October 16, 2013 Leave a comment
Behind the scenes at Performance Bicycle
May 14, 2012 Leave a comment
It’s National Bike to Work Week, so we’re turning our blog over to our friends from the the League of American Bicyclists, the driving force behind National Bike Month. Read on below to find out more about what they’re doing to build a Bicycle Friendly America, and also find out what communities have been recognized as Bicycle Friendly Communities this year.
For the past 50 years, the League of American Bicyclists has hosted and organized National Bike Month to celebrate cycling and encourage new and longtime riders to get back in the saddle. For decades, we’ve designated and promoted Bike to Work Week — this week! — and Bike to Work Day, and the number of bicycle commuters has continued to rise.
How are you celebrating Bike Month this year? Check our website or contact your local advocacy organization to find an event in your area! And, no matter how you’re celebrating, don’t forget to sign up for the National Bike Challenge, a new friendly competition that kicked off May 1, aiming to unite 50,000 Americans to ride 10 million miles this summer!
But, while we’re all fired up about Bike Month, that’s just the beginning of the League’s efforts to make bicycling safe, accessible and enjoyable for all. All year long, we’re working to protect your rights and make your ride better, wherever you’re going.
Just this morning, for instance, we announced the largest round of Bicycle Friendly Communities (BFC) in the program’s history. By evaluating and recognizing investment in bicycling promotion, education programs, infrastructure and pro-bicycling policies, the BFC program is revolutionizing the way communities evaluate their quality of life. With this impressive round, there are now 214 BFCs in 47 states — and the program works. While bike commuting rose 40 percent nationwide between 2000 and 2010, it jumped a staggering 77 percent in the largest BFCs.
The BFA program goes beyond cities and counties, too. The League also provides guidance and technical support through our Bicycle Friendly Business and Bicycle Friendly University programs, making workplaces and higher education more accommodating and accessible for cyclists. And we work with states, too: On May 22, we’ll release our latest Bicycle Friendly State Rankings, which showcases progress in areas like infrastructure, policies and education.
Beyond the Bicycle Friendly America program, we work with League members and organizations across the country to deliver our Smart Cycling education courses. From the basics of Traffic Skills 101 to targeted training, like Group Riding, the League curricula remains the gold standard for bicycle safety and skills for riders of all ages.
Based in Washington, D.C., the League is also your advocate on Capitol Hill. Each year, we convene the National Bike Summit, drawing hundreds of advocates, enthusiasts, retailers and policymakers to learn about federal transportation issues and lobby their members of Congress for funding and policies that meet the needs and rights of the growing number of bicyclists nationwide. This year we had a record crowd of more than 800 attendees. Mark your calendar now for the 2013 Summit, so you can tell your members of Congress that Bicycling Means Business.
And, of course, the League is committed to building the movement by connecting you to clubs and rides in your community, and sharing stories and innovations on our daily blog. Join the conversation by subscribing to our blog, becoming a fan on Facebook or following us on Twitter. We welcome your energy and ideas — with your help we’ll build a Bicycle Friendly America where every month is National Bike Month!
The League of American Bicyclists promotes bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation, and works through advocacy and education for a bicycle-friendly America. The League represents the interests of America’s 57 million bicyclists, including its 300,000 members and affiliates. For more information or to support the League, visit www.bikeleague.org.
May 8, 2012 Leave a comment
Throughout National Bike Month we are highlighting the efforts of some of our advocacy partners who are making a difference for cyclists throughout the US. Last week we turned our blog over to our friends from People for Bikes, and this week we’re letting the good folks at the Rails to Trails Conservancy lead the train. Read on below to find out what they’re doing to make cycling safer and more accessible, and how you can help.
I bet most of you have a good trail or bike path close by, right? Yeah, I do – the Capital Crescent Trail between Maryland and Washington, D.C. I ride it each day to work, and sometimes on the weekend to meet buddies in the city.
For those of us fortunate enough to have access to a trail, bike lanes or just some wide-open space, riding a bike to get around is a pretty simple, visceral pleasure. The wind in your face, the adrenaline pumping… you save time, save money and generally feel good about things. Simple.
But as basic as this joy seems to those of us who ride regularly, in many parts of America there are significant barriers to this simple activity. In a landscape often designed for cars to the exclusion of walking or biking, millions of Americans lack a safe and convenient place to ride at all, let alone a network of trails, bike lanes and paths that enable others to ride to work, to school, to visit friends or go shopping.
That’s what drives us at Rails to Trails Conservancy. We have an ambitious target—referred to here in our office as the Big Hairy Audacious Goal—to put 90 percent of Americans within three miles of a trail system by 2020.
We are working toward that goal by helping communities develop rail-trail projects, by supporting trail-based business and residential development, by working hard on Capitol Hill and with state and local governments for policies and funding that recognize the importance of biking to our transportation system, and by building a movement of people who love their trails and want to spread that love!
National Bike Month this year is a particularly significant one for us, as it marks the release of a report on active transportation we have been eagerly anticipating. Launched by Congress in 2005—and with management support from RTC—the Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program (NTPP) dedicated $25 million to each of four communities to invest in biking and walking infrastructure. The idea was to see what this kind of unprecedented, targeted investment could do to change and grow a culture of biking and walking in these communities.
