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.