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Old 09-09-05, 11:52 PM   #1
richardmasoner
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League of American Bicyclists: Heard of 'em?

I participated in a cycling focus group tonight in Boulder, Colorado about the League of American Cyclists. Surprisingly, to me, none of the non-members in the group had ever heard of the LAB. Among these non-members was an IMBA racer, a guy who's been bike-touring around the world and reads several cycling related magazines, and a member of several local advocacy organizations.

So, for the advocates out there: Are you unaware of the League of American Bicyclists and their mission? How many here are LAB members?
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Old 09-10-05, 12:09 AM   #2
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Here is what I know. I didn't want to pay $75 for a course on safe cycling sponsored by LAB. They had a commercial with The Lance, and in the background somebody is riding on the sidewalk. They seem to advocate bike path's instead of Vehicular Cycling. There website looks like every union website ever made.
I don't know anything else, fill me in.
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Old 09-10-05, 12:43 AM   #3
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They're the old League Of American Wheelmen, gone through a few metamorphoses, I think they're a great group and as gas gets more expensive and more ppl get on bikes they're going to be more important as "the" national bike group. I'm a member of the local advocacy group and they're great too.
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Old 09-10-05, 05:50 AM   #4
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I thought there main purpose was to get government to spend huge amounts of dollars on projects that make cyclists feel special, but don't really make us safer.

For an interesting critique of the LAB, see the LAB Reform website. Here's how the site starts:

LAB Reform

Coalition to Reform LAB
Return Control to Members
and Restore Traditional Cycling Values

Why LAB Reform?

Since 1880, the League of American Bicyclists defended the rights and interests of lawful, competent cyclists. Until the mid-90's, LAB offered many useful member services, usually through low-cost programs run by volunteers. During the last few years, as a faction seized control of the Board, LAB abandoned its role of protecting members' interests and it dropped most of the services to become just another Washington lobbying and fundraising group. Details -- History of LAB

LAB Reform Goals:
  • Regain control of the League for members by allowing them to elect ALL directors
  • Restore access to the ballot and Bylaws via the petition and referendum
  • Remove the veil of secrecy over the actions of the board and staff
  • Allow members a reasonable process to remove unethical directors
  • Promote the best and safest practices of cycling
  • Protect the rights of cyclists
  • Revive member services

Last edited by Daily Commute; 09-11-05 at 04:35 AM.
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Old 09-10-05, 08:03 AM   #5
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Hmm, the ad shows the guy riding on the "road side" of the white line, not covering over near the grass, at least that's something. I'm not a member of LAB, I'm a member of the silicon valley bicycle coalition, they're the ones doing stuff around here, they rule.
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Old 09-10-05, 08:36 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carless
Here is what I know. I didn't want to pay $75 for a course on safe cycling sponsored by LAB. They had a commercial with The Lance, and in the background somebody is riding on the sidewalk. They seem to advocate bike path's instead of Vehicular Cycling. There website looks like every union website ever made.
I don't know anything else, fill me in.
I paid $30 for my Road I LAB course. I don't know where you get the data about LAB being all about trails and keeping cyclists off the roads. Both LCI instructors I know plus the new certified ones in the St. Louis Regional Bicycle Federation (http://www.stlbikefed.org) all ride on the Road and teach people to ride V.C. on the Road.

Keep Cycling,
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Old 09-10-05, 10:46 AM   #7
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I'm a LAB member, have taken the Road 1 course, and plan to become an LCI as soon as my schedule coincides with one of the courses in southern CA.

As others have mentioned, they used to be LAW (League of American Wheelmen), and the course they taught were John Forester's Effective Cycling program. At one point they decided that 30 hours was too much, not enough people were taking the courses, and cut it down two separate courses, Road 1 and Road 2 of 9 hours each. When they did that, Forester revoked their right to use the name of his course. Having taken Road 1, I gotta say it's very watered down VC compared to what I got out of the book (I'm relatively good at learning from books).

Still, while many of LAB's initiatives are PnP (Paint 'n Path), the Road 1 course is VC. The problem is it's just an introduction, and most folks only take it, so they're out there only partially trained.

I support the efforts of LAB Reform to get LAB back in line with efforts that will truly improve cycling in America.

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Old 09-10-05, 01:33 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Helmet Head
As others have mentioned, they used to be LAW (League of American Wheelmen), and the course they taught were John Forester's Effective Cycling program. At one point they decided that 30 hours was too much, not enough people were taking the courses, and cut it down two separate courses, Road 1 and Road 2 of 9 hours each. When they did that, Forester revoked their right to use the name of his course.
Yea, and the length of the courses is one of the few things upon which I actually agree with John Forester (perhaps the only thing).

LAB is a strange organization. You have to wonder about any organization that would forsake a truly cool name like "League of American Wheelmen" and choose, instead, "League of American Bicyclists". I mean, it's not even a contest. You also have to wonder about an organization that still bases its bicycling education courses on the theories of John Forester.

