Posts Tagged ‘League Of American Bicyclists’
We are very fortunate to have a League of American Bicyclist board member, Gail Spann living in north Texas. Her dedication to cycling and bike education is an inspiration for many bicyclists, advocates and enthusiasts. This past weekend, she and her husband, Jim, hosted a visit from the League’s president, Andy Clarke, who came to talk to us about Bike Education and the Bike Friendly Communities Program in north Texas.
Given that our time with Andy was limited and wanting to keep this visit focused, we set up two meetings with just a few key instructors, advocates, industry leaders and city officials.
The first meeting – which was held Sunday evening at Gail’s house – was about the current education program, were several local LCIs (League Cycling Instructors) met with Andy for dinner and a ’round table’ discussion. We discussed ways to make the program better and how to reach a larger audience. Quite a few good ideas were discussed and many of us left the meeting inspired and ready to move the program forward.
Bike Friendly Communities:
The second meeting – held on Monday evening at the Plano Parks and Recreation office – was about north Texas and the the Bike Friendly Communities Program. Attending, were representatives of BikeTexas, BikeDFW, Bike Friendly Richardson, Bike Friendly Oak Cliff and Plano Bicycle Association, city officials from Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano and Richardson, and industry leaders from Richardson Bike Mart and Plano Cycling and Fitness.
At this meeting, city officials were able to openly discuss the efforts that have been made towards bicycling infrastructure, issues and concerns with the Bike Friendly Communities Program and ways to get clear benchmarks moving forward. It was evident that many of the city officials weren’t expecting a ranking based on the current program, but wanted to see some sort of recognition for the expenses and efforts made so far. They felt that having this would help motivate and inspire city management and council to continue investing in bicycling education and infrastructure.
Given the limited amount of time, we were able to have a good conversation with Andy Clarke, and he was able to assure us that the League of American Bicyclists was listening and willing to help us achieve our goals of becoming bike friendly communities. It was nice to be able to have this direct link to the League to make it clear that cycling is growing in north Texas and we are a strong community of bicycle riders.
Last Friday was the Bike League’s National Bike To Work Day. For the third year, my local bike advocacy group, Bike Friendly Richardson, worked with BikeDFW, DART and NCTCOG to set up a bike commuter Energizer Station at one of our local rail stations. This year, BikeDFW and DART were able to set up 9 stations throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
Reports are coming back that those stations had great success greeting the many bicycle commuters who came through. This indicates to me that folks around the Dallas area are starting to look at bicycle commuting as an viable form of alternate transportation – which most feel is hard to do in a city built for cars.
The Richardson station was quite successful. We had 25 bike commuters stop by our Energizer Station, where we provided them with snacks and breakfast tacos. We also handed out lots of swag donated by DART and NCTCOG as well as energy bars provided by Clif Bar and KIND. Richardson Bike Mart was out to do bicycle safety checks.
We even had a news camera man from Channel 11 stop by and interview us, but we never made the news cast that day. Fortunately, other stops in Dallas got some coverage:
Here are some pics from this year’s Bike To Work Day Energizer Station in Richardson:
Mark your calendars! Friday, May 16, 2014 is The League of American Cyclists‘ National Bike To Work Day. IF there is ever a day to ride to work, make it this day. Think about the positive statement we’ll be making as cyclists, safely using an alternate form of transportation.
Based on our great success in Richardson 2 years ago, which grew to 5 stations around Dallas last year, BikeDFW, DART and NCTCOG have partnered up to host 9 Bike Commuter Energizer Stations around the Dallas/Fort Worth area:
• ALLEN – Allen Events Center
• GARLAND – DART Downtown Garland Station
• DALLAS – DART St. Paul Station
• OAK CLIFF – Jefferson St. Viaduct
• RICHARDSON – DART Arapaho Station
• PLANO – Intersection of Bluebonnet & Chisholm Trail
• IRVING – DART Las Colinas Urban Center Station
• CARROLLTON – DART Trinity Mills Station
• MID-CITIES – TRE CentrePort Station
DATE: Friday, May 16, 2014
TIME: 6:30-9:00 am
We will be providing snacks, beverages and FREE bicycle safety checks at most stations.
Let us know you are coming on our Facebook Event Page.
MORE DETAILS TO COME.