Essentially, it was an experiment into whether Americans were interested in non-motorized transportation – whether, to borrow loosely from a famous baseball movie about a guy in a cornfield, “If we build it, will they come?”
The results came in last week, and just three years into the pilot the change in transportation behavior tells a truly compelling story.
Across the four communities, counts revealed a 49 percent increase in biking. Compared to a national increase of 15 percent from 2001 to 2009, that spike is astounding. In just three years, the pilot communities achieved triple the expansion in biking activity the rest of America took eight years to realize.
Although the pilot program did involve education and safety programs, a huge part of this increase was directly tied to infrastructure – physically providing safe, convenient and direct pathways that actually take people where they need to go.
In Columbia, Mo., the new Windsor/Ash bicycle boulevard completed in 2010 resulted in a 124 percent increase in bicycle traffic. In Marin County, Calif., the new Cal Park-Hill Tunnel path to San Francisco—constructed through a hillside and alongside active rail tracks—resulted in a 400 percent increase in weekday bicyclists. Nearby, the new Alameda Del Prado bicycle lanes increased weekday bicycle traffic by 366 percent and weekend bicycle traffic by 540 percent.
No question, if we build it, they will come. Big time.
So what does this mean for you? Well, right now the U.S. Congress is debating whether to dedicate any transportation funding to biking and walking infrastructure, as part of a new federal transportation bill. Many of our Congressional representatives believe that money spent on enabling biking and walking is “frivolous,” and a waste of taxpayer dollars that should be spent exclusively on roads.
Rails to Trails Conservancy is doing everything we can to make sure our transportation system provides a better balance and gives people the healthier, cheaper, cleaner and greener option to bike and walk. If you have a moment, tell your representative that a car-only landscape isn’t the way you want to roll, and that being able to bike is an important part of your transportation future.
It’s a critical time – every voice and every vote counts.
Happy National Bike Month, everyone!
May 3, 2012 1 Comment
Our friends at People for Bikes are always hard at work to improve the future of cycling and are big supporters of National Bike Month. They love events like Bike to Work Week (May 14-18), Bike to Work Day (May 18), and the first Bike to School Day (May 9). So we asked them to put together a few ideas that you could try to make National Bike Month a success in your community.
As many of you already know, May is National Bike Month. With longer, milder days, May is a perfect time to recognize bicycling for the multitude of benefits it provides – improving America’s health, economy, and environment. Here are four ways to make the most of this year’s National Bike Month:
1) Go for a type of bike ride that you normally wouldn’t: If you’re a road rider, try a mountain bike ride. If you’ve never ridden your bike to work, give bike commuting a shot. If the ride to work isn’t something you can tackle, ride your bike to run an errand you would normally do by car, even if it’s just a trip to the coffee shop or ice cream parlor. Remember—forty percent of trips Americans take are two miles or less, an easy bicycling distance.
2) Sign up for the National Bike Challenge and ride with thousands of Americans from around the country. This first of its kind challenge is being promoted by the Kimberly Clark Corporation, Bikes Belong, and the League of American Bicyclists to encourage healthier lifestyles and will run from May through August.
3) Introduce one other person to bicycling. Whether it’s your partner, a coworker, a family member, or just a friend, help someone find a bike and go for a fun ride. Bicycling is a pretty amazing thing, right? Why not encourage someone else to discover the activity that brings you so much happiness.
4) Sign the PeopleforBikes.org pledge. PeopleForBikes.org is the movement dedicated to improving the future of bicycling. Already, half a million people have signed the pledge. It is free and only takes a quick minute to sign. Joining PeopleForBikes.org is a way for bicyclists in this country to speak with one powerful, united voice to ask for more safe places to ride a bike. By signing the pledge at www.PeopleForBikes.org, Americans can raise public awareness and demonstrate a commitment to our leaders in Congress and in cities and states throughout the country that bicycling is important and should be protected.
This May and this summer should be an amazing time for bicycling in America. An increasing percentage of our national leaders recognize bicycling as a simple solution for transportation challenges, jobs and economic development, and health and obesity issues. Communities are investing in bike lanes and paths more than ever, helping bicycling to become safer and stress-free. PeopleForBikes.org encourages Americans to take advantage of these new places to ride and to not only participate in National Bike Month, but to also incorporate bicycle trips into their daily routines.
To join 500,000 other Americans in signing the PeopleForBikes.org pledge, visit http://www.peopleforbikes.org/pages/pledge.
To learn more about National Bike Month and find events in your community, check out http://www.bikeleague.org/programs/bikemonth/.
To register for the National Bike Challenge, visit http://www.nationalbikechallenge.org .
February 17, 2012 Leave a comment
If you’ve been reading almost any cycling site recently, or following the conversation through social media, you’ve probably heard about the ongoing transportation bill debate in Washington, D.C. The multi-year U.S. transportation bill has been moving along rapidly in Congress, and there are many in Congress who wish to remove any dedicated federal-level funding for bike and pedestrian focused projects. We wanted to learn more about this issue, just like you, so we asked our friends with the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, who know the ins and outs of this transportation bill, to to be our guest here on the Performance Bicycle Blog today. Jake Lynch, Rails-to-Trails‘ Communications Manager, wrote this post about what the proposed changes to the transportation bill could mean, why this funding is important, and what you can do if you’d like to help influence the debate.
