Walk & Bike
Over 8,000 people in Tompkins County walk and bike to work and school every day. We were born to walk--and walking helps keep our bodies and minds healthy. While not born to bike, we do a pretty good job of it anyway. Walking and biking are healthy, inexpensive, emit no pollution, burn calories, and are fun!
1. Purchase a bike (or comfy shoes). There are local bike shops that can help you find a bike that fits you well and suits your needs, or fix yours up:
- The Bike Rack - 409 College Ave, Ithaca - (607) 282-1010
- Boxy Bikes - 118 W Green St, Ithaca - (607) 216-8274
- Cayuga Ski & Cyclery - 624 W State/MLK St, Ithaca - (607) 277-6821
- Old Goat Gear Exchange - 320 E State/MLK St, Ithaca - (607) 319-4388
- The Outdoor Store - 206 The Commons - (607) 273-3891
- Swan Cycles - 226 Mt Pleasant Rd, Freeville - (607) 277-0495
2. Fix a bike. You can also go to one of these local repair clinics where you can get help fixing up your bike for free. Check their hours beforehand, as these are limited.
- Friends Bike Clinic - Quaker Meetinghouse (Madison & 3rd Sts, Ithaca)
- RIBs (Recycle Ithaca's Bicycles) - 530 W Buffalo St, Ithaca
3. Rent a bike. Try one out for a day, or longer:
- Big Red Bikes - bike share/rental on the Cornell campus
- Boxy Bikes - electric bike rentals next to The Commons - (607) 216-8274
- Ithaca Bike Rental - by Stewart Park on the Waterfront Trail - (607) 273-8364 x 157
4. Choose a route. Depending on your level of comfort, you will want to choose routes that have less car traffic and slower speeds. This biking map provides a sense of relative volumes of traffic on county roads, and this walking map provides some ideas for routes in downtown Ithaca. The Cayuga Waterfront Trail provides car-free travel from Cass to Stewart Parks, going by the West End, Farmers' Market, and Northside/Fall Creek neighborhoods.
According to the AAA, the average cost of owning a car is almost $9,000 a year, and about 60 cents per mile driven. Cars with average mileage pollute to the tune of a pound of carbon dioxide per mile. Imagine all you can save even if you switch some car trips to walking and biking.
- Bike Walk Tompkins - advocacy and education to change the culture and infrastructure of the Ithaca/Tompkins County area to make walking and bicycling safe, convenient, and accessible to all
- Finger Lakes Cycling Club - group rides, camaraderie, lots of cycling knowledge and more
- Ithaca Carshare - can give you a car when you need one so you don't have to own it yourself. Reserve it, unlock, and drive - you pay only for time and distance; Carshare covers insurance, fuel, and maintenance.
- Streets Alive! - Biannual open streets festival focused on walking & biking in Fall Creek and Southside neighborhoods
Ever since she was a little girl growing up in the Bronx, Davi Mozie has enjoyed walking. Whether it was walking to and from school, exploring the city, or just spending time with her mom, Davi was always on the move. Now, after moving to Ithaca over a year ago and becoming Executive Director of the Southside Community Center, Davi walks more than ever. In Delaware, “I needed a car because I had different meetings to go to,” but in Ithaca, “I rarely fill up my car; the only time I do is when I’m traveling out of town,” she says.
Davi estimates that walking has saved her over $1000 in the past year and decreased her carbon footprint by 1.5 tons of CO2 a year. “My original job [in Ithaca] was Creating Healthy Places To Live, Work and Play, so I was thrown into everything about walking,” Davi says. She was also responsible for monitoring some of the trail work happening in downtown Ithaca, which gave her knowledge of many accessible walking trails in the City.
Davi loves walking because, “I love seeing the landscape, and just running into people in the mornings,” she says. “People are outside their homes doing things, saying hi. I like that it just clears my mind; that’s one of the main reasons I do it. It gives me some clarity—[it] kind of allows me to separate and regroup from each thing that I’m doing.”
One thing she does to encourage others to walk is invite them to “walking meetings.” “I say, ‘oh, let’s meet at the trail,’” instead of meeting in a café or meeting room. Davi encourages people to make the jump to walking not simply for the environmental benefits, but for the personal and health benefits. “I’d tell them that it’s more than just giving up a car,” she says, “but it’s gaining things. It’s gaining clarity, getting a boost in the middle of the day. It’s gaining freedom, [because] you can just walk anywhere.”
As for her favorite destinations, “I like Cass Park mostly…[but] Stewart Park as well,” she says. She also likes the Cayuga Waterfront Trail, “with its completion and all the wonderful things happening there.” Overall, Davi could not be happier to have a place like Ithaca to walk around. In fact, Ithaca is ranked #1 of the Top Ten Cities You Want to Walk To Work by MSN Real Estate Online. It is also home to a myriad walking, hiking, and biking trails. When she wakes up every morning, she’s grateful for the chance to exercise. “I just think about people who are not able to [walk],” she says. “If I’m able to move my body, I should do that.”
(Interview by Sarah Paez)