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Tour de Art

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Indianapolis has built its national reputation as a go-to place for conventions and notable, large staged events. With 70,000 NRA members taking up temporary residence downtown last weekend, it was clear this marketing campaign has had success. That convention friendliness was also largely responsible for the city's smoking ban, as well as the redevelopment of the near east side for the Super Bowl.

On my first trip on the Bikeshare, "Looking Through the Windows" was empty. Thankfully, on my next pass, the owner and his family were returning the panels they'd taken for cleaning.  - MIKE POTTER
  • Mike Potter
  • On my first trip on the Bikeshare, "Looking Through the Windows" was empty. Thankfully, on my next pass, the owner and his family were returning the panels they'd taken for cleaning.

Of course, not everyone coming to the city is into football, guns or games. Which is why getting visitors in touch with our culture offerings is so important. The eight-mile Indianapolis Cultural Trail: A Legacy of Gene and Marilyn Glick takes folks through some of our most fertile cultural soil, but that's quite a distance to hoof it. Enter the new Indianapolis Pacers Bikeshare. For $8 dollars, a quasi-physically fit visitor can get unlimited 30-minute rides within a 24-hour period. (This isn't limited to visitors; magazine editors who haven't ridden a bike in two years can also take advantage of the deal, and presumably, so can you.)

The Cultural Trail itself is full of little treasures. From the Glick Peace Walk, adjacent to the architecturally gorgeous Indianapolis Central Library and the memorials of American Legion Mall, to the Chatham Passage hidden in the stretch of trail that dives through a Mass Ave alley -- the trail has plenty to offer on its own. Last weekend, bemused convention-goers pondered Care/Don't Care by Jamie Pawlus. If you're just driving through the city, you'd miss it entirely. If you're walking, you can enjoy it in full, but will you make it across town to see Looking Through the Windows over by the canal district? For visitors and residents alike, two-wheeled transport seems ideal.

But the real treasure for visitors to the city will be the off-trail locales they can access with ease. On one end, White River State Park, the NCAA Hall of Champions, the Indiana State Museum and the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art are only a half-hour ride from IndyFringe Theatre, Indy Reads Books and the rest of the Mass Ave. offerings. And in the midst of that, stand the Indiana Repertory Theatre, the Arts Garden and the Murat Theatre, along with countless restaurants and shops that support the local art scene.

The Tent by Donald Lipski, a 500 Festival 50th Anniversary Legacy Art Project, can be found at White River State Park's Celebration Plaza. -  - MIKE POTTER
  • Mike Potter
  • The Tent by Donald Lipski, a 500 Festival 50th Anniversary Legacy Art Project, can be found at White River State Park's Celebration Plaza.

The spur of trail that leads into Fountain Square is an unexpected surprise. While the Pleasant Run Greenway isn't part of the trail, there's still a Bikeshare station within spitting distance of Radio Radio and General Public Collective. It's a good 45-minute ride from the hotels (for your average non-cyclist anyway), but it puts an overlooked neighborhood within reach of visitors who might have otherwise missed out. If only the Monon got the same treatment.

If you don't own a bike, you may not have gotten a chance to enjoy the city at the hybrid pace somewhere between driving and walking. The program is incredibly convenient -- over the course of seven or eight rentals, no technical problems or vehicular hiccups spoiled the ride. Just make sure to set an alarm on your phone -- those 30-minute rentals go by fast when you're having fun.

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