After spending a few years as “Adult Supervision” with the El Cerrito, California NICA high school mountain bike team, I am a true believer in their work. Currently, girls represent 20% of the NICA national student-athlete participation. This is great compared to participation in other segments of our sport, but could always be better, right? On that note, I present the following press release.
NICA GRiT is a national program that aims to increase female participation in the sport of mountain biking by 10% over the next five years with a focus on recruitment and retention of girls and female coaches in NICA leagues. Currently, girls represent 20% of the NICA national student-athlete participation. Focused efforts are needed to increase teenage female involvement as well as the number of adult female coaches. By providing skills development, promoting positive physical health, confidence and self-esteem and providing coach training, NICA’s goal is to provide a fun, safe and competitive environment for young women to excel.
GRiT Panel at the 2018 National Conference. Photo: Todd Bauer / TMB Images
NICA has been extremely effective at establishing middle and high school cycling programs in 25 state and regional leagues over the last 7 years. 2018 NICA programs are projected to include over 15,000 registered student-athletes and nearly 7,000 licensed coaches. While the number of student-athletes participating in NICA programs has grown nearly 30-40% annually, the overall percentage of female student-athletes participating has remained consistent at 19-20% for the entirety of NICA’s existence.
NICA programs, although successful in retaining females once they join, are not currently reaching as many girls and women as they should. In order to recruit and retain more women and girls into NICA programs, it must change some aspects of its programming and recruiting to invite girls and women to ride mountain bikes. With help from the Walton Family Foundation, a number of other sponsors and NICA leagues across the country, NICA is now making a concentrated effort to increase the number of girls and female coaches in NICA programs. The GRiT Program is NICA’s approach to recruit and retain more girls and female coaches in NICA programs.
If you hadn’t heard the United Nations recently designated June 3, 2018, as the inaugural World Bicycle Day. Woot!
UN declared the bicycle a simple, affordable, reliable, and environmentally friendly means of transportation. It is a symbol of sustainable transportation and it can serve as a means not just of transportation but also of access to education, healthcare, and sport.
Bike enthusiasts are encouraged to get involved in the day, and hold a ride this weekend! Let’s go ride bikes!Tweet Print
Planet Bike is no stranger to advocacy efforts. Just this past April they awarded grants to six non-profit bicycle advocacy organizations, read more about that here. And in 2010 they were awarded Gold for all their efforts that year.
Being awarded Platinum is the highest recognition in the League’s Bicycle Friendly Business program and Planet bike is among a group of only 42 other companies in the United States to have earned the Platinum distinction.
The League of American Bicyclists is the nation’s oldest bicycle advocacy organization and the goal of their BFB program is to encourage and assist businesses to create more bicycle-friendly workplaces. The hope is that when companies make more accommodations for bicyclists, employees are healthier, happier and more committed to sustainable business practices.
Marketing Manager Jereme Noffke stated in regards to Planet Bike achieving this honor “I think in some cases for companies in the industry we forget about how it feels to get started into the endeavor of bike commuting or it has been so long since the beginning for some of us that it becomes the norm. So we really focused on removing the “barrier to entry” for new or current employees looking to start into bike commuting which is the focus of two programs which have increased participation: Bike Buddy & Wrench Buddy.”
The Bike Buddy program is when a new employee joins Planet Bike, or an existing employee requests it, a fellow employee will be assigned as their “Bike Buddy”. Being a Bike Buddy includes:
- Arranging bike review with a Wrench Buddy (see below).
- Advising on appropriate bike gear for current and upcoming seasons (critical to promoting year around bike commuting in a four-season climate such as WI).
- Mapping bike routes between home, work and other key destinations in the employee’s life.
- Accompany employee from home to work for several days to lean routes, etc… (as needed).
The Wrench Buddy program offers an opportunity to work with fellow employees with knowledge of bicycle mechanics and will assist an employee to perform minor fixes and adjustments to their own bicycle:
- Tune-up on an existing bike the employee is going to use or advising on the purchase of a new (or used) bike that will best fit the employees needs.
- Education on basic maintenance. i.e. how to fix a flat, check tire pressure, brake pad wear, brake connection, installing/removing the front or rear tire, chain wear and maintenance
- Basic understanding of tools on our work bench and what they are used for.
- monthly bike check for the first three months of commuting (or as needed).
- Advising or assisting on more significant tune-up of an existing bike.
Keep up the amazing work Planet Bike and congratulations on a well deserved Platinum Award!
Does your place of work offer bicycle friendly programs? Let’s discuss in the comments below!
One has to appreciate a good bike shop. Especially one that builds the community around itself. These days it’s a key to survival in this disrupted economy we live in. Luckyduck has been open since August of 2016, and successful enough that the owners are just starting to scale back from the 16-hour workdays it took to get going. Luckyduck brings bikes, food, beer and community to downtown Oakland. I’ve stopped in on several occasions for just those items.
