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Biking is gaining popularity as a form of local transit and a trip motivator. Spokane's mapping initiative appeals to both and helps brands the city as an outdoors and active destination.

The city of Spokane Valley has created a new bicycle map to market the city to visiting cyclists.

“The West is pretty popular for bicycle tourism,” said city spokeswoman Carolbelle Branch. “We’re pretty bicycle friendly. It’s definitely something of interest in our area.”

Over the past two years, the city has worked to accommodate bicyclists, creating a new bicycle master plan and adding bike lanes to streets when possible.

The city’s work has begun to get noticed. The League of American Bicyclists recently rated Spokane Valley one of the “Top Cities for Women Bicyclists.”

Rather than printing a traditional map that just shows trails and streets with bike lanes, the city took a more artistic approach. The hand-drawn map in the new brochure includes depictions of local landmarks. A man wearing a baseball glove marks Avista Stadium. Two hikers walk through the trees at Dishman Hills. A donkey gives the location of the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center. There are also drawings of CenterPlace and the Walking the Line bronze statue that sits on the edge of Discovery Playground.

“It’s designed to be for visitors,” Branch said. “You want it to convey a sense of fun and family friendly.”

Branch brainstormed with city staffers who are avid cyclists about what they would like to see on the map. The locations of bathrooms, water fountains and bike repair shops are shown on the map. Local hotels, historical sites, parks and other attractions are also marked.

The brochure should be distributed in January. Copies will be at the visitor center at the Spokane International Airport and other visitor centers. It will be displayed on the city’s website and be available at City Hall. Lodging tax funds are being used to pay for printing.

Branch said she has heard that the cycling community is excited about the new brochure.

“We don’t have anything like this,” she said. “Spokane Valley is pretty cool. It’s really cool from street level. We do have some great stuff.”

(c)2013 The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Wash.). Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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Tags: bikes, cycling, washington

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