Hot On The Trails: Pleasant Run Trail

A homey bike shop with espresso and European sammies is one of several good reasons to squeeze the brakes when riding this greenway on Indy’s near-south side.
Earlier this year, Joe Cox parked his bike shop and cafe, Joe’s Cycles, just off the Pleasant Run Trail in Indy’s southside Garfield Park neighborhood after seven years in Fountain Square. He can hook you up with the perfect fixie, cruiser, mountain, or road bike—along with a shot of Indy-roasted Tinker Coffee from the full espresso bar. Cox’s passion for cycling and food shows on the sandwich menu, replete with locally sourced ingredients (Amelia’s bread, Smoking Goose meats) and inspired by the European Grand Tours: Look for croques monsieurs, baguettes, and croissants come Tour de France time in July, but when the Vuelta a España rolls around in August, he’s all about the Spanish bocadillo.

At the southern end of the trail, the Garfield Park Conservatory and Sunken Garden is running a bonsai show and a succulents exhibition in June—but the collection of tropical flora is a marvel year-round.

North of Garfield Park along the trail, Indy nonprofit The daVinci Pursuit put in a kinetic art installation called Ka-Bike-O-Scope that greets riders with an interactive prismatic color display powered by stationary cycles.

The winding Pleasant Run Trail connects to the Cultural Trail at the latter’s southernmost point, in Fountain Square, via a protected bicycle lane on Shelby Street that passes Nine Lives Cat Cafe, where feline lovers pounce on the opportunity to cuddle with adoptable kitties while enjoying coffee or tea (reservations recommended).

Further south on Shelby and catty-corner to the park, biking bibliophiles are in heaven at eclectic Books Unlimited, stacked with classics, rare finds, and a sizable collection of local authors.

This article is part of “Hot on the Trails,” IM’s road-free guide to exploring Central Indiana.