Cyclist hopes to encourage bike use in downtown
By Pamela LeBlanc
AUSTIN AMERICAN STATESMAN
That from Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, who plans in May to open a bike shop, commuting center, training facility and cafe in a 1950s-era building at the northwest corner of Fourth and Nueces streets.
"This city is exploding downtown. Are all these people in high rises going to drive everywhere? We have to promote (bike) commuting," Armstrong said Wednesday, gazing up at the towering 360 condos rising next to the site of his new shop. "This can be a hub for that."
Mellow Johnny's, named for the nickname Armstrong earned while wearing the Tour de France leader's "maillot jaune," or yellow jersey, will be housed in a yellow- and red-brick building next to the music venue La Zona Rosa. It is a block north of the Lance Armstrong Bikeway, a path that will cut east-west through downtown Austin.
Armstrong said he'd like to see Austin evolve into a place like Portland, Ore., where biking is part of the culture and people pedal to work, to restaurants and to run errands. "Walk outside, and the streets are lined with bikes — because they have a safe place to ride," Armstrong said of the city long known for its bicycle-friendly amenities and policies.
So how does Austin get to that point?
"The (Lance Armstrong Bikeway) is a big start," he said. Armstrong and his general partner in the project, Bart Knaggs, said they'd like to see Austin create bike lanes separated from vehicle traffic and a system like a new one in Paris where people can use a credit card to rent a bicycle from a bike rack station and return it at any of the dozens of other stations around the city.
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