For starters, the sandwiches are awesome. Living in the Beast known as East Bay, there’s a lot of great bakeries to spoil you, so Luckyduck starts with some awesome bread, from Firebrand. Everything after that is gravy. And if you’re up in the morning there’s breakfast as well. Sealing the deal is beer. Great beer from local breweries. Mostly local, delivered by the brewery. All California. Keep it local. ‘Nuff said.
Partners Jimmy Ryan And Aaron Wacks curate the shop. The food menu is tight. And so is the bike selection. Each bike is special. Some are bikes that they have come across as bike geeks. Some are on consignment as well. Everything from a vintage Colnago to a sweet 80’s Rockhopper converted for the streets and priced at $316. Or maybe you’re into the Kona Kilauea bikepacking bike or the Winters show frame.
The shop section is simple and tidy. A well-curated selection of accessories fulfills your most important needs. Helmets, bags from Inside Line, Ruth Works, and Road Runner. I hate the word “Artisinal” but there ya go. Everything in its right place, like Radiohead says.
In the end, it’s all about community. The Saturday ride is casual and the yoga classes will keep you limber. There’s bands, art on the walls, and friendly faces. Luckyduck is surely not the first bike shop to espouse this mission, but it does sum things up in a well-said fasion:
“Luckyduck grew from our desire to make riding a bike accessible to everyone. To us, this means expert bicycle service housed in the positive and relaxed vibes of our neighborhood coffee shop and cafe. No pretension or pressure. Just genuine human connection in the name of increasing bicycle ridership throughout the bay.”
Wow these people “Get it”
Tuesday to Saturday 8am to 7pm
The National Bike Challenge is all about encouraging people to hop on a bike and rediscover the joys and benefits of riding first-hand. You can register for the challenge here and watch live leaderboard updates showing how states, regions/cities, teams, companies, bike clubs and individuals stack up against each other. People and teams earn points riding and by encouraging others to ride too.
The Challenge runs for the whole summer riding season from May through September. In September, workplaces across the US will battle it out. Is your workplace up to the challenge?! Let us know in the comments below.Tweet Print
Supplier of bike lights and accessories Planet Bike has recently awarded $24,000 to six bicycle non-profit organizations. The recipient organizations are working to provide programs that attract people to cycling and infrastructure projects to move bicycling forward across the country.
Planet Bike awards grants based on three focus areas: People, Places and Policy. Planet Bike’s advocacy goals include:
People: Planet Bike supports programs that enable all members of the community to have access to the tools and resources to become lifelong cyclists.
Places: Planet Bike promotes the construction of safe, comfortable and convenient bicycle networks suitable for people ages 8 to 80 years old that connect to where people live, work, shop and play.
Policy: Planet Bike encourages local, state and federal governmental policies and budgets that support complete bicycle networks for all people.
The following organizations have received support from Planet Bike in this round of funding:
League of American Bicyclists
The League of American Bicyclists represents bicyclists in the movement to create safer roads, stronger communities and a bicycle-friendly America. They define standards and share best practices to engage diverse communities and build a powerful, unified voice for bicycling.
National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA)
National Interscholastic Cycling Association sees a future where every American youth has the opportunity to build strong body, mind and character through cycling. NICA provides leadership, services and governance for regional leagues to produce quality mountain bike events and support every student-athlete.
Free Bikes 4 Kidz Madison (FB4K)
Free Bikes 4 Kidz is a non-profit organization geared toward helping all kids ride into a happier, healthier childhood by providing bikes to families most in need. FB4K organizes hundreds of volunteers to clean and refurbish donated used bikes. In 2018, FB4K Madison will give away more than 1,000 bikes to kids in need.
Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin
The Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin cultivates, motivates and unites a strong community of citizens and business and political leaders to move bicycling forward in Wisconsin. Planet Bike’s support funds outreach to women, children, families, and people of color through Latino Rides, Mobile Bike Repair, Bike & Walk to School programs and other educational and outreach initiatives.
City of Chicago Bicycling Ambassadors
The Chicago Bicycling Ambassadors program is leading the charge for a safe, healthy and sustainable transportation environment in the greater Chicago area. The Bicycling Ambassadors deliver bike handling classes and encouragement programs to make Chicago a haven for active transportation. Ambassadors promote bicycling at schools, parks, libraries, businesses, block parties, bike rides, farmers markets, and festivals. In 2017 ambassadors attended over 600 events.
Trips for Kids
Trips for Kids envisions a world where kids from all walks of life have the opportunity to know the joy of riding a bike and the freedom to explore the natural world on two wheels. They deliver transformative cycling experiences through an international network of chapters that promote healthy lifestyles, environmental awareness and personal empowerment for young people of all communities, especially those most in need.
World Bicycle Relief has announced the start of its year-end campaign for donations, an annual appeal for funds that will provide life-changing bicycles to students living in developing countries.
Donations received now through Dec. 31, 2017, up to $1.7 million, will be matched dollar-for-dollar with the potential of delivering tens of thousands of bicycles to students who are at risk of dropping out due to the challenge of distance and personal safety on the way to school.
