Guest column by Adrian Montgomery
There was a common theme during this year’s Global Fat Bike Summit in Ogden, Utah: fat biking is not a fad. Many statements in Summit presentations were preceded with, “I used to think differently about fat bikes, until I tried one.” The Summit provided the opportunity to throw a leg over the industry’s finest products for the uninitiated to the disciple.
There was a diverse group of attendees at the Summit, an event largely overlooked by the big brands in the Bike Industry. Land managers, enthusiasts and niche product suppliers all huddled up to address access issues, talk best practices for grooming and how to deal with potential user conflicts. Sounds pretty organized for a fad. IMBA was on hand too, and when Mike Van Abel compared the fat bike movement to the early years of mountain biking it was clear that this movement has the wheels to roll-over growth obstacles.Tweet Print
In the past years nearly 7,000 people have lost their lives in cycling-motorist crashes. The Dear Motorist campaign invites cyclists and motorists alike to visit dearmotorist.com to their experiences by either: taking a pledge or writing a letter to be more aware of their surroundings on the road. The campaign also offers those who may have lost a loved one to a road accident the opportunity to share their story.
At the Women’s Cycling Forum that was part of the National Bike Summit last March, many of us were introduced to a founder of a movement that is helping to fill a crucial gap in cycling: Veronica O. Davis of Black Women Bike. Davis and two friends started the group as a local organization in Washington, D.C., and are building the foundation to take it to the national level. Davis’ efforts are a natural outgrowth of her professional life in civil engineering, which she believes involves “using transportation as a tool to positively affect people’s lives.”Tweet Print
Our own local advocacy organization, Bike Pittsburgh, has created an innovative ad campaign that we’d like to see implemented all across the nation. Called the Drive With Care Campaign, the aim is to remind automobile drivers that bicyclists are human, too.
From Bike Pittsburgh: “Bicyclists are not obstacles or targets; they could be your friend, nurse, carpenter, or even your favorite football player, Antonio Brown.” (That’s the Pittsburgh Steelers star wide receiver shown in the ad below.)
The ads feature photos of everyday people next to their bikes, with descriptive words to drive the point home. They’ve been seen on billboards and bus shelters around the city, but the organization would like to expand the campaign’s reach, and even produce television ads.
See more “Drive With Care” campaign posters and donate to the campaign here: bikepgh.org/care. And you can contact Bike Pittsburgh through their website if you’d like information on how to develop a similar public awareness effort in your own town.
Ten intrepid women will embark on a “purposeful adventure” this March, riding 262 miles from New York City to the National Bike Summit in Washington, D.C. The group is made up of advocates representing five advocacy organizations: WE Bike NYC, Black Women Bike, Gearing-Up, WABA: Women and Bicycles, and Women Bike PHL.
This is an adventure near and dear to us, as we’ve featured some of these organizations in our pages, and we’ve also ridden to the Summit from our home base of Pittsburgh. It’s also a big undertaking, so the ladies are asking for your support via an Indiegogo campaign.Tweet Print
As you contemplate your New Year’s resolutions, take some time to build up your 2014 karma! Nominate advocates who have improved biking & walking in your community for a 2014 Advocacy Award.
The Alliance for Biking and Walking holds the Advocacy Awards every year to celebrate the individuals and groups who have demonstrated excellence in the bicycle and pedestrian movement. If you know an advocate (or two or three) who has made a big difference for biking and walking over the past year, please nominate them! Anybody can submit nominations until January 16.
Your nominations will be considered by a panel of leaders in the biking and walking movement. Winners will be recognized on March 3 at the 2014 Advocacy Awards ceremony in Washington, DC.Tweet Print
I guess it wouldn’t be too much of a generalization to say that cyclists are more likely to lean left than right. After all, the Boston Globe’s Jordan Michael Smith points out, they are more likely to live in cities and away from the more conservative car-culture of the suburbs. But while cyclists have been fighting for decades for recognition, both on the street and in the legislatures, a new level of vitriol level against them might just be a sign that they have arrived.
Particularly in America, the bicycle is emerging as a new conservative front in the culture wars. In May, Wall Street Journal commentator Dorothy Rabinowitz called bicyclists “the most important danger in the city”; in Colorado’s last governor’s election, a Republican candidate said a local bike-sharing program “could threaten our personal freedoms.” A columnist for the conservative Washington Times declared D.C. bike-sharing programs to be “broken-down socialism”; radio pundit Rush Limbaugh said he “won’t care” if his car door knocks over a cyclist.
As health and government officials have begun peddling bicycles as healthy, environmentally responsible alternatives to cars, and cities and towns spend money on new bike infrastructure, conservatives have started to sense a new target. They have begun to deploy “the bike” as a bogeyman in political debates—cast in a role anywhere from physical annoyance to a genuine threat to the American way of life.
What do you think? How to bicycles fit in the right vs. left, conservative vs. liberal debate? Share your thoughts in the comments below.Tweet Print
If you ride in our nation’s capital, you may have noticed some friendly messages popping up in the city’s extensive bike lane network:
MORE BIKE LANES
THANK YOU FOR BIKING
But who was creating these tags? Were they street art or vandalism?
The bright, encouraging—twee, if you’d like—tone of BA’s stencil art has a purpose. “We want more people to bike,” she says. “We want bicyclists to smile and know they’re appreciated. We want bicyclists to smile at other bicyclists and road users. Most importantly, we want D.C. to be a safe place to ride a bike.”
The City Paper chats with the artists, and looks at how the rapid rise in popularity of cycling in the city has had its growing pains.Tweet Print
I’m not sure what a lorry is, but it sure looks a lot like a truck. All kidding aside, in this video from the Greater London Metropolitan Police, a local cyclist and a driver explain how each can take better steps to avoid crashes. They then take turns in each others’ place to see just how dangerous riding near one of these vehicles can be if you’re not visible. After the rash of incidents in London recently, hopefully it can help save some lives.Tweet Print
The Adventure Cycling Association‘s nationally recognized awards program acknowledges exemplary contributions to the success of bicycle travel. There are four awards:
- The Pacesetter Bicycle Travel Award recognizes individuals, groups, businesses, and organizations that have consistently demonstrated extraordinary commitment, dedication, and service to the advancement of Adventure Cycling’s mission of inspiring and empowering people to travel by bicycle.
- The June Curry Trail Angel Award honors an individual or group encountered during a bicycle tour who made the cyclotourist’s journey easier or possible by helping the cyclist through an act of goodwill.
- The Braxton Bicycle Shop Award honors bicycle shops throughout the nation that go out of their way to provide unique or exemplary services to bicycle travelers.
- The Adventure Cycling Volunteer of the Year Award is our way to say ‘Thank you’ to Adventure Cycling volunteers who are helping us inspire others to travel by bike.