“Our goal is to think local, to get people in the neighborhood to shop here more often,” he said.
With hundreds of participants biking up and down the sidewalks along Magnolia Park, the event doesn’t necessarily lend itself to a bump in immediate sales at cash registers, but it does get hundreds of locals into myriad small shops that normally have a hard time attracting attention, Faulk said.
“This event is about people knowing we’re here,” said Jaci Verser, owner of the Collectible Wizard, a crowded shop full of collectible movie, and pop culture memorabilia.
As bicyclists popped into her store for a stamp on their passports — which they turned in after the route for a chance at several raffle prizes — Verser also handed out coupons and free movie posters, a hit with the children.
“It gives people an excuse to come in,” she said. “I wish they’d do more of them.”
For the bicyclists, it was the perfect marriage of pastime and community support.
“I never really ride my bike down the boulevard because of the traffic, so it’s great to be out here — safety in numbers,” Shiela Marriquinn said as she and her friend maneuvered around a group of children on tricycles.
And with all the ongoing contention over the Chandler Bikeway, local residents said it was a good opportunity to highlight its community purpose.
“We absolutely love the bikeway,” said Dan Krattiger, who was on his own bicycle for the Magnolia tour. But, he added, his family sees it more as “an all-purpose path.”
Bicyclists and pedestrians have been butting heads over the path’s main purpose. Under the development agreement that brought the thoroughfare into existence in 2004, it was designated primarily as a bikeway.
Bicyclists argue that walkers don’t stick to the designated pedestrian lane, creating obstacles on the bikeway. Pedestrians contend some bikers ride too fast and are hogging the pathway.
The City Council last week declined to rename the thoroughfare the Chandler “Pathway” on a 3-2 vote, citing potential conflicts with Los Angeles and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which share ownership of the property.
Instead, the council agreed to erect signs along the bikeway instructing bicyclists to yield to pedestrians.