This year’s campaign, Together We Rise, highlights Umoja Secondary School in Eldoret, Kenya, where children of Christian, Muslim and traditional African faiths study together and embody their motto: “Together We Rise.”
Like millions of children across rural Africa, many students at Umoja Secondary School endure long walks to school that put their academic futures at risk. Girl students face even more obstacles accessing an education: hours of obligatory domestic chores and the threat of sexual assault on the way to school. On top of these daunting challenges, Muslim girls in this region also confront cultural expectations. Traditionally, they are not allowed to ride bicycles.
When Umoja Secondary School received bicycles in 2016, a group of Muslim and Christian girls, together, chose to challenge the cultural expectations that confined them. This year’s campaign highlights how these young girls conquered their fears, pushed past cultural restraints and boldly pursued their academic goals on two wheels. With bicycles, girls not only conquered the challenge of distance, but also tapped into a newfound confidence and independence that came with riding a bike. Riding together also led to new friendships among students.
“Owning a bicycle has changed my life a lot. I have come to face the world. It has helped me be confident. We can be ourselves, not what people want us to be,” said Ayan, a student at Umoja Secondary School.
World Bicycle Relief is committed to breaking down barriers for girls, helping them achieve their educational goals and become change-makers within their communities and around the world.
By providing a girl a way to get to school safely, she’s empowered to stay in school, get an education and break through the limitations holding her back. World Bicycle Relief is confident that the power of bicycles can play an influential role in progress for girls in Kenya and other developing countries.
Join World Bicycle Relief this holiday season in changing the future for thousands of bright, dedicated and passionate girls by donating to World Bicycle Relief here: https://worldbicyclerelief.org/en/together/Tweet Print
Recently, the League of American Bicyclists announced 46 new and renewing Bicycle Friendly Universities (BFUs), making the total 182 BFUs in 45 states and Washington, DC. Bicycle Friendly Universities are a cutting-edge group of colleges and universities across the United States transforming their campuses and the communities around them.
“From renewing Platinums to brand new Bronzes, this latest class of Bicycle Friendly University awardees show a wonderful commitment to safety, health and sustainability through their efforts to support bicycling on campus,” said Amelia Neptune, Director of the League’s Bicycle Friendly America Program. “We applaud this round of BFUs for raising the standard and being innovative in making bicycling a safe, convenient and enjoyable option for students, staff and visitors alike.”
Two states welcomed their first Bicycle Friendly Universities this round. South Dakota’s Black Hills State University in Spearfish and Rhode Island’s Brown University in Providence both achieved Bronze BFU status.
The University of California, Davis, continues to be one of the most bicycle-friendly campuses in the country, renewing its Platinum BFU status. “The university prohibited car travel through most of the UC Davis campus 50 years ago. Only transit vehicles and the occasional maintenance and delivery vehicles are allowed — and even then, they are only allowed at limited times of the day. All the roads that used to thread in and around the campus are now car-free and are essentially really wide bike paths.”
The University of Montana in Missoula, MT, a renewing Gold BFU, also has a largely car-free campus. As a bonus for this northern site, “most internal bike routes are located on pathways that are incidentally heated by the campus’s steam tunnel network. Internal bike routes do not accumulate snow as a function of this below-ground heat source.”
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln renewed its Silver BFU status. One of the ways that they communicate cycling information is with the League’s Smart Cycling materials. “We have had good success reaching individuals by using the League’s Smart Cycling Quick Guide at tabling events on campus. This has been a great resource to use when you just have a few minutes of interaction but can help share information about the ‘Rules of the Road’ with individuals.”
Texas State University in San Marcos, TX, a new Bronze BFU, found that applying for BFU status was a big step in becoming more bicycle friendly. “The application process has already enhanced the bicycling experience on the Texas State campus. A community of students, faculty, and staff have been connected as result of the application. Bicycling gaps have been identified, and several have been rectified as a result of this application. A BFU designation will continue to provide a roadmap and motivation for future improvements.”
Other universities have also established groups that work to make the bicycling experience better for all cyclists on campus. From the University of Oklahoma in Norman, OK, which moved from Bronze to Silver BFU status: “For the first time in many years, we have dedicated an entire working group that focuses solely on bicycle resources, infrastructure, education and safety. This group’s collective knowledge and experience in serving campus cyclists will allow the group to more effectively enhance those resources available to cyclists.”
The latest class of Bicycle Friendly Universities will maintain their 2017 awards through 2021, at which time they’ll be required to reapply to the BFU program to either maintain or improve their award status. In addition to the 46 new and renewing awards given this year, four campuses are being recognized as Honorable Mentions in 2017. Campuses that receive no award or Honorable Mention are provided with feedback to improve and encouragement to re-apply to the BFU program after implementing the League’s feedback to earn the Bicycle Friendly University title.
To apply or learn more about the BFU program, visit www.bikeleague.org/university.Tweet Print
Slow Roll Chicago, an organization that uses bicycles as a vehicle for social change, is one of five finalists to potentially receive funding from Delta Emerging Leaders of the Delta Institute. The organization will be pitching the Slow Roll Chicago mobility model in front of an awesome crowd at the BOOST Live Crowdfunded Pitch Fest tomorrow, Tuesday, November 14, from 7-10pm at the Chop Shop & 1st Ward.
