Archive for the ‘Good Causes’ Category
Richardson continues to impress me with their network of great bike and pedestrian access routes throughout the city. As part of that, we have some really nice multi-purpose trails. However, over time and through excessive usage, they have’ve gotten covered in litter, animal waste and broken glass. Instead of complaining about the mess, my local bike advocacy group, Bike Friendly Richardson, decided to take the maintenance and care of our trail network into our own hands.
We scheduled our first, hopefully of many, Trail Clean Up Days. Given such short notice, and everybody’s busy schedules, our first turnout wasn’t that great. We did get a few volunteers from all around the city, as well as somebody from our neighboring city, Plano. The plan was to try and fill as many trash bags (provided by the city) as possible in two hours.
Overall, we were pretty successful in filling 8-10 bags—not bad for a small group of people. Think about what we could have accomplished with more volunteers. There was still a lot more trash on the trail that we couldn’t get to. Perhaps we’ll get it all the next time.
Our goal is to do this more often than not—hopefully in other parts of the city as well. My only hope is that we’ve inspired other people to get out there and care for the public areas near them. This is our city, and we need to take responsibility for it.
This is my fifth year to participate in Methodist Health System’s WildRide! Against Cancer. Unlike last year, when I rode the 64 mile route with my buddy and barely made it, I opted to go easy and just do the 40 mile route (Well, with the new starting point this year, it was only 38 miles). The day was beautiful and the wind a little forgiving, which made this year’s rally one of the better ones for me.
Like with every WildRide, I keep promising myself that I’m going to get a new bike that’s lighter and not so mechanically challenged. Instead, I keep riding the only geared bike that I own – my 21-year old DiamondBack Apex mountain bike that’s been converted to a commuter. It’s heavy, the wheels wobble and the original drivetrain is showing it’s age. But, like the previous 4 WildRides and dozens of commutes to work, it gets me to where I need to go – even if I have to work a little harder.
As I stated earlier, this year’s rally started at a new location. It was still close to my house, so I opted to ride my bike the 4 miles to the rally. The new staging area was nice, but didn’t seem as well organized. I’m sure it’s just growing pains and getting used to the new place.
The starting lineup is usually much longer, giving room to all the cyclists who are planning on riding the 64 mile route – which is probably 75 percent, leaving the remaining lineup space for the 40 and 16 mile group. This year, it seemed to be the reverse, which left about 25 percent of the space for the lead group and a lot more for the rest. This forced many cyclists to cram together at the front, some waiting on the sidewalk and on the road median. Quite frankly, the rally always starts out slow for everybody, so it doesn’t really matter where you start.
Other than the awkward, overly-crowded start, the rally was really nice. The 40 (I mean 38) mile route was mostly the same with the typical rest stops, and riding over the Lavon Lake dam is always spectacular. Since I rode solo, this year’s ride was a bit lonely. Also, even though it wasn’t going to be as hard as last year’s 64 mile route, I think I had underestimated this year’s ride. I had forgotten that the 38 mile route was still a challenge for me, and it caught my legs off guard for the last few miles. I completed the route, but that 4 mile ride back to my house was miserable.
Here are a few pics of this year’s rally. Click here to see the entire set.
Organizing a National Bike To Work Day, Bike Commuter Energizer Station is quite a challenge. Organizing 5 of them is nearly impossible without the right partners and volunteers. This being the second year, we’re still trying to figure everything out – but we’re getting better.
Let’s Start With Last Year:
Bike Friendly Richardson member Jenny Rilling, and myself decided that we needed to set up a rest stop for bike commuters in our town of Richardson. Because Jenny was a BikeDFW board member, we were able to partner with them, who in turn, connected us with a few sponsors, including Richardson Bike Mart the Dallas Area Rapid Transit folks. Richardson Bike Mart provided us a bike mechanic to help out with bicycle safety checks and DART gave us a place to set up at one of their local train stations. We managed to pull in a few other sponsors and had great success providing breakfast, beverages and swag for bike commuters coming through Richardson.
With such great success with last year’s Richardson stop, BikeDFW (of which I am now a board member) wanted to set up multiple stations this year. Coincidentally, DART was also wanting to set up multiple Bike Commuter Energizer Station. I got an email from Dan Dickerson with DART asking if we were interested in partnering with them. Obviously, we did. Dan, using his connections, contacted several local cities in the Dallas area. Of that list, Plano, Garland, Dallas and Bike Friendly Richardson (representing Richardson) wanted to participate. BikeDFW was also working with Bike Friendly Oak Cliff, who also wanted to set up a Bike Commuter Energizer Station.
Dividing Up The Tasks And Organizing:
Because I was the initial contact for DART, I became the liaison between DART and BikeDFW, and most of the organizing for this event was done via email. This being only the second event like this in our area, and the fact that I am organizationally-challenged, there were many challenges. Fortunately, Dan was very organized and I had a team of great support with BikeDFW. My friend Eliot, with Cycling Savvy DFW, even suggested that I set up a Google Doc spread sheet and share it with the team, which was a lifesaver.