City of Plano‘s Trail System Planner, Renee Burke Jordan, invited local citizens and bicycle advocates to meet Steve Clark, a Bicycle Friendly Community Specialist from The League of American Bicyclists.
Steve was in town to experience first-hand the bicycle infrastructure in Plano. The meeting brought together citizens and public agency staff to discuss issues and strategies for improvements, provide an assessment of current conditions and begin to collaborate on short, medium and long-term solutions.
A group of about 20+ people, including members of City of Plano staff, BikeDFW, PBA, Bike Friendly Plano, Bike Friendly Richardson and BikeTexas, were in attendance to listen to Steve’s presentation and to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of cycling in Plano. From building a stronger bike culture to rethinking how facilities are utilized, the group explored ways to make the city strategically better for cycling and increase ridership.
Overall, the meeting was very productive – considering how short it was. More importantly, events like this are great for starting and continuing the conversation about becoming a better bike friendly community – something north Texas really needs.
Last weekend I got to help teach another Traffic Skill 101 class, at the Allen Community Outreach center, in Allen, Texas. It was a good group of about a dozen students, mixed in experience and skill levels. We also had some graduates of the course, visit and observe, in preparation to taking their own LCI class next month.
I hope to see more of these classes open up this year and get more cyclists on the right track to becoming better and safer riders. It’s also great that students are striving to become instructors. Below, are some pics from the class. You can also find the entire set here.
One of the main reasons that I became a League Cycling Instructor was to teach people how to ride bikes and how to do it safely. Although the League’s Traffic Skills 101 has been a staple course that’s taught in my area, my hope is to get better trained at Bicycling Skills 123 and Bicycling Skills 123 Youth and teach kids how to ride safer. If you teach them young, perhaps they’ll carry those skills with them into adulthood.
Something that I never considered was teaching adults how to ride. Being connected to our local advocacy group, BikeDFW and a network of local LCIs, we discovered that there was enough interest in this course, that we decided to offer it.
Many of our available instructors (including myself) were not fully trained in teaching this course, so we reached out to Gail Copus Spann, who is not only an LCI, but also trains them. Gail was able to take time away from her busy schedule as Chair of the Board of Directors for the League of American Bicyclists, to help teach both students and instructors. The students learned how to ride while the instructors picked up some great techniques on how to teach this course.
We decided to have the course at Bob Woodruff Park, in Plano, where there was plenty of open space that included a nice, grassy hill. The class was scheduled to run just a couple of hours, because any longer, students start to get burned out and too tired to focus. That was plenty of time to get the students acquainted with the basic fundamentals of the course and allow them to continue at their own pace, if needed.
The first thing we noticed in offering this course, is that most of the students did not have their own bicycles. This made sense, since they haven’t ridden before. We were able to pull together a few loaners, which we plan to offer for future courses. Once we got all of the bikes set up and fitted for each student, we were able to start taking them through the steps.
The pace of the course was slow by design. The goal was to steadily teach each student how to control the bike and not let the bike control them. Gail guided the students down the low-sloping, grassy hill dozens of times to help them gain their confidence and increase their skill level. With every run, our team of instructors would watch and evaluate the student’s progress – providing positive feedback. We were amazed at the level of progression that was made by each student throughout the course.
By the end of the class, all of the students were able to ride their bikes. The smiles on their faces reminded us of how wonderful it is to start somebody down the amazing path of bicycling. I enjoyed working with Gail and the other instructors, Warren, Mike and Bob. I hope to get more opportunities to assist people with courses like this.
Mark your calendars! Friday, May 17, 2013 is National Bike To Work Day. IF there is ever a day to ride to work, make it this day. Think about the positive statement we’ll be making as cyclists, safely using an alternate form of transportation throughout the DFW Metroplex.
GARLAND – Downtown Garland Station (Partnered with The City of Garland)
DALLAS – Akard Station (Partnered with the City of Dallas)
OAK CLIFF – Jefferson St. Viaduct (Partnered with Bike Friendly Oak Cliff)
RICHARDSON – Arapaho Station (Partnered with Bike Friendly Richardson)
PLANO – Intersection of Bluebonnet & Chisholm Trail (Partnered with The City of Plano)
DATE: Friday, May 17, 2013
TIME: 6:30-9:00 am
If you are in the area, please stop by. Also, let them know on Facebook.
MORE DETAILS TO COME.
