02

Blog

Some Great Clubs in NC (and a Vacuum)

A few nights ago I/Ann was the speaker for the Boone Area Cyclists’ annual meeting. It was amazing! But I knew that about the club before I went there. One of the things that is so impressive about the Boone Area Cyclists is that they seem to have equally enthusiastic contingents of commuters, roadies and mountain bikers. (And definitely some cross racers, as I learned after the meeting). They did a pretty good job of filling the auditorium at Watauga Medical Center, on a cold evening with snow and ice still on the roads. For a town of 15,000 permanent residents, that was no small feat.

20150224_181357

The club conducted its business before I got up to speak and it was clear to me how active this group is – from building trails and negotiating with the county for new ones, to running youth and collegiate development teams. It seemed like everyone at the meeting had a project or activity they were working on.

20150224_191849

I’ve been to other groups like this – the Blue Ridge Cyclists come to mind, as well as the Carolina Tarwheels in Hillsborough and the Cape Fear Cyclists in the Southeastern part of the state. Each is a little different, but they all have some things in common – they are consistent, active and have been around a long time. All representing fairly small constituencies, yet all growing bicycling in their areas. It got me thinking – why is it that some communities are so successful in forming and maintaining these groups, while others see repeated efforts die slow and painful deaths?

Since I live in Charlotte, I can’t help but think of our city as an example. For years, the Charlotte Area Bicycle Alliance dominated the advocacy front. But there were problems, including very little communication with the public, so that donors and potential members asked, why am I putting my money into this group? What is it even doing? And as technology and social media advanced, the silence became louder and louder. Interest dwindled, was reignited, dwindled again and the group all but fell apart. Was it lack of leadership? Lack of community interest? Lack of funds? Why can’t a city of 800,000 people come up with enough enthusiasm to generate the type of work the Boone Area Cyclists is accomplishing?

Some of those questions will soon be answered. Recognizing that bicycling makes communities better, the Knight Foundation recently committed $600,000.00 to bicycling in Charlotte. And the Foundation began implementing a plan methodically and professionally, by holding a series of meetings of bicyclists and bicycle and business community leaders to gather information. At those meetings, people from all walks of cycling and the business community showed up and we learned that community interest is not a problem. And thanks to the Foundation, there will be money to get started. Based on our ideas, the Foundation will put together goals and a mission statement and get to work.

Another answer is that there are groups in Charlotte getting things done. There are many groups, as a matter of fact. The Tarheel Trailblazers and Dirt Divas meet every month, help run races, build trails and do other community work. The Charlotte Trips for Kids affiliate is very active. Pam Murray, Charlotte Spokes People, and affiliates are organizing rides and events and bringing cycling and commuting to everyone. Team Reeb is a club organized on the concept that a Sunday road ride should be run and accessible for everyone from beginners to racers and that everyone should come together for a beer at the end. Charlotte B Cycle organizes fun community cycling events. Nearby, Mooresville Area Cyclists leader Kevin Elder is doing enough organizing and communicating for 10 people. Transportation Choices Alliance is looking at bicycling under the broader umbrella of general transportation choices. And, of course, Jeff Viscount, www.weeklyrides.com founder, keeps us all informed of everything. There are more: including our own new Uptown Cycles-Bike Law women’s only team under the umbrella of 36th Street Racing. And many more…

This year Charlotte is hosting North Carolina’s annual bike summit. Community leaders are coming together to organize and support this event.

So Charlotte has a lot of bicycle activity going on. What we’re lacking here, and what other communities like Boone has, or, to look outside North Carolina — Charleston, New Orleans, Toronto, Washington D.C.Lansing, and Tempe, to name only a few examples, have — is an ongoing united voice. Looking at these other groups, they seem to contain common ingredients that lead to such unity: strong leadership, well-defined goals and a plan with measureable benchmarks, strong communication skills and an active base.

Although some of us want to ride to work and to get groceries, some want to ride trails from gnarly single track to leisurely greenways and some want to ride very fast on the road (and some of us want to do all of the above), we all share a love of riding our bikes. And on important issues that affect us all, we should find a way to speak as one. I am hopeful that Charlotte will get it right.