The Art of Finding Sponsors:
Finding sponsors is one challenge. Asking them to give stuff to our event is another. My hat is off to people who need to do this on a regular basis. The lesson that I learned is that you have to get an early start. Plus, you need to communicate by phone or face-to-face. When asking by email, you’re most likely going to get overlooked.
Fortunately, we were able to manage getting local bike shop sponsors, including Plano Cycling and Fitness, Richardson Bike Mart (Richardson), Richardson Bike Mart (White Rock), Don Johle’s Bike World and Oak Cliff Bicycle Company to do the bicycle safety checks at each station.
This was yet another challenge. Although DART and the local cities were bringing out volunteers for each station, it was quite difficult to pull in BikeDFW volunteers. This was mostly because of scheduling issues (getting folks to take time off on a work day) or bicyclists wanting to actually ride to work on Bike To Work Day. Fortunately, some great folks stepped up to help run each station.
I plan on adding a complete list of volunteers and sponsors, as soon as I get all the information in. Until then, here are the ones at the top of my head:
Arthuro Garza (KIND), Clif Bars (Jeanine Romine), Kasey Smith (Neuro Energy Drinks), Rachel Spire (ReGeared), JimD (Generator Coffee House), Zang Triangle Apartments, Waco Moore and Eliot Landrum (Cycling Savvy DFW)
LOCAL BIKE SHOPS FOR SAFETY CHECKS:
Plano Cycling and Fitness (Plano), Richardson Bike Mart (Richardson), Don Johle’s Bike World (Garland), Richardson Bike Mart (Downtown Dallas), Oak Cliff Bike Company (Oak Cliff)
DART: EVENT CO-SPONSOR/ORGANIZER:
Dan Dickerson and his team of great volunteers from DART – Chris Walters, Steve Biba, Shaun Tooley, Jennifer Jones, Charylene Crayton, Jennifer Hall (and more).
Ann McGinnes and her team (City of Garland), Renee Jordan (City of Plano), Max Kalhammer, Kevin Lefebvre, Kimberly Mackey (City of Dallas)
Jonathan Braddick, and his team (names to come) (Oak Cliff), Michael McNair (Garland), Jared Cook (Garland), Robert Cherry (Garland), Joshua McNeely (Richardson)
BIKEDFW: EVENT CO-SPONSOR/ORGANIZER:
Marc Mumby (Akard), Jenny Rilling (Richardson), Anita Mills (Oak Cliff), Michael Freiberger (Plano), Warren Casteel (Multi-Location Support)
Pics Of The Event (Richardson and Garland) See full set here:
As I say every year, EVERY month is National Bike Month – we all know that. However, it’s nice that national organizations like The League of American Bicyclists (who originated National Bike Month) and People For Bikes, are focusing their efforts on May – one of the best months to bicycle – just so that they can get some good traction and be more effective with their messaging.
Speaking of messaging, they’ve even come up with some helpful things (pdf) that advocates can post on Facebook and Twitter. Here are a few:
• Where will the ride take you? Join us this Bike Month to find out! [link]*
• Bike Month is here! What’s your favorite way to celebrate cycling?
• What are your favorite places to ride in [your community]?
• Do something different this Bike Month. Download the League’s BIke Month Bingo card and join the fun! bikeleague.org/bikemonth
• Are you grabbing your morning coffee on two wheels this morning? What’s the best thing about Bike to Work Day this year?
• Hopping on your bike instead of the bus to school this morning? Let us know how your celebration of Bike to School Day is going!
• Honor the past and empower the future of women in cycling! Join the Cyclo- femme movement and spread the word!
• More than 80% of bike commuters say they feel healthier & less stressed. How has biking improved your health?
• Average annual operating cost of a bicycle? $308. A car? $8,000. How do you spend the extra cash?
Even People For Bikes is doing a great push for National Bike Month. Their Roll Together - with two wheels or four wheels, let’s build the next generation of safer roads where we can all roll together - campaign is pretty impressive.
Well, I hope you get to take part in National Bike Month, and that you get a chance to enjoy a good ride or two (or 31).
Bike Friendly Richardson friend, Barbara Fullerton sent us an email wanting to share her cause. We decided to post it over here as well:
My name is Barbara Fullerton and I live in and cycle in Richardson/Plano area. This summer three librarians from Texas are participating in the Cycling for Libraries event in Europe. About 100 cyclists around the world were accepted to participate in this event. We are cycling from Amsterdam to Brussels, visiting public and special libraries. Check it out here.
We have set up a fundraising page.
We are trying to raise around $1000 for traveling funds.
Thank you for your consideration!
I think this is a fantastic opportunity for these ladies, and I’d love to hear about their journey. If you have a few bucks to spare, please help them out.
I’m back from the Cyclists in Suits event that was hosted by BikeTexas in Austin. It was an exhausting day that involved getting up by 3:00 am to catch a 5:00 am bus. After a 3+ hour trip from Dallas to Austin, we spent the day lobbying for cyclist to our state officials, only to repeat the same trip back that evening. It was a great learning experience and I got to meet some great people, which made it all worth while.