KIND Healthy Snacks – on Facebook (All Stops)
Clif Bars – on Facebook (All Stops)
Neuro Energy Drinks (Akard Stop)
Re-Geared – on Facebook (Akard Stop)
Generator Coffee House – on Facebook (Garland Stop)
Zang Triangle Apartments – on Facebook (Oak Cliff Stop)
Plano Cycling and Fitness – on Facebook (Plano Stop)
Richardson Bike Mart – on Facebook (Richardson and Akard Stops)
Don Johle’s Bike World – on Facebook (Garland Stop)
Oak Cliff Bicycle Company – on Facebook (Oak Cliff Stop)
ALSO: There will be other stations available:
Dallas Bike Works will have coffee and doughnuts and free minor repairs from 7:30 – 9:30am at White Rock Creek Trail where it passes under NW Highway (opposite the shop on Lawther). Facebook Event here.
The City of Fort Worth will have food and beverages and a bike share station set up at the Inter-modal Transit Center from 7:30 – 9am. There will be group rides to the Fort Worth event starting from various locations (map).
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).
Last Saturday was a pretty big day for me. I got to help teach a Traffic Skills 101 class for the first time. Co-instructing with me, was fellow League of American Bicyclists LCI graduate, Jenny. As recent graduates, we both have to co-instruct two classes before we can teach on our own. We were there to assist head instructor-extrodinare Mike and veteran instructor Brad, with 11 students in Garland.
As part of our instructor training, Jenny and I had to scope out locations for our parking lot drills, as well as map out the road course. We took a field trip to the area and decided that a local DART parking lot would work best for the parking lot drills. While out there, we decided to drive the road course that Jenny had plotted using Google maps – addressing any potential issues and altering the course as needed. We wanted to get a wide selection of roads to give us the opportunity to teach the students about a variety of road conditions. Also, since the road course was new to both of us, we returned to ride it the weekend before the class – just to make sure.
On the day of the class, Jenny and I carpooled. With bikes balanced on the bike rack, we rolled into the parking lot of local bike shop, Don Johle’s Bike World. My car was full of gear, forms, certificates and – most important – breakfast. The students were already gathering in front of the shop, ready to learn. So, after getting everybody introduced, registered, fed and ABC Quick Checked, we all rode to the DART parking lot to start the parking lot drills.
Parking Lot Drills:
Since Jenny and I were co-teaching our first class, Mike let us take the lead on giving instructions. Jenny and I tag-teamed this task, each helping the other fill in the gaps of information that the other might have missed. Once each drill was discussed and demonstrated, the group would split into two for practice runs. I worked with Mike and Jenny worked with Brad – who happened to be one of our TS101 instructors, when we took the class.
After lunch at Taco Cabana, it was time to do the road portion of the course. This can be taught a few different ways, as long as you are exposing your students to a variety of road conditions that they will encounter when they are riding on their own. We opted to ride as one group, while giving the students a few small exercises of riding solo. This gave them the opportunity to individually read, process and execute their routes using the information learned with the online course, as well as what we taught them with the parking lot drills.
When finished with the road course, the group returned to the bike shop, where the instructors were able to evaluate each student. Each scored very well and earned their Traffic Skills 101 Certificate.
Both Jenny and I appreciated the chance to co-instruct with great teachers, as well as this group of fantastic students. We couldn’t have ask for a better class to be our first. We hope that as we teach more of these classes, we get more refined and are better prepared to confidently teach on our own.
I’ve been cycling off and on for almost all my life, more off than on. In early 2008, my car club (I love the irony) started a “Biggest Loser” contest. Since I was the biggest and heaviest that I’ve ever been, I decided to join the challenge, eat healthier and start exercising. I started cycling more often, and really liked it.
I actually won that biggest loser contest (even though I could still lose a few pounds). What I find funny is that you never know how the choices you make – like a silly contest – will effect your life and where it will take you. I’ve become so passionate about cycling that I’ve started commuting by bike. I also advocate cycling, run a couple of bike blogs and now, I’ve decided to teach.
A few weeks ago, I took and successfully completed the League of American Bicyclists‘ League Cycling Instructor Seminar and become a League Cycling Instructor. I am LCI #3760 and I’m pretty proud of that accomplishment. I’ll try to do a writeup about the course later on.
My goal, with the help of some friends, is to bring more education to my area to help elevate my city, Richardson, Texas to a more bike friendly status. To be continued.