Human traffic

City-wide bike path guide

By Joe Stumpe

The projects 
  now underway will go a long way toward closing gaps in the current system.

The projects now underway will go a long way toward closing gaps in the current system.

For years, bicyclists, runners and walkers have dreamed of the day when they could get from one side of Wichita to the other without competing for road space with automobiles. That day is coming soon. By June, the city expects to open a new bike/ walk path, the McAdams Park route, to provide the missing link between existing paths in north, south, east and central Wichita. Awaiting final approval is a second new path that would bring the west side into the loop. A third new route, the Redbud, is under construction along an abandoned railroad bed and will provide a fast track between downtown and Wichita State. Meanwhile, 10 signed walking loops with themes ranging from Kansas history to sports will debut downtown this spring.

The city already boasts an extensive system of bike/walk trails that provides an opportunity for exercise, recreation and the ultimate in environmentally-friendly transportation.

It’s a lot for fans of human-powered locomotion to look forward to. “I’m really excited to see a lot more paths coming in,” said Joe Knapp, who works at a bike shop and rides his bicycle several times a week. “It’d be nice to have everything connected, and that seems to be what they’re trying to do. What we’ve already got is great, and this will make it even better.” As Knapp said, the city already boasts an extensive system of bike/walk trails that provides an opportunity for exercise, recreation and the ultimate in environmentally-friendly transportation. Not incidentally, they also pass through some of the most scenic areas of the city, from the Arkansas Riverfront to tucked- away city parks and neighborhoods to a wildlife preserve.

There have been gaps in the system that have forced bicyclists and pedestrians to turn back or share the road with motorized vehicles until they reach the next leg of dedicated pathway. The projects now underway will go a long way toward closing the loop. There’s quite a bit more going on as well, from the placement of bike racks around town to the emphasis on additional bike/walk facilities in the city’s downtown redevelopment plan. To all of which Knapp says: “That would be awesome.” See the following pages for a look at the present and future of the system in Wichita.

Wichita bike path map

It's never been easier—or more fun—to get around Wichita on foot or bicycle.

Download a comprehensive map of Wichita's bike paths, including the three new routes in the planning and construction stages.

Wichita downtown loop trails map

Landmarks on the downtown loop trails

Download a map of the downtown loop trails, opening later in April. Each themed trail is roughly two miles long and is marked with signs bearing quotes relating to the subject. The quotes were compiled in partnership with local experts. Throughout the summer, special entertainment is planned on various paths during Final Fridays. See the complete schedule.

Lacy Jaye Hansen, in training for the Boston Marathon later this month.

Lacy Jaye Hansen, in training for the Boston Marathon later this month.

Third-generation runner

Lacy Jaye Hansen

By Karen Long

Lacy Jaye Hansen is someone who pounds plenty of Wichita pavement: she’s a mother, freelance writer, blogger — and also a dedicated runner in training for the Boston Marathon on April 18.

It runs in her blood. Literally. Hansen’s late grandfather, Bob Heck, was a runner long before Nike invented Dri-FIT. In 1981, on the day she was born, her granddad dutifully recorded his running stats and next to it added “Lacy Jaye,” with the new addition’s weight and time of birth. Hansen inherited this running log and says, “I definitely treasure that; that’s very special.”

Granddad convinced his sons to take up running as well as his son-in-law, Hansen’s father. “Every spring our house was full,” she remembers. “Granddad and uncles — and therefore cousins and aunts — filled up our house because they would come to town for the River Run.”

The beginning of a father-daughter tradition

In spite of this early indoctrination, it wasn’t until the summer of 2006 when Hansen started running herself. Her father, Randy Carlile gave her a push: he convinced her to enter a one-mile race in Derby. Not only that, but he said, “I’ll sign up and I’ll run it with you.”

So began a father-daughter tradition, a shared passion. “It was just a way for my dad and I to connect that I never had before,” Hansen says. “Who would have ever thought? I was the kid who petitioned the principal in middle school to play my violin and get out of gym class.”

Carlile was there at the finish line last October when Hansen finished as the 2nd female overall in Wichita’s Prairie Fire full marathon, as well as last April when she ran the Boston Marathon. Hansen and her dad held each other at the finish line “crying like babies.”

Marathon training — both physical and mental

Hanson ran the Boston Marathon in 3:29 last year. “Not a bad time,” she says, “and Boston’s really, really hard; it’s not the flatlands of Wichita.” This year she’s not training as aggressively as she’d planned due to a calf injury, but even so is still rounding out her last month of training with 22-mile runs on the weekends, 10-milers during the week and bicycle cross-training.

What word of advice would Hansen give to a beginning marathoner running the Wichita Half Marathon coming up on May 1? “Don’t be intimidated by the people who are going to run it in under an hour — don’t worry about them. That’s a different race. You run your own race and celebrate your own accomplishment.

 
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