Tales from the Trail: Meet Gary Reiter

You meet the most interesting people along the Indianapolis Cultural Trail. Here’s one now: Gary Reiter, Senior Trust Administrator at BMO Harris Private Banking, a daily Pacers Bikeshare user and proud downtown Indy resident.

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Gary Reiter commutes to work every day using a Pacers Bikeshare bike. Here he is outside of City Market.

How does the Indy Cultural Trail connect you to the city?

I use the Indy Cultural Trail as my transportation route to work at the corner of Ohio and Pennsylvania. My primary mode of transportation is the Pacers Bikeshare system. There is a bike station about 100 feet from my front door and another one about a block and a half from my work. I run into my friends and neighbors along the Trail all the time, especially in the evening. Sometimes, I just park the bike at the closest station and end up in a bar or restaurant. My wife is always texting me and asking where I am when I get distracted by a beer or friend. The Cultural Trail really connects people and the neighborhoods and Cultural Districts so I sometimes venture to Fountain Square or stay downtown.

Julian Opie's Ann Dancing
Ann Dancing by Julian Opie is one of the highlights of the Cultural Trail at Alabama and Mass Ave.

What is your favorite spot downtown?

I have a lot of favorite spots downtown, but I think I enjoy the Davlan Park at the corner of Mass Avenue, Vermont and Alabama the most. I like the new Indy sculpture there (built by the local Indianapolis Fabrications team) that attracts tourists and families, the Big Head, Ann Dancing, Starbucks and all the Mass Avenue shops. The brick wall is a great place to hang out. Beyond that, the whole Mass Avenue District is jumping almost every night with a lot of people and the activity makes us feel very safe and welcome. St. Joseph Brewery and Restaurant on College Avenue has great beer. Also, the Cunningham Restaurant Group is a heavy investor and supporters of the Mass Avenue area and all of their restaurants have great ambience and good food. Cunningham donates a lot of money to the area and it is nice to see someone make money and give some of it back. Chatham Tap is the top sports bar in the city.

What is the best part of your job?  

I am a Trust Officer for BMO Harris Private Bank. I work with the best team in Central Indiana. We are the “A-Team” for private banking (I am Hannibal on the team for those fans of the “A-Team”). I am privileged to have a client base of entrepreneurs, philanthropists, individuals and families across multiple generations. The best part of my job is when I perform well enough to have a positive impact on a client, their spouse, children, grandchildren and charities by ideas and suggestions and bringing in other experts where necessary. We really make dreams happen by protecting and growing wealth.

Pacers Bikeshare is the very best way to get around town!

What do you like about Pacers Bikeshare?

There were only a very few days that I did not ride the Pacers Bikeshare this winter. The section of the Cultural Trail that I use is usually clear by 4 a.m. and is always clear before 8 a.m. so the availability of the bikes year round and the high level of cultural trail maintenance is my favorite part. I would like to start a club where people take walks on a Saturday and bring a trash bag to help pick up garbage along the trail to help out.

Bikeshare may have saved your life…can you explain?

I decided to ride the Pacers Bikeshare to a dermatology appointment near Michigan and University Boulevard, which is about twice the distance I usually ride. When I arrived, I was sweating and nauseous; I had an EKG that came back normal. I complained to my personal physician and he set me up for a stress test and echocardiogram. The nurse ran out of the room during the stress test and long story short I ended up with three blockages and two heart stents. My symptoms only showed up when my heart rate was at maximum level. I think that if I did not have the habit of riding the bike everyday and hadn’t gone the extra distance, I might not be talking to your right now. I have a great personal physician (Dr. Al-Achtar).

Tell us about being a car-free family.

We just gave up our car about a month ago. I estimate we save about $8,000 a year. We do not have a car payment ($300), car insurance ($100), parking ($150), maintenance ($10) or gasoline ($100). Multiply that by two cars and it is even more serious money. When I am not using the Pacers Bikeshare, I walk or use UBER. I also use IndyGo, especially no. 8 to the airport. I love all the IndyGo bus drivers; they are kind and considerate and some are very funny. I was nervous giving up the car in the beginning, but I really was not using it much during the last two years. It was time to send Betsy to the junkyard in the great beyond. I cut out my seatbelts so that People for Urban Progress  (PUP) could use them as handles to make bags from the RCA Dome material repurpose project. I don’t miss driving at all and feel that it improves my health to be outside and stay active by using the trail and Pacers Bikeshare. Otherwise, I would drive home and end up on the couch with no activity.

What’s your ride?

I have a Trek Mountain Bike that is somewhat tricked out and I use it on the Monon to Broad Ripple or to visit friends in the different downtown neighborhoods not served by the bikeshare program. I keep a few extra bikes in the garage for family and friends who visit from out of town.

The tiniest visitors along the Trail, gnomes, fairies, we’re not sure–enjoy relaxing in these two-inch high custom-made twig chairs.

A funny thing happened along the Trail…

There are little two-inch high wood elf chairs and a tiny wood swing in the trail landscaping between East Street and Park. It makes me laugh that someone is portraying that “fairies” live in the neighborhood. A kind of rogue art.

What would do you typically say to people when talking about the Cultural Trail?

I remind people to donate to the ICT, Inc, the non-profit behind the Trail and Bikeshare and become a member of its Friend of Our Trail (FOOT) program (it is easy online). Think of it as a user fee. I give a small token each year and will try to give a donation in my will. The Trail exists because of the generosity of a few major visionaries of time and money. I think that Brian Payne and Myrta Pulliam were first to see the potential and thought of it as a sculpture. The Glicks, Basiles, Lacys, Efroymsons and countless others others quickly jumped on board. Congressman Carson helped to secure the TIGER Grant. The Cultural Trail is a linear sculpture and a living/breathing part of Indy’s culture and art scene. The Trail is Art. It needs fed and hugged. Money is always needed to keep the Trail maintained and to guarantee the future for many others to come. #loveindy #uniquelyIndianapolis