Word & Image 

Morgan Hafer, 42: Owner, Carbon-Free Courier

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Scott Elmquist

"I run a courier company. I ride a bicycle and I love being outdoors. Richmond is a beautiful place with many options for outdoor activities and economic development. It just hasn't been pushed or touted in a way that encourages it.

"For example, the James River, where many people go and walk and canoe and ride their bikes — there's not one place where you can buy a drink or have a coffee or sit down and have a sandwich and socialize. There are bike paths and trails, and you go over to them and walk around for a while and you leave. There's nothing there besides one bathroom. It's very lacking in infrastructure.

"In Europe … they cater to people who want to use [rivers] for recreation, to eat, to shop, to enjoy life. They value that more in their society than a large mall that's only going to be 5-percent full at any given time.

"The Europeans will come for the 2015 UCI Road World Championships, and they'll return if they see the [facilities] cater to outdoor people. For me as a courier, I also see that as an opportunity to deliver more things by bicycle to farther places for less money than car companies are charging, simply because it's more economical.

"The UCI 2015 is a great opportunity to tell cyclists around the world: We're going to cater to you. We're going to provide a beautiful place to come and recreate and maybe even relocate your business or start a business. It's kind of hard to not see that, whereas the alternative that I currently see is a big development plan with little infrastructure that isn't going to meet the standards of local cyclists like myself, much less cyclists from Europe.

"We basically concentrated all our efforts into these little pockets, and really have ignored the bigger picture of outdoor recreation, which, for me, is the jewel of this city. It's nothing short of rude or insulting to the cycling community abroad to shortchange them by not putting in the infrastructure and the opportunities to draw them here and make them feel comfortable enough that they want to come back and possibly stay."


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