Taking in the calming temperatures of fall, the palette of oranges and reds, the smell of pumpkin spice and the soothing breeze in the neighborhood just got easier — and healthier.
Cadence, a 2,200-acre master-planned community in Henderson, has led the charge to get residents outside with a free bike share program. The program for neighborhood offers free bikes that residents can check out, use as they please and return to bike racks at the Cadence Home Finding Center, Central Park or at various model homes throughout the community.
“Borrowing a bike is easy,” said Cheryl Persinger, vice president of marketing for Cadence.
New riders create an account at cadence.socialbicycles.com and receive a PIN to unlock the bike. The PIN is entered onto the back of a bike, which can be reserved, located on a rack in one of the many locations within Cadence.
“Each bike is tracked with GPS. This lets Cadence track the bikes in case one isn’t returned. It also allows for contact with the rider if the rider seems to be renting the bike for an unusually long period,” Persinger said. “If there is an issue, someone can follow up with the rider and provide assistance if necessary.”
Cadence reports 150 registered users have cycled 272 trips with its bike share program, and that most of the 387 miles have been marked within the community.
An increase in bike riders typically equates to a decrease in drivers, and cars, on the road. What community doesn’t want fewer cars and less traffic?
Cadence connects to the River Mountain Loop Trail and the Lake Mead Trail, the bike share program makes it easy to enjoy the outdoors and take a ride without making the financial investment in equipment or the time commitment to maintaining the bikes.
“Cadence oversees the bike share program, including handling repairs. If users note that a repair is necessary, they can log into the website and send a message. This flags the bike as in need of repairs and lets Cadence fix the bike or remove it from the rotation if necessary,” Persinger said.
Summerlin has more than 150 miles of trails that connect its neighborhoods along the western Las Vegas Valley. Many residents have bike clubs that take advantage of the trails in the mornings, evenings and weekends. Several bike shops in the area offer classes for beginners and events. Summerlin also hosts the annual Tour de Summerlin, which now starts in Downtown Summerlin. It is held each April.
If the weather and the decreased traffic congestion aren’t enough motivation to ride through the neighborhood, consider the Mayo Clinic’s recommendation: “Regular aerobic activity such as walking, bicycling or swimming can help you live longer and healthier.”
According to the clinic, the physical effects of physical activity like bicycling includes:
• You breathe faster and increase oxygen in your blood.
• Increased blood flow to muscles and lungs.
• A release of endorphins that naturally makes you feel better.
• Increases stamina.
• Helps you lose weight or keep it in check.
• Can activate your immune system and keep viral illness at bay
• Strengthens your heart.
• Boosts your mood.
• And ultimately, as a combination of these effects, help you live longer.
But, don’t forget the helmet. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 743 bicyclist deaths in 2013 and 48,000 injured.
“All bicyclists should wear properly fitted bicycle helmets every time they ride,” the NHTSA advises. “A helmet is the single most effective way to prevent head injury resulting from a bicycle crash.”
The NHTSA also remind riders and drivers that bicyclists have the same rights (and laws) to the road as motor vehicles and caution drivers to be aware of bicyclists, allow at least 3 feet of space when passing, yelled to bikes at intersections and look for riders when opening doors or pulling from parking spaces.