Location: Topeka

Promoting Bicycling on Topeka TV

On Saturday, I traveled to Topeka, Kansas for an interview with reporter Mari Fagel from KSNT TV-27. She had contacted me earlier and said she wanted to talk with me about bicycling in Topeka, and the work I do with Kansas Cyclist and KanBikeWalk.

We’d set up a meeting on the Shunga Trail, a paved recreational multi-use pathway that winds its way along Shunga Creek in central Topeka. We met at the intersection of the Shunga Trail and the Landon Nature Trail.

I traveled to Topeka with my friend Randy Gregorcyk, and we arrived in plenty of time to ride the mountain bike trails at Dornwood Park, as well as a short section of the Landon Trail.

Once we met with Mari, she shot some footage of us riding the Shunga and Landon trails — the roundabout shown in the video is the intersection of the two trails, and the bridge shown is on the Landon Trail as it crosses Shunga Creek.

She then set us down for a little interview. We talked about my reasons for starting the Kansas Cyclist web site, bicycling opportunities in Topeka and elsewhere in the state, upcoming events, the economic benefits of bicycle commuting and bicycle touring, and a bit about traffic safety and the importance of KanBikeWalk. Of course, only a small portion of that made it into the version of the story that was aired on KSNT during that evening’s newscast:

Here’s a transcript of the story that aired on KSNT (Cyclist bikes across Kansas):

Randy Rasa’s last name fits him well because he’s been racing around Kansas for the past five years.

”I got into biking because I wanted to lose weight,” Rasa said.

He lost 25 pounds, but in the process, he gained a love for biking that he wants to share with everyone.

”There’s a great need for people to find out about races, about bicycling events,” Rasa said.

To fill that need, he started www.kansascyclist.com. And to live up to that name, Rasa has traveled across state in search of the best trails.

”There are great trails all around the state of Kansas,” Rasa said.

Some of his favorites are right in our backyard, including the Landon Nature trail, Dornwood Park and the Clinton Lake trail in Lawrence. And with the economic recession, Rasa says biking just might be the key to saving you some dough. He’s pushing Kansans to get out of their car, and onto their bike, but saving gas money isn’t the only perk.

”It might seem like it takes a long time to ride your bike to work, but when you think about it, you don’t have to go to the gym,” Rasa said.

But sharing the road with cars can be dangerous. Just last summer, a man in Douglas County was killed by a motorist while riding his bike.

”He was ran down from behind, by someone who was texting on their phone and the driver was ultimately not charged with anything,” Rasa said.

That tragedy led Rasa to take action. He now runs a website that advocates bicycle and pedestrian safety. He’s hoping lawmakers will take notice and pass a bill limiting cell phone use while driving. Despite that danger, Rasa says nothing will stop him from chasing that feeling he gets every time those wheels hit the ground.

“Bicycling is freedom,” Rasa said.

Reporter and Video: Mari Fagel

This was my first involvement with anything like this, and it was an interesting experience. Although I’m not the smoothest speaker, I think the piece turned out reasonably well (thanks, Mari).

After the interview, Randy and I headed over to MacLennan Park, where we rode the mountain bike trails winding through the scenic woods near the Governors Mansion in northwest Topeka. Although it was a gray, overcast day, it was good to see that there were a lot of people out enjoying the warm weather. It’s obvious that the MacLennan Park trails get a lot of use.

I wrote about my experiences at Dornwood and MacLennan Parks on my DirtBum blog: The Long Haul Trucker as a Mountain Bike.

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About The Author

By Randy Rasa, editor/webmaster at Kansas Cyclist, the web’s premier Kansas cycling information site, featuring authoritative guides to Kansas cycling clubs, bike shops, organized bike rides, touring, trails, and much more. [learn more]

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