Tag Archives: lewisville

The Genesis of Lewisville’s Cycling Culture

In the region in which I live the small town I live in, Lewisville, NC, is a bit of a mecca for road cyclists. Several times a week you will see large groups of cyclists meet in downtown Lewisville and depart for long rides in several different directions. The good townspeople of Lewisville are split on their feelings about the cyclists – some welcome their presence and wonder how the town can make hay out of Lewisville’s reputation within the cycling community, while others find them a nuisance as they wait for an opportunity to pass the riders on Lewisville’s two-lane country roads – but they’ve been a presence for many years and in the ten years I’ve lived here I’ve always wondered how Lewisville came to be known as a cycling hot spot. Scott Sexton’s recent column in the Winston-Salem Journal reveals how it all got started:

(Gene) Gillam was born in Iowa and grew up in Greensboro before heading to The Citadel. He became a pilot with the U.S. Army Air Force and flew B-26 bombers.

Sixty-one times he flew missions over Normandy, northern France, the Rhineland and the Ardennes. He was shot down several times, and was rescued by French families and the French Resistance — the sorts of things that awe us today but were almost routine to men of his generation…

It was through his hobbies that a lot of people got to know Gillam. He was an avid runner and, later on, became something of a pioneer within the local cycling community. That’s where Ken Putnam, the owner of Ken’s Bike Shop, first met and got to know Gillam.

“He used to live out in Lewisville, on Grapevine (Road),” Putnam said. “A group of us would meet out at his house and just go ride. That’s why all the rides now start in Lewisville, because we’d leave from Gene’s house.”

Again, that might not seem like much more than a couple of guys out indulging a hobby — until you consider what has transpired since a handful of oddballs started heading west from Gillam’s house in Lewisville each weekend in the early 1970s.

The routes plotted out by that little group eventually got written down, named and taught turn-by-turn to new groups of riders as they discovered the sport. That small group grew by twos and threes, and turned into other groups of differing interests and abilities.

These days, hundreds of riders leave from Lewisville in any given week throughout the spring, summer and fall.

Walking With Purpose

I read Scott Sexton’s column about Ken Glazener with great interest because Mr. Glazener walks by my house just about every day and unfortunately I knew nothing about him other than:

  1. He walks alot
  2. He picks up a lot of trash which he totes back to his house
  3. I’m pretty sure he lives in the subdivision behind my house because when he returns from his walks he usually takes the road by our house back into the subdivision.

Other than that I knew nothing about him even though I’d seen him for years. Now I know what he’s been up to:

Most days, he walks upwards of 10 miles along Forsyth County roads with an equally scruffy dog by his side, carrying a plastic grocery bag that he fills with discarded cans and bottles…

Glazener is a retired dentist, “not rich but comfortable,” he said, while recounting one of the many times a kind stranger approached to offer a few bucks for a hot meal…

Some days he starts his walk with a plastic bag in his pocket. Others, he figures (correctly) he’ll find one that’s been tossed and he’ll use it. He recycles bottles and saves aluminum cans until he has enough – 200 or so pounds – to rate a trip to OmniSource, a scrap metal yard off U.S. 52 across town.

“I bet I get 300 cans a week,” he said. “Unfortunately most of them are beer cans. If I thought people were drinking them at home, sobering up and then leaving to throw them out on the roadside I’d be wrong. It’s scary to think about.”

The money he gets for the cans, a few hundred bucks a year, he sends to a scholarship fund he set up at the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry.

Since our house fronts one of the roads that Mr. Glazener travels I can attest to the fact that most of the bottles/cans discarded from passing cars contained an adult beverage before they were tossed. For 10 years I’ve been finding empty bottles of a certain brand of vodka and more empty PBR cans than I can even count in the ditch in front of our house. It’s disheartening to know that some of our neighbors are boozing it up behind the wheel and that they have such terrible taste.

Next time I see him I hope to thank Mr. Glazener for his service and for being smart enough to do his community service while also getting some great exercise. Let’s just say he doesn’t look close to the age, 71 years old, that’s mentioned in the article.