From Slow Roll Chicago:
We need YOUR help in order to win the BOOST award!
Please support our bicycle movement by purchasing tickets and attending the BOOST pitch fest event. All the proceeds from ticket sales will go toward funding two initiatives. With each ticket purchased, you get two votes to cast in the pitch fest competition. In other words, you get to decide who receives the funding! Free food and two beer tokens will be available. Please also share this email, encouraging your family, friends and colleagues to attend the event.
Join us tomorrow evening (Tuesday, November 14) from 7-10pm at the Chop Shop & 1st Ward and help support Slow Roll Chicago’s mission to transform lives and improve the condition of our communities, while building an equitable, diverse and inclusive bicycle culture in our City.
Thank you, let’s ride…
The Slow Roll Chicago Leadership Team
(Oboi, Jamal, Romina & Dan)
By Jeffrey Stern
For a state that prides itself in being one the most bike friendly across the country, the Oregon state legislature passed $15 bike tax on new bikes sold with wheels 26” and larger for more than $200 earlier this month.
Awaiting an expected signature from Democratic Governor Kate Brown, yet opposed heavily by cyclists, advocacy groups and small business owners, the tax is apart of a new $5.3 billion transportation package and is the first of it’s kind.
The imposed fee is expected to pay for approximately $1.2 million per year in bicycle and pedestrian related infrastructure projects around the state, while costing around $100,000 to implement.
The tax, collected directly by retailers and filed in quarterly returns with the Department of Revenue then deposited in the ConnectOregon fund, will help build multi-use trails, bike paths and hopefully increase the accessibility as well as bicycle users across the state.
However, cycling activist and Portland blogger of BikePortland.org Jonathan Maus said it’s “an unprecedented step in the wrong direction.”
“We are taxing the healthiest, most inexpensive, most environmentally friendly, most efficient and most economically sustainable form of transportation ever devised by the human species,” Maus continued.
Rather than charging cyclists for doing some much good for their communities by using alternative modes of transportation, many believe the state should be incentivizing those who ride.
Maus knows that the people of Portland, a city that is often known as the cycling capital of the nation’s, want more people on bikes not less. “This is like a culture war kind of thing,” he said.
Although Oregon has yet to collect a cent of tax from the thousands of cyclists across the state, another cycling hotbed, Colorado, is also considering proposing a similar fee to collect money based on their plan.
“We will be proposing something similar (to Oregon), they use the roads also” Colorado Republican Senator Ray Scott said in a post on Facebook in a call for a tax on bicycles to help pay for Colorado road maintenance. “Maybe it should just be a license plate? What do you think?” Senator Scott continued on his Facebook page.
Consensus among those opposing this new tax is that demand for bicycles will not increase, but rather suffer from this preposterous legislation. However, only time will tell if and when this levy goes into effect and what the ultimate consequences will be on Oregon’s enthusiastic cycling population as they set a precedent for transportation policy across the nation.
What do you think of the proposed Oregon cycling tax?Tweet Print
Last week, the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) announced the recipients of its 2017 Doppelt Family Trail Development Fund grants, a fund to support small, regional projects that are vital to trail systems but often fall through the cracks of traditional funding streams. In total, RTC received $5 million in application requests for the 2017 grant cycle, a number that has increased by nearly $1 million in the past year, demonstrating the growing demand for trail funding in communities nationwide.
“Every week, I hear from dozens of organizations that manage trails—all with common challenges when it comes to funding small projects that address specific maintenance or trail development needs,” said Eli Griffen, RTC’s manager of trail development resources and the manager of the Doppelt Fund grant program. “This year’s grants offer critical investment in projects that will close important gaps in trail systems, measure the economic impact of trails and support specific maintenance needs.”
The 2017 Doppelt Fund grants were awarded in support of six projects, totaling $102,500.
- The City of Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services Department (Colorado) – $35,000 to complete Phase 1 of the Legacy Loop, a comprehensive multi-use trail project that will improve connectivity and accessibility for over 120,000 families living within two miles of the project in Colorado Springs.
- Tillamook Forest Heritage Trust (Oregon) – $30,000 to support analysis of the social-economic benefits associated with the 86-mile Salmonberry Trail.
- Wyoming Pathways (Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming) – $20,000 to support the opening of the Greater Yellowstone Trail, a 180-mile pathway and rail-trail route that connects Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to West Yellowstone, Montana, via small towns in eastern Idaho.
- National Road Heritage Corridor (Pennsylvania) – $7,500 for the construction of the Marion segment of the Sheepskin Trail, which will close an existing gap in the Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition’s Parkersburg-to-Pittsburgh corridor.
- Detroit Greenways Coalition (Michigan) – $5,000 to support the Inner Circle Greenway in Highland Park, the largest urban trail project in the state of Michigan.