On the other hand, LAB is one of the few national bicycling advocacy groups that bicyclists have. There are some good people in LAB.
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Old 09-10-05, 05:22 PM   #9
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I've been a member for some time. However, I don't agree with all of their policies and practices. I'm glad as heck that Mr. John Allen is on the board of directors. (carfree, they heard about the bit with the kid riding on the sidewalk in that ad, believe me! Why the ad is still posted for downloading is something of a mystery. )

I feel that bicycle safety should be taught in grade schools, as it was in the 60's when I was a grade school pupil. Nothing heavy-duty, no grades or tests. Just a few hours each spring. I've suggested this to the league, as well as to local elected officials, but I don't think it's gone anywhere.

Many have suggested that "Wheelmen" was dropped to be PC. And yet, we have a well known, very old cycling club in MA, called "Seven hills Wheelmen", and they have never had a problem because of their name, as far as I know. Ditto for the "Charles River Wheelmen".

Minor point: One thing I feel the League needs to lose, is that new logo. They need to being back the old, winged bicycle wheel logo. You knew just by looking that this was a cyclists' organization. That logo, designed in cycling's glory days, had class. Opinions, anyone?

The LAB Reform group has some very valid points, although I'm not really a Forester fan. I wonder if league bosses ever read that site?
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Old 09-10-05, 06:10 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by trackhub
Many have suggested that "Wheelmen" was dropped to be PC. And yet, we have a well known, very old cycling club in MA, called "Seven hills Wheelmen", and they have never had a problem because of their name, as far as I know. Ditto for the "Charles River Wheelmen".
Same with the "Los Angeles Wheelmen". Although that creates some confusion as it is abbreviated "LAW".
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Old 09-10-05, 06:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richardmasoner
So, for the advocates out there: Are you unaware of the League of American Bicyclists and their mission? How many here are LAB members?
--- Yes I have heard of the League of American Bicyclists and knew they were formerly Wheelmen.
No I am not a member.
" Surprisingly, to me, none of the non-members in the group had ever heard of the LAB."
I am astonished they had never heard of the LAB.
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Old 09-10-05, 06:59 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by kb0tnv
I paid $30 for my Road I LAB course. I don't know where you get the data about LAB being all about trails and keeping cyclists off the roads. Both LCI instructors I know plus the new certified ones in the St. Louis Regional Bicycle Federation (http://www.stlbikefed.org) all ride on the Road and teach people to ride V.C. on the Road.

Keep Cycling,
The "LAB I" course is largely a holdover from a time before the LAB fell in love with separate facilities. In a sign the the LAB's shift away from cyclist education, they have significantly shortened (and weakened) the course over the past few years.

Last edited by Daily Commute; 09-10-05 at 07:05 PM.
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Old 09-12-05, 08:20 PM   #13
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I've heard of them. That's because they sent me literature. I asked here somewhere in the forums about them and didn't get much of a response. Just got some mail from the Wis. Bike Fed. Thinking about joining that group.
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Old 09-13-05, 09:17 AM   #14
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My association goes all the way back to the days of the old LAW...and yes, the impetus behind the name change was PC. I remember much commentary from some (mostly female) members objecting to the term "man" in the name and counter arguments stressing the tradition of the term "wheelman."
Unfortunately, there are those that take issue with the goals of the LAB. I do not believe the LAB to be the "lamb that has lost its way" to the degree that some would have you believe, but I do believe it is not as focused as it was in its LAW days. Regardless, the LAB is THE single most powerful (using the term loosely) bicycle advocacy lobby in this country and advocates would be well served to join the organization. If they disagree with its principles, then try to change it from within instead of griping about it.
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Old 09-13-05, 10:38 AM   #15
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I am not surprised, that non-members in the cycling focus group had never ever heard of the LAB.
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Old 09-13-05, 12:33 PM   #16
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I'm a member of the LAB & a LCI. I subscribe to the LAB Reform, as well.

In teaching Road 1, I subscribe more to Effective Cycling than the current, effete, ineffective LAB leadership does. If you have not noticed from my other posts, I agree with Forrester on major issues. And I agree with Fred Oswald, of LAB Reform.

It is a sad commentary on the state of both the LAB & bike advocacy efforts than many cyclists and even bike advocates are not aware of the LAB. It is also proof positive of the burning need for reform in the LAB.

The old LAW logo is no longer available for the LAB to use. When they abandoned the logo, it was picked up by Eagle Wheel Bikes & Eagle School of Cycling. The owner of Eagle Wheel is himself a League member & a LCI.

As for the cost of a Road 1 course, there ain't no such thing as a free lunch. LCI's have put the time in to get their LCI certification, kept up payment of both League dues & LCI registration, scouted routes for the class, prepared materials, & found meeting places. In teaching a course, the LCI exposes himself to liability issues in our increasingly litigious society, and spends time he could be doing other things (like riding).

