'Two' grand openings for SR 840 extension set
TDOT announces 'Eight Forty Fondo Festival' on SR 840
By SKIP ANDERSON
For Brentwood Home Page
John Schroer, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Transportation, announced Tuesday that a portion of State Route 840 will open exclusively to bicyclists Oct. 13, and to vehicles on Nov. 2.
The announcement came as bike enthusiasts and beer lovers alike gathered at Whole Foods in Franklin for “Whole Fuel & Local Pour,” an event designed to raise awareness of the health and environmental benefits of cycling.
The Oct. 13 ride will be part of the opening ceremonies for the final 12 miles of SR 840 that remain unopened. The unopened stretch traverses southern Williamson County. It is scheduled to open to motor vehicles Nov. 2, according to Schroer, who served as mayor of Franklin from 2007 to 2011
“We're going to have an 'Eight Forty Fondo' on the new section of 840,” Schroer said. Fondo is Italian for ride. “The governor [Bill Halsam] is going to participate, and we want you to come and ride with the governor. [The surface] will be smooth and perfect.”
The centerpiece of the late-afternoon event featured a 3.6-mile bike ride for cyclists of all ages and skill levels, and a 26-mile ride for advanced riders. Sponsors provided attendees healthful snacks and water, and for the over-21 crowd, beer brewed locally by Black Abbey, Blackstone, Fat Bottom, Turtle Anarchy, and Yazoo.
Tuesday's event was organized by I Am the Engine, an organization dedicated to promoting positive change in the Nashville community, according to its founder Jonathan Woody.
“IATE is a collective effort to spark a message of positive change built around the concept that humans and cyclists are created equally,” Woody said prior to the start of the ride.
“Today we have governments and civil society working together to create a sustainable future of life, liberty, and the pursuit of cycling.”
This was the second “Whole Fuel & Local Pour” event. The first took place May 29, at the same location. Organizers said about 200 riders participated. While the inaugural ride was accompanied by high winds that threatened to blow the sponsors' tents away, Tuesday's was accompanied by clear blue skies and temperatures in the mid-90s. The event drew an estimated 350 cyclists and another 150 or so observers.
The event was sponsored by Whole Foods Market, Industrial Strength Marketing, Harpeth Bicycles, Rhizome Productions, and Franklin-based radio station Lightning 100's Team Green, which promotes health, well-being, and the environment through outdoor treks in the Middle Tennessee area.
The event was free for people who brought a bicycle, and $5 for non-riders.
|TDOT Commissioner John Schroer|
Proceeds from Whole Fuel & Local Pour benefit the Jeff Roth Cycling Foundation. The foundation promotes bicycling as a “safe and healthy form of transportation,” according to its website. It also provides financial assistance to families that have been “touched by cycling tragedies.” JRCF is responsible for passage of the Jeff Roth/Brian Brown Protection Act of 2007, a law that requires motorists give cyclists on the road a minimum buffer of three feet.
The group recently garnered enough signatures and commitments to purchase Tennessee license plates that promote the organization. The new plates will be available once the administrative processes have been cleared with the Tennessee Department of Transportation.