Indianapolis Bicycle Information

Indianapolis Bikeways

For information about bike routes in Indianapolis, check out the city Bikeways page. Indy got off to a slow start compared to other cities, but seems to be catching up. Since 2009, it has been recognized as a bronze level "Bicycle Friendly Community" by the League of American Bicyclists. In 2012, Indianapolis put together a bicycling master plan that calls for 200 miles of bike lanes by the year 2020. In 2012 Indy had 64 miles of bike lanes which increased to 74 miles by 2014. Progress is being made, but getting to 200 by 2020 will be difficult, requiring adding an average of more than 20 miles of bike lanes per year. In addition to bike lanes, Indianapolis has 60 miles of greenways, which are closed to automobile traffic.

The Monon Trail is the best known and most widely used trail in Indianapolis. It is about 18 miles long, running from just north of Indianapolis northward through the Meridian-Kessler, Broad Ripple and Nora neighborhoods into Carmel and then on to Westfield. It can be a little busy during peak times. In addition to cyclists, you will encounter walkers, dog-walkers and rollerbladers on the trail. The trail gets its name from the fact that it uses some of the former right of way for the Monon Railroad (Also known as the Chicago - Indianapolis - Louisville Railroad).

The Cultural Trail is a great way to see downtown Indianapolis, or to show Indy to your out of town friends. It is eight miles long and connects five downtown cultural districts:

  • Fountain Square - Has numerous historic buildings:
    • Sam's Saloon (1885)
    • George W. Hoffman Building (1885)
    • American Hardware Supply (1893)
    • Murphy Art Center (1895)
    • Fountain Block (1902)
    • Wheeler arts and Community Building (1912)
    • National City Bank (1922)
    • Fountain Square Theatre Building (1928)
  • Indiana Avenue - Features sites related to Indy's African-American heritage:
    • Madame Walker Theatre Center - Named after Madame C.J. Walker, America's first female African-American millionaire
    • Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church
    • Crispus Attucks High School - Where basketball great Oscar Robertson led his team to two straight state titles
  • Mass Ave - The place for art and entertainment:
    • Art Bank
    • Frame Shop and Franklin Barry Gallery
    • ComedySportz
    • IndyFringe
    • Phoenix Theatre
  • White River State Park - Includes numerous interesting attractions:
    • Indiana State Museum
    • Indianapolis Zoo and White River Gardens
    • Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians & Western Art
    • Victory Field (Home of the Indianapolis Indians baseball team)
    • NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Hall of Champions
  • Wholesale District - This is the downtown area. Here you will find:
    • Lucas Oil Stadium (Home of the Indianapolis Colts)
    • Bankers Life Fieldhouse (Home of the Indiana Pacers)
    • Hilbert Circle Theatre (Home of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra)
    • Indiana Repertory Theatre
    • Soldiers and Sailors Monument - A tribute to Indiana's Civil War veterans

Here's a video that describes the Cultural Trail. It features Mayor Greg Ballard, other city officials and local residents.

Portions of the Cultural Trail feature separate lanes for cyclists and pedestrians. (Photo courtesy of Joyride

If you would prefer a guided tour, Active Indy Tours offers cycling tours (As well as walking and running tours). There are two options:


Cycling Organizations

Central Indiana Bicycling Association

CIBA is a recreational club that has been around for quite a while. They have rides every weekend from St. Patrick's Day until November. They also have rides on New Year's Day and Valentine's Day. In addition to their regular rides, they also have a few camping rides (You carry your camping gear on your bike and ride to a campground) and dinner rides. Dinner rides are evening rides with a stop at a local restaurant.


INDYCOG

INDYCOG put together a Bicycle Friendliness Map, which makes recommendations on roads to take or avoid. There is one map that covers Marion County, and another one for the downtown area.

Central Indiana Bicycling Association members taking a break while out on a camping ride


Bicycle Events

Hilly Hundred

The Hilly Hundred is Indiana's biggest cycling event, drawing 5,000 riders. It is held every year in October. The starting location is at Elletsville, near Bloomington. The routes travel through Monroe and Greene county, and you will encounter plenty of hills.

NITE Ride

The Navigate Indy This Evening or NITE Ride is a unique event. It's an after dark ride that starts downtown at IUPUI and travels up to Butler University and then back to the downtown area. It draws several thousand cyclists each year.


Major Taylor Velodrome

Originally the city wanted to name this facility something creative like the Indianapolis Velodrome. Local cyclists convinced them that they should name it for Major Taylor, an African-American cycling champion who was born in Indianapolis. Taylor's father fought in a black regiment during the Civil War. As a young boy, he performed bicycle tricks outside the Hay and Willits’ Bicycle Shop in a Civil War uniform. That's where he got the name Major (His real first name was Marshall). He later won the 1899 World Cycling Championship. Devoutly religious, Taylor refused to race on Sundays, even when offered considerable sums of money to do so.

Originally built by the city of Indianapolis for the 1987 Pan American Games, the Major Taylor Velodrome is now operated by Marian University. Most people in Indianapolis don't realize that Marian University has the top collegiate cycling program in the nation.


Bicycle Rentals

Check out our Downtown Indianapolis Bicycle Rentals page for more information.


Used Bicycles

For information on how Circle City Bicycles can help you sell your used bicycle, please visit our Buying and Selling Used Bicycles in Indianapolis page.