- Cowboy Trail West, Inc. (Nebraska) – $5,000 to support a 15-mile expansion of the Cowboy Trail from Gordon, Nebraska, to Rushville, Nebraska.
“We are lucky to have the capacity to invest in a handful of these projects through the Doppelt Fund, but the growing need far exceeds the funding available. These projects are vital to the health of local and regional trail systems,” said Jeff Doppelt, a philanthropist from Great Neck, New York.
Established in 2015, The Doppelt Family Trail Development Fund is a way to move forward critical projects that enhance health and transportation connectivity in their regions. A listing of all Doppelt Fund grant recipients can be found on RTC’s website.
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit organization with more than 160,000 members and supporters, is the nation’s largest trails organization dedicated to connecting people and communities by creating a nationwide network of public trails, many from former rail lines.Tweet Print
The Trump Administration just released the budget for fiscal year 2018 and it’s not good for bicycling. The budget proposes to cut overall funding for the Department of the Interior by 5.3 percent and the Department of Transportation by 16 percent.
If approved, this budget will cut funding for bike trails and paths in our National Parks and National Recreation Areas. It will reduce support for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which has helped create some of the best places to ride in the U.S. The budget also guts the TIGER grant program, which is instrumental in helping communities fund multimodal transportation projects that often improve bicycling.
Use this easy letter-writing tool provided by PeopleForBikes to send a letter to your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives. Ask them to restore level funding for these critical programs in 2018.
Stand up for bikes!Tweet Print
“Our partnership was formed with a shared belief that bicycles provide independence, self-empowerment and joy,” said Katie Bolling, Fund Development Director for World Bicycle Relief. “Together, World Bicycle Relief and CycloFemme are amplifying the voices of women and empowering women to change the world. We are thrilled that our shared efforts will provide over 200 bicycles directly to girl students in Kenya and we look forward to building on this incredible impact.”
To celebrate the sixth annual Mother’s Day ride, CycloFemme challenged its community to tap into its socially-driven, grass-roots origins to help create change for girls in Kenya. Historically, the bicycle has been a positive empowerment tool. In an effort to multiply this impact, riders were encouraged to add a fundraising component to support World Bicycle Relief, a global non-profit that designs and distributes high-quality bicycles to students, healthcare workers and entrepreneurs in developing countries.
“CycloFemme began as a celebration, and has become a movement. This year, the community that formed through giving – energy, time, passion – has transformed into a community that also gives independence to others,” shared CycloFemme co-founders, Sarai Snyder and Tanya Quick. “Bicycles change lives. By using this opportunity to empower the girl, we also ignite ourselves.”
In Kenya and other developing countries, many factors contribute to girls dropping out of school in much higher numbers than boys: obligatory household chores, distance to school, sexual assault and child marriage. These barriers stand between young girls and bright futures. A high-quality bicycle can remove these barriers, keep girls in school and keep them safe as they travel to school. World Bicycle Relief is committed to breaking down these barriers for girls, helping them achieve their educational goals and become change-makers within their communities and around the world.
To see photos from CycloFemme rides around the world, follow the #CycloFemme hashtag on Instagram.
Words by Jeffrey Stern
Joining California, Tennessee and Utah, Colorado and Arkansas became the fourth and fifth states respectively to define the three different classes of electric-assist bikes.
Many e-bike manufacturers are pushing for the classification system as a way to standardize regulation in the industry because of the gray area in which these bikes sit. In some states, they are technically illegal.
Earlier this year, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said, “As e-bikes grow in both the commuter bike space as well as the mountain biking arena, we wanted to be sure the thought leadership for this segment of the industry resided in Colorado.”
By signing House Bill 17-1151, the state of Colorado is doing just that. The bill helps define the various levels of e-bike assistance depending on whether the electric motor fixed to the bike assists while pedaling and the top speed that can be reached.
Although only applicable to e-bikes ridden on the roads and bike paths, the new state law requires all e-bike manufacturers to label their bikes in such a way that allows local government agencies to identify the various classes. The new bill does not provide management of e-bikes ridden on mountain bike trails throughout the state.
Section one of HB 17-1151 defines the three classes based on top speed as well as when the motor assists the rider—while pedaling or independently. Section four requires all e-bikes to comply with the federal consumer product safety commission, lays out the labeling obligation of the three classes for manufacturers and prohibits users from modifying their motors without acquiring the appropriate label. The last section of the bill speaks to the helmet requirement for all riders younger than 18 and also prohibits a person under the age of 16 from riding a class three e-bike, except as a passenger.
This is also the section of the bill that gives local government agencies the authority to “allow or prohibit the use of specified classes of electrical assisted bicycles on pedestrian paths and bike paths.”
The Arkansas HB2185 is similar in structure to Colorado’s bill. PeopleForBikes, the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association and many local retailers came out in strong support of both bills and continue to work hard on legislation in other states. Larry Pizzi, head of the BPSA’s e-bike committee told Bicycle Retailer, “At long last e-bikes are really gaining the momentum we need them to. This is more great news on the BPSA and PeopleForBikes e-bike front. Colorado is really important. The bill got tremendous support there. We’re stoked we can put one more important state in the bag.”
