be this new tourist economy that will inspire bikeways to and from these population centers as they also use them to connect to one another with the result, in time, of what we have long foreseen, the National Bicycle Greenway!