Update on Williams Road Bridge Repair in Lewisville

From the Town of Lewisville’s Facebook page:

**UPDATE ON THE WILLIAMS RD BRIDGE CLOSURE**

The NCDOT now plans replace the bridge as a part of the necessary repairs that are needed due to a vehicle striking it some time ago. While work will start sometime around the month of January 2015, the bridge is not expected to be closed the until next March (2015).

The bridge will continue to be two lanes, but there will be added width to allow for a sidewalk to be added in the future.

The bridge is expected to be closed between March and August, 2015. Please share this with friends and family that may be effected.

NCDOT had said that the construction would begin this summer, so the delay is a bit of a bummer, but the expanded width to accommodate a sidewalk is very good news.

News Flash: Lewisville Residents Already Have Recycling

The Town of Lewisville recently posted the following on its Facebook page:

***VERY IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR TOWN RESIDENTS***

It has come to our attention that some Lewisville residents have been contacted by Waste Industries to become Waste Industries customers for recycling services.

IF you are a town resident, you are ALREADY provided garbage and recycling collection though Lewisville's contract with Waste Management.


LewisvilleRecycle

The Williams Road Bridge

For all the folks in Lewisville wondering about the status of the Williams Road bridge – you know, the one between two traffic circles – the latest I've heard is that construction won't begin until some time next spring and when construction does begin NCDOT will close the bridge for however long it takes to repair (replace?) it.  Apparently they're also going to raise it so that there won't be a repeat of trucks with oversize loads hitting the underside, but unfortunately they won't be widening the span to allow for pedestrian or bike lanes. They'll also occassionally have to shut down 421 and detour traffic during certain parts of construction, similar to what they're doing on I-40 at Union Cross road right now. 

For those of us who live on the south side of 421 it's going to make our trip to downtown Lewisville just a tad more circuitous.

Running

2013 is an election year for many NC municipalities and Lewisville is among them.  Folks can register as candidates between July 5-19 so whose hat is already in the ring now that we're not quite halfway through the registration period? Here's a quick rundown:

Mayor – Incumbent Dan Pugh has registered and right now he's running unopposed.

Council – Incumbents Fred Franklin, Jeff Zenger and Robert Greene have filed to run. Former councilman and mayor Mike Horn has filed to run for a council seat after sitting out last term due to term limits.

That's it for now, but the next six or seven days should bring a flurry of filings.  Incumbent council member Tom Lawson has reached his term limit so he'll have to take a break for at least one term. That leaves only two other incumbents, Ed Smith and Mayor Pro-Tem Sandra Mock, who have yet to file.

FYI, you can find the list of registered candidates at the Forsyth County Board of Elections website.

We’re Talking Downtown

Over at the NC Legal Landscapes blog attorney Tom Terrell writes about the changes proposed for High Point by consultant Andres Duany:

Duany described High Point’s furniture market as “the most complete monoculture I’ve ever seen,” adding that all it is good for is “fame and tax base.” The town is designed and constructed to support a semi-annual economic event that, in itself, causes High Point to exist on statistical ledge, waiting against an unexpected event – any event – to topple it to the canyon floor below. “If the monoculture sneezes,” Duany noted, “there is no Plan B.”

In both standing-room-only public presentations, Duany expressed amazement at the obstacle created by the “market.” “When the market is gone, the entire downtown hibernates. . . . I’ve been to many places but never to a place where all the storefronts hibernate.”

In economic terms, Duany explained that the market is a “spike,” and spikes are terrible for commerce because businesses must continually “staff up and staff down.” High Point, he marveled, has the “Everest of spikes.”

Duany’s antidote is to create a mixed use town anchored by one “hot destination” district. Since the historic downtown is unavailable for that, he recommended another area several blocks north. “All it takes is two and a half blocks to create a famous destination,” citing examples of 2-3 block famous areas all of us had heard of.

High Point also must plant trees along that stretch and engage in “road dieting,” something he described as a non-negotiable aspect of the plan. Road dieting eliminates the hostile experience of speeding traffic, creates places for parking and landscaping, and nurtures a friendly, desirable place to visit.

For those of us working on Lewisville's downtown we don't need to worry about a hibernating downtown, but we do need to worry about how a bedroom community like ours can develop a downtown that hasn't really existed before. It's amazing how similar our concerns are to High Point's, especially our desire to create an environment that "nurtures a friendly, desirable place to visit."