Reports suggest that at least another half-dozen states have bills in progress including Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, New York and Wisconsin.
For more information on e-bike laws in your state, visit PeopleForBikes.org/e-bikes.Tweet Print
Words and photos by Chris Klibowitz
According to a 2008 report by the City of Los Angeles Department of Public Work Bureau of Street Services, “With a street network comprised of approximately 6,500 centerline miles of streets and 800 centerline miles of alleys, the City of Los Angeles not only has the largest municipal street system in the nation, but also the most congested.” Cycling with the city limits can be so daunting, that most who make it a regular practice are looked upon as crazy. Even crazier are those who fight against the engrained car culture, for those who chose to ride in LA. Ted Rogers is one such crazy person—the man behind the popular website Biking In LA—and boy does he have his work cut out for him.
What is your place within the cycling community?
A voice crying in the wilderness.
What was going through your head when you sat down at your computer and started your original blog in 2007?
I looked around Los Angeles at what was going on with bike lanes and bike safety and I thought, “we’re all getting screwed.” It was an outgrowth of my fall at the beach—I ran into a swarm of bees, lost control, wiped out, and spent a couple nights in the intensive care unit. I realized at that point that I was closer to dying than to being born, and if I wanted to accomplish something, I need to do it now. Everybody wants to change the world. I realize that I can’t change the world. I just don’t have that power. But what I can do, is I can change Los Angeles. I can make it safer to ride a bike in Los Angeles. I discovered that there were a few other people that were also as angry as I was, and it just snowballed from there.
The early posts dealt with things like poorly designed bike lanes, and telling personal stories and experiences. Is that what you’re still doing?
Rule number one was always that it was not about me. It’s about bicycling. Everything I do is in furtherance of bicycling, bike safety, somehow. I wrote it as a personal blog for about six years, and I had a feature at the bottom where I would link to stories about bicycling that I found online. That was my education in traffic planning and bike safety—I didn’t know squat when I started. I had to learn, so I went online and found all these stories and read them and figured others would be interested too. Gradually, the links started taking over, and I finally said, “Let’s make this a news site, rather than just my own opinion. I’ll keep throwing my opinion in there, because that’s who I am, that’s not gonna stop.”
At some point after that switch happened, you began to report on—and tracking—cycling deaths in the area. How did you become the unofficial keeper of that information?
I’m the death master of Southern California cycling. I’ve been accused of having a morbid interest in death. But it’s actually just the opposite: I’m obsessed with safety. I want everyone who leaves on a bike ride to come back home again in one piece. A lot of advocates say you shouldn’t focus on that, you should talk about all the good things and get people to ride their bikes. To me, that’s like a realtor selling you a house without telling you about the black mold in the basement, or that it was built on a Native American burial grounds. If you don’t know the problem is there, you can’t fix it. First, any one who dies on a bike should be remembered. Second, the reason I started keeping count, was that nobody—no government agency in southern California at that point—could tell you how many people died in their jurisdiction while riding a bicycle or crossing the street. They didn’t know.
Seems like something they should all know.
Something every government should do. They can’t provide for safety for anyone unless they know what is happening on their streets. So I got in their face, I said, “This person died in Newport Beach. That person died in Los Angeles. Here’s where they were. This is what happened. Pay. Fucking. Attention.”
Are they paying attention now?
They are paying attention now. If someone is killed on a bike, it usually makes the news somewhere. I take some of the credit for that, but there are other advocates who are raising a stink too. We forced the newspapers to pay attention, and the newspapers force the governments to pay attention. If it wasn’t for people like me saying, “this can’t go on,” then it would still be going on. Well, it is still going on, but at least they know there’s a problem.
So, do you still think Los Angeles going to change?
L.A. is a tough nut to crack for bike advocacy. In San Francisco, if they say, “Here’s a problem, we need a hundred bicyclists to turn out,” then a thousand will turn out. In L.A., if you say, “Here’s a problem, we need a hundred bicyclists to turn out,” then ten will. I have no idea why that is, and it’s been driving me crazy for years. The one thing that really bothers me now, is we are seeing a lot of very experienced bicyclists saying, “Enough. It’s just not safe on the streets, I’m done.” That’s really disturbing. We can’t lose those people. They’re the committed cyclists and if they’re walking away, it means that we have failed. Still, I think things are going to move forward. L.A. has adopted a Vision Zero plan—which I advocated for—with a goal of no fatalities by 2025.
What would make you happy to see accomplished in 2017?
More protected bike lanes. But we should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Yes, bikes lanes should be protected, but we need more bike lanes, period.Tweet Print
World Bicycle Relief is a global organization working to mobilize people in the developing world through the power of bicycles. The goal is to create a world where distance is no longer a barrier to education, healthcare or economic opportunity. So far, the organization has provided over 340,000 Buffalo Bicycles to students, healthcare workers and entrepreneurs across Africa, Southeast Asia and South America, empowering individuals and entire communities.