Right now, both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are attempting to pass their own versions of our nation’s next multiyear surface transportation bill. These bills will dictate America’s direction for many years, and not only in terms of our transportation infrastructure; they will have far-reaching impacts on the nation’s health, environment and economic vitality.
The bad news for everyone who believes our government should help provide safe and convenient places to ride a bike or walk is that both the House and Senate bills would harm programs that fund trails, bike and pedestrian infrastructure, and even transit. Transportation Enhancements (TE), the top source of funding for trails and bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, would effectively be eliminated. TE is the lifeblood for active transportation projects in communities of every size all across the country (Ed. we’ve included photos from a few projects below).
There is strong evidence that trails and bicycling and pedestrian projects are cost-efficient job creators, crucial to our nation’s public health goals, and keys to America becoming more environmentally and economically sustainable. Unsurprisingly, the bill was unpopular across the spectrum and provoked a backlash from constituents and transportation advocates like you. The good news is that your voice has been heard, as a vote on the proposed House bill (H.R. 7) has been delayed until at least the end of this month, an indication that there are not enough votes to pass this bill in its current form.
But there is still work to be done. The Senate bill, as it was passed out of the Environment and Public Works Committee, would also be bad news for bicycling and walking projects – but it is not beyond repair. We are seeking passage of two bipartisan amendments that would restore the integrity of the programs that provide dedicated funding for bicycling and walking, including TE, Safe Routes to School and the Recreational Trails Program. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) have introduced an amendment (#1549) that would ensure communities a fair shot at dedicating funding for trails, walking and bicycling. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho) have filed another amendment (S. Amdt. 1661) that would restore the Recreational Trails Program. By mitigating some of the oversights of the Senate bill through appropriate amendments, we can help the Senate craft a positive alternative to the House bill.
We here at Rails-to-Trails, along with many other cycling and walking advocacy organizations, are urging all our friends to support these two amendments to the Senate bill. As passionate riders and bicycle advocates, you can help by spreading this message, and by taking just a few moments to complete this automated email form that lets your senators know that trails, walking and biking are important to you.
We understand that often it is hard to get motivated by a legislative process that can seem distant and unproductive. But if a transportation bill becomes law with the current provisions of either of these bills, we will all suffer as our roadways become less safe, obesity continues to climb, and we fail to maximize our communities’ economic development and job creation potential. Please, join this effort to keep America’s transportation network moving forward. You can keep up to date with the latest legislative news by signing up for RTC Online, or on the Rails-to-Trails Trail Blog.
January 20, 2012 2 Comments
This week we were invited to participate in an interesting roundtable discussion about Livability and Smart Growth in our local Triangle community (which consists of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, where our home office is located), focused on efforts to improve access to and funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects.
Organized by Multi-Modal RDU and McKinney (and hosted at McKinney’s offices in Durham), this discussion, open to the local community, featured the participation of our local U.S. Representative David Price, an important supporter of multi-modal transportation and environmental protection efforts in Congress, and Representative Earl Blumenauer of Portland, founder of the bi-partisan (or “bike-partisan” as he likes to call it) Congressional Bike Caucus and long-time bicycling advocate in Washington.
The room was packed with passionate cycling advocates and community members who were there to talk about bicycle and pedestrian planning on the local and national level. In addition to Reps. Price and Blumenauer, the roundtable discussion was led by representatives from the East Coast Greenway Alliance, the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, the Open Space and Parks Advisory Committee, the Durham Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission, and our Performance Bicycle CEO David Pruitt, who was there both as part of the local community and also as a representative of the bicycle industry.
Passion for their cause was evident with all of the speakers, whether it was supporting the construction of greenways along the east coast, building a path to bisect North Carolina from west to east, advocating for new bike lanes, or, in our case, reaching more customers with the cycling products, services and knowledge they need to ride more often. But the most interesting part of the discussion was hearing how these plans were being implemented – what strategies were and are still needed to bring these visions to reality. It was in this realm that Rep. Blumenauer was able to bring his experience as an advocate for the cycling community to the fore, as he talked about the need to make the case for both the economic and health benefits of increased access to cycling.
In addition to boosts to recreation and tourism, he cited examples from his home district in Portland where cycling-specific infrastructure fueled measurable economic growth and added value to the community (plus served as a catalyst for a thriving $100 million local cycling industry), all for a cost-effective investment.
It is for these reasons and more that we support the efforts of the National Bike Summit, and are a sponsor of Bikes Belong, a national coalition of bicycle retailers and suppliers that works to put more people on bikes more often, through projects, partnerships and advocacy efforts across the country. Because the one key lesson from this discussion was that it will take a concerted effort on both the local and national stage for cycling advocates to continue to create a safer, more accessible, and, in the end, more valuable cycling infrastructure in our country.