Still don't like the price, but are interested in a Road 1 class? One time offer to all registered BF members: work with me on the date, come to Lafayette, La, buy me lunch during the course & beer afterwards, and I'll deliver a Road 1 class. I pick the food & beer joint.
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Old 09-13-05, 03:04 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by PurpleK
. . . Regardless, the LAB is THE single most powerful (using the term loosely) bicycle advocacy lobby in this country and advocates would be well served to join the organization. If they disagree with its principles, then try to change it from within instead of griping about it.
That appears to be exactly what LAB Reform is doing.
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Old 09-14-05, 11:01 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Da Tinker
I'm a member of the LAB & a LCI. I subscribe to the LAB Reform, as well.

In teaching Road 1, I subscribe more to Effective Cycling than the current, effete, ineffective LAB leadership does. If you have not noticed from my other posts, I agree with Forrester on major issues. And I agree with Fred Oswald, of LAB Reform.
Actually Tinker I had not "noticed" from your other posts.

After stating that you are both an LCI AND subscribe to LAB Reform, it is redundant to mention that you are also in synch with the unique opinions of Forester and his acolytes and their version of truth about bicycling's "major issues."

BTW what happened to the LCI/Forester devotee/ LAB Reform candidate for LAB, Mr. Rosar? Is he assuming a seat at the LAB Board tomorrow or what?
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Old 09-14-05, 06:21 PM   #19
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The old LAW logo is no longer available for the LAB to use. When they abandoned the logo, it was picked up by Eagle Wheel Bikes & Eagle School of Cycling. The owner of Eagle Wheel is himself a League member & a LCI.
Dang! They should have watched that copyright. That winged bicycle wheel had class, but also looked like it meant business. The new logo doesn't look like much of anything. (while wearing a league jersey, I have had people look at the symbol and ask "what's that?") Just my own opinion, of course. I know some graphic artists. Maybe I'll inquire as to how difficult it might be to design a new logo.

I agree with the statements that when so many cyclists of all levels have never heard of this organization, a serious problem exists.

As a LAB member, I like the idea of "Change from within".

One more comment about the Logo, then I promise I'll shut up about it: Thank you for telling me the reason that the old log can no longer be used by the League. Now, a question: How come I am learning this in a public on-line forum, and not from the League staff?

Last edited by trackhub; 09-15-05 at 06:15 AM. Reason: Amending
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Old 09-16-05, 03:07 PM   #20
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. . . Now, a question: How come I am learning this in a public on-line forum, and not from the League staff?
The League staff is too busy fixing elections and striping bike lanes.
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Old 09-16-05, 05:00 PM   #21
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The League staff is too busy fixing elections and striping bike lanes.
I tend to agree... I heard more about the old Wheelmen then the LAB ever...

Seems like once they went the "executive route," they went down the tube. Kinda makes you wonder if the leadership even rides bikes... ever.
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Old 09-16-05, 05:25 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Daily Commute
The League staff is too busy fixing elections and striping bike lanes.
I take it that the Lab-Reform candidates have been rejected and are now preparing for the "we wuz robbed" mode just like the last time.
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Old 09-16-05, 06:06 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Daily Commute
The League staff is too busy fixing elections and striping bike lanes.
Heh. Good point, and you may very well be onto something. All I can say is that it's not the same league I joined back in the early 80's. Back then, the emphasis was definitely on cyclist's road rights. No one was talking about seperate facilities. I don't think they took any money from the bicycle industry back then either. (I could be mistaken.)

Still, they have done some good as of late. They took on clear channel communications, when some of the potty-mouthed, cowardly DJ's at radio stations owned by clear channel were openly advocating violence against cyclists. Presently they are doing what they can on that case in Kentucky, where a cyclist who was riding legally was hit by a truck. Apparently, the jury in this case felt that the cyclist should have gotten off the road to allow the truck to pass. A link to the court opinion document is posted at the League's site. Could you imagine being required to get off the road, anytime a motor vehicle wanted to pass? This case bears watching.

I know that board member John Allen is one of the most avid cyclists on the planet. I don't know if all board members are or not. As for the office staff being avid cyclists, that is a good question.

Off topic, Those potty-mouthed DJ's, or whatever they call themselves: While they're inside a secured building, behind a 50 kW commercial transmitter, they can certainly talk the talk, can't they? Wonder how tough they'd talk, in a face-to-face meeting with any cyclist on these forums?
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Old 09-17-05, 09:02 PM   #24
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Actually, Eagle Wheel picked up the old logo with full knowledge & permision of the LAB ot that time. As far as how, maybe they are embarassed? I get the impression from the owner of Eagle Wheel that he picked up the logo as much to preserve it, as use it.

I'm hoping for change from within in the LAB. Less turmoil & legal bills that way. My attitude towards Forester & LAB reflects, in part, the views of those I learned from. And one fo those guys is now a LAB officer.
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Old 09-18-05, 06:21 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genec
I tend to agree... I heard more about the old Wheelmen then the LAB ever...

Seems like once they went the "executive route," they went down the tube. Kinda makes you wonder if the leadership even rides bikes... ever.
Do you believe "Leadership" skills are improved or gained by bicycling? I think current events would cast doubt on that theory.
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