To sustain the impact of these life-changing bikes, World Bicycle Relief recruits one field mechanic per every 100 bicycles distributed. Mechanics learn assembly, maintenance and repair as well as basic business, marketing and management skills. Each mechanic also receives a full toolset, including new wrenches, a bicycle pump and branded World Bicycle Relief overalls. One toolset can be donated for just $50.
“From a sustainability perspective, World Bicycle Relief believes that dropping thousands and thousands of bicycles [into a country] without a plan for maintenance is a recipe for disaster.” – Brian Moonga, Country Director, Zambia
Watch the video to learn more!Tweet Print
This is the final installment of the National Bike Summit Recap. We highlighted a tiny fraction of the organizations and people that attended this year’s event. Again, the role that these organizations play in bicycle and pedestrian safety is extremely important. So go support your local bicycle advocacy group; become a member, volunteer, go to an education class, attend and support hosted events.
Our last Q&A is with Jamie from The City of Fort Collins FC Bike Program. Jamie hosted a sessions called “Bicycle Friendly Driver” a successful education class that she hopes to share to the masses. The “Bicycle Friendly Driver” class teaches what is legal or illegal with photo reference, it teaches and emphasizes little things that can be done to prevent injuring a pedestrian or cyclist; open your car door with your right hand (makes you look over your shoulder), slow down and pass with care, what are the passing laws, etc. This is a program that Jamie and her colleagues have taken to the Fort Collins transportation service and has taught all the drivers how to be a “Bicycle Friendly Driver”, they have taken this to trucking companies, sanitation companies and more. Everyone who passes receives a sticker for their vehicle, and a certificate to show off. I’m sure we’ll hear more on this program’s success in the coming years.
Bike Summit Attendee: Jamie Gaskill-Fox
Organization: The City of Fort Collins FC Bikes Program
Tell me why did you attended the National Bike Summit? I attended the Summit because I was invited by the League to do a session on the Bicycle Friendly Program that we developed and have been implementing in Fort Collins since December 2015.
What are some easy ways for people to get involved and support an organization like yours? 1) Ride your bike and do so in a safe and lawful manner. Be the example – the more of us who are positive examples on a daily basis, the safer we will all be and the more support we will have in the long run. 2) Vote to support sustainable transportation. Our programs won’t exist without the support of voters. 3) Volunteer with our organization – we’re always looking for more awesome Ambassadors. Ambassadors help educate others about safe cycling and encourage others to ride. Plus, Ambassadors help reinforce the positive cycling community.
Why should people support organizations like yours? The work that we do makes roadways safer and easier to travel for ALL people. Our programming also helps meet much larger strategic goals such as climate action goals and reducing traffic congestion.
What was your #1 takeaway from the Summit? Even though there are great things happening across the country in regards to making our communities better for bicycling, we are at a critical time when we need to reflect on what we want the future to look like for people who ride bikes and to make it happen.. We need to find new ways to reach people through each of the 5 (now 6) Es. and engage them in a way that spurs them into action. Change is good – just as long as we grab it by the handlebars and steer it the way we need to go to make a better biking nation.
As urban cycling continues to grow dramatically in popularity, Brompton, the iconic folding bike manufacturer, is launching a new and improved version of their two wheeled scavenger hunt. With events planned in five major cities across the U.S., each event will test cyclists to the max on their local knowledge, teamwork and creativity.
Available to everyone on a bike, no matter the age or experience of cycling, the Urban Bike Challenge is a bicycle scavenger hunt run via a unique mobile app. Participating in teams of two to four cyclists, the challenge will be won by the team that scores the most points. Points are awarded through the app in a variety of ways, including visiting locations, completing tasks and solving clues at locations.
“With more than 1.6 million cyclists in New York City alone, urban cycling has rapidly become a mainstream activity in U.S. cities. For Brompton, we’ve always been about celebrating everyday cycling, and the Urban Bike Challenge is a great way for both experienced cyclists and those new to urban cycling to have fun and explore their city,” said Katharine Horsman, General Manager, North America at Brompton Bicycle. “So, whether you’re an everyday commuter or a weekend recreational rider, we encourage you to sign up for a fun day of riding in the city.”
The Urban Bike Challenge series is presented by Brompton and sponsored by Ortlieb and costs $20 per entry. The series will run across the U.S. with events in:
- San Francisco – Sunday, April 16th, 2017 – in partnership with local shop Huckleberry Bicycles and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition
- Los Angeles – Sunday, April 30th, 2017 – in partnership with downtown shop Just Ride LA, the LA Bicycle Coalition, CicLAvia and Metro Bike
- New York – Sunday, July 9th, 2017 – in partnership with NYC shop NYCe Wheels and advocacy group Transportation Alternatives
To sign up, please visit here for San Francisco and here for Los Angeles. Sign up for New York will be available in June. Additional partners and locations, including Chicago and Washington, D.C., will be announced in coming months.
