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|Rotarians raise money for bicycle paths|
Monroe Rotary Club cyclists will hit the streets through May 21 to drum up money for more bicycle and walking paths throughout the city.
Rotarians will cycle as many miles as possible to raise money for the project.
Last year, the group raised more than $4,000. The city of Monroe has approved two routes, which are currently under development.
Chris Fisher, Monroe's planning and urban development director, said the city would erect signs along the roadway to make motorists aware they will be sharing the street with cyclists.
"We want to connect as many points of activity as possible," Fisher said. "One leg will go through ULM, and another leg will go to the zoo."
"We are in the process of putting up those signs now," Fisher added.
Monroe Rotarian Spec Lewis participated in the event last year. He plans to cycle at least 100 miles this year.
There are about 10 Rotarians who will cycle for this project this year.
"I only did 70 miles last year because I am limited on what I can do, but we have some members who are seriously into it," Lewis said. "People are safe giving me money for a mile cause I am not going to ride 300 miles."
"I need some sponsors," Lewis continued. "Call me at 557-9229 and sponsor me … I won't break you if you give me so much a mile.
"This is a good activity for a good cause. You would be surprised how few bike paths we have. So, anything people can do to help would be great. The community will realize the benefits of it. This will make the community safer and more healthy."
Guy Barr and his wife Loura also are riding about 10 miles a day this year for the project. Barr hopes he and his wife can ride a total of 150 miles by May 21.
"Lord willing we will do 10 miles a day," Barr said. "So far, we are getting a good response with money. It all goes to walking and bike trails in our community which would give us a better standard of living."
"There's definitely a need in our community for more trails because our streets don't really allow for safety," he said. "And, you really don't see many bike trails around town, do you? We think this is just another great project to unify our community."
Barr encouraged people who see Rotarians riding around town to stop them and make a contribution to this project. Rotarians will be wearing yellow T-shirts with the Rotarian logo and "Cycling to Serve" printed on the shirt.
Rotarian J.J. Dixon also encouraged cyclists to join the Rotarians for a ride one day.
"Jump on your bike and come join us … the weather is great," Dixon said.
Dixon has been an avid cyclist since 2003. He normally rides about 1,000 miles every year on his bike.
The proposed bicycle route through the city would be used more by people who utilize bicycles for transportation, Dixon said.
"It's through the heart of the city and there's too many stop signs, so it's not usually used by my type of cyclists, who like the open road," Dixon explained. "For a guy who rides a lot, it's not for me, but I support it because it makes Monroe a better place. It would be great for people who use bikes for transportation."
"The Rotarians are involved as a community service because it makes Monroe a better place to live," Dixon added.
For streets that are wide enough, a bike path would consist of markers and striping of about three-feet of the road's shoulder. That would give pedestrians a path to use, but more importantly, it alerts motorists that this lane is used by pedestrians, Dixon said.
Money can be sent to the Rotarians office for the cycling project at 1205 N. 18th St., Suite 119, Monroe, La. 71201.