General Cycling Discussion - LBS with connections to city government?
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12-10-07, 09:03 PM
I was just wondering if and how LBSs and the city government can work together to create more bike-friendly cities?
Maybe bike shops can help promote/sponsor information/seminars on local bike laws and riding techniques, the best streets for biking around town, upcoming road construction as it relates to bicycling, etc. These things might help bicyclists perform better on the road and make the streets safer and more efficient for everyone.
Bike shops could also be a place to air grievances and discuss issues that could be brought to the city's attention with stronger force than a single rider or a bike organization (whose members might not include many students or those who just don't have the time or energy to join the organization).
I think these things woud help the city create and maintain better bike routes, thereby helping the flow of traffic and increasing safety for everyone.
In return, the city could provide more bicycling resources like bike lanes and locks and bike registration in conjunction with the