“Cycling in the city can have the reputation of not being a lot of fun,” said Zack Stender, owner of Huckleberry Bicycles. “But this challenge shows off the fun factor of urban cycling, allowing people to check out areas of the city often inaccessible to other forms of transport while enjoying a day out riding with friends.”Tweet Print
For the National Bike Summit Recap, we are highlighting some of the amazing organizations and people that attended this year’s event. The role that these organizations play in bicycle and pedestrian safety is extremely important. Go here to read the Part 1 Recap.
Bike Summit Attendee: Julie Mallis
Organization: Bike PGH, Pittsburgh, PA
Tell me why did you attended the National Bike Summit? I wanted to meet with other youth bike educators and LCI’s (League Cycling Instructor), connect with other women in the industry, discuss and challenge the equity of the work we all do, lobby our state senators for people-centric safer streets and to bike around DC! Being around a lot of bike advocates is empowering and fun!
What are some easy ways for people to get involved and support an organization like yours? Thanks for asking! It’s easy, you can: 1: Donate or become a member. You can become a monthly sustainer or contribute annually, 2: Get your business involved with supporting bicycling, 3: Volunteer at our big events like OpenStreetsPGH or parking bikes at the bike valets.
Why should people support organizations like yours? We are a membership-based organization and we need the support and participation of the community to keep up the work! Our organizational focus is on advocacy, community, and education. We work for policy change and transformation of our urban core by inspiring and advocating within communities to achieve bikeable/walkable streets. As we work together for safer streets, we also host large community events like OpenStreets that reimagine how a street could be used. We provide accessible education programs and printed resources for youth and adults to learn online or on-the-saddle bike safety and tips. There are a number of ways in which someone can support or participate in this work!
What was your #1 takeaway from the Summit? Youth are the future of bicycling and we must centralize their voices and experiences in advocating for safer streets. The Engaging Youth in Advocacy and Education was my favorite session. It was hosted by young people from Philly’s Cadence Cycling and Neighborhood Bike Works, Arlington’s Phoenix Bikes and DC’s Gearing Up. Everything the youth had to say was on-point, inspiring and direct. “Just because I’m a youth, doesn’t mean I don’t know what I’m talking about” – Theo of @GearinUpDC
Look forward to one more National Bike Summit attendee posts !
The National Bike Summit is a yearly advocacy event held by The League of American Cyclists. The point of this event is to gather bicycle advocates to coordinate and extend their voices to Capitol Hill and be able to attend sessions to give organizations the tools they need to make a difference within their community and beyond. The hope is to work together to advance the cycling movement as a united front.
Advocacy is not exciting to everyone. There is a lot of legislation talk, accessing state funding, bond money, fund raising, rumble strip and chip seal discussions, lobbying, non-lobbying, federal advocacy and much more. There are times when my eyes glaze over a little and I just want to run into any battle, sword in the air ready to strike. Action first, talk later, me angry, me use fist… you get it. My point is it takes a very dedicated and patient individual to stand up and fight for cycling/pedestrian infrastructure and safety.
Almost every state attended The Bike Summit. Some states had multiple people to march on the hill and make the case for infrastructure funding to their State Senators and Representatives. Some states had only one representative and sadly, some states were not in attendance at all.
Listen, I’m not going to stand up here on this website soap-box and shake my finger at anyone or anything for my concern of lack of attendance. That’s not going to help. Instead I want to share with you the people I met, why they attended, how easy it is for you to get involved and hope that they can encourage you to go out and contribute to your local bicycle advocacy club (or start one!).
Bike Summit Attendee: Kyle Lawrence
Organization: Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition, Harrisonburg, VA
Tell me why did you attended the National Bike Summit? I have attended the summit for the past 7 years and think it is important to travel to Washington DC and to the halls of Congress. For us, it is part of a comprehensive strategy to connect with our local, state, and national representatives
What are some easy ways for people to get involved and support an organization like yours? Our organization is membership centered and the easiest way to get involved is to join or come meet us at one of our events or rides to learn about how bicycles can improve our community. We aim to grow the number of smiles and high-fives in our entire community. Like every bike/walk organization, our work touches on a number of aspects involving transportation and land-use planning, education, encouragement and more. Joining any organization is usually step one. Whether you join or not, you should come out to a trail work day, go on a group bike ride, or grab food and drink with us at our monthly social. Above all, you can bring your ideas and energy to our efforts. All groups want and need is new inspiration, high energy and diverse interests. An honest desire to have fun and improve the community are always welcomed with open arms.
Why should people support organizations like yours? Bicycling and walking are mere tools to build stronger and happier communities. We all walk at some point and likely it could be easier and more comfortable. Our organization aims to do the same with bicycle riding. Whether you decide to bike or not, we aim to make it easier and more comfortable to navigate the spaces between the buildings. We believe safer and more comfortable cities grow more smiles, break down barriers, and make our communities happier and friendlier places to live, work, and play. The bicycle just happens to be a nice way to make it all happen. If you believe in strong, friendly communities, you’ll believe in our work.
Keep your eye out for Part 2—more stories from all over the United States of advocacy groups and state organizations looking to grow cycling safety!Tweet Print