Comments

Atlanta Slow Roll
Bruce Hagen Apr 18, 2019

Bike Law Ambassador Niklas Volmer and Bike Law Georgia client Jordan Streiff have had enough of the City of Atlanta’s lip service and hypocrisy when it comes to building out meaningful bike infrastructure and decided it was time to do something about it. For some context, the City of Atlanta has promised to invest $250,000,000 […]

Read More
Danny Feldman Apr 17, 2019

ALABAMA BICYCLE LAWS It’s important to know your legal rights (and duties) when bicycling in Alabama. It is especially important after a bicycle accident (we call them bicycle “crashes” and explain why here). For any questions about the State’s bike laws, or about your rights to the road, contact attorney Danny Feldman directly. Right to […]

Read More
Rick Bernardi Apr 16, 2019

From the beginning, the Bike Law Network has had a singular focus—helping cyclists who have been injured find justice. Well, what’s so special about that? Lots of lawyers take bicycle accident cases. But the Bike Law Network is different—the lawyers in the network are cyclists themselves, and they’re passionately committed to protecting the rights of […]

Read More
Bike Walk Macon, Georgia
Bruce Hagen Apr 11, 2019

Rachel Hollar is the energetic spark behind the success of Bike Walk Macon, the leading advocacy group in the Macon-Bibb County area.   I recently had a chance to catch up with Rachel to discuss how cycling culture has changed in the Macon area since Rachel founded Bike Walk Macon in 2015.    Back in 2015, […]

Read More
Charlie Thomas Apr 11, 2019

LOUISIANA BICYCLE LAWS It’s important to know your legal rights (and duties) when bicycling in Louisiana. It is especially important after a bicycle accident (we call them bicycle “crashes” and explain why here). For any questions about the State’s bike laws, or about your rights to the road, contact attorney Charlie Thomas directly. Right to […]

Read More
Amy Benner Johnson Apr 10, 2019

TENNESSEE  BICYCLE LAWS It’s important to know your legal rights (and duties) when bicycling in Tennessee. It is especially important after a bicycle accident (we call them bicycle “crashes” and explain why here). For any questions about the State’s bike laws, or about your rights to the road, contact attorney Amy Johnson directly. Right to […]

Read More
Ann Groninger Apr 10, 2019

NORTH CAROLINA BICYCLE LAWS It’s important to know your legal rights (and duties) when bicycling in North Carolina. It is especially important after a bicycle accident (we call them bicycle “crashes” and explain why here). For any questions about the State’s bike laws, or about your rights to the road, contact attorney Ann Groninger directly. […]

Read More
Brian Weiss Apr 10, 2019

COLORADO BICYCLE LAWS It’s important to know your legal rights (and duties) when bicycling in Colorado. It is especially important after a bicycle accident (we call them bicycle “crashes” and explain why here). For any questions about the State’s bike laws, or about your rights to the road, contact attorney Brian Weiss directly. Right to […]

Read More
Bruce Hagen Apr 10, 2019

GEORGIA  BICYCLE LAWS It’s important to know your legal rights (and duties) when bicycling in Georgia. It is especially important after a bicycle accident (we call them bicycle “crashes” and explain why here). For any questions about the State’s bike laws, or about your rights to the road, contact attorney Bruce Hagen directly. Right to […]

Read More
Bryan Waldman Apr 10, 2019

MICHIGAN BICYCLE LAWS It’s important to know your legal rights (and duties) when bicycling in Michigan. It is especially important after a bicycle accident (we call them bicycle “crashes” and explain why here). For any questions about the State’s bike laws, or about your rights to the road, contact attorney Bryan Waldman directly. Right to […]

Read More
Lauri Boxer-Macomber Apr 10, 2019

MAINE BICYCLE LAWS It’s important to know your legal rights (and duties) when bicycling in Maine. It is especially important after a bicycle accident (we call them bicycle “crashes” and explain why here). For any questions about the State’s bike laws, or about your rights to the road, contact attorney Lauri Boxer-Macomber directly. Right to […]

Read More
Joe Piscitello Apr 05, 2019

PENNSYLVANIA BICYCLE LAWS It’s important to know your legal rights (and duties) when bicycling in Pennsylvania. It is especially important after a bicycle accident (we call them bicycle “crashes” and explain why here). For any questions about the State’s bike laws, or about your rights to the road, contact attorney Joey Piscitello directly. Right to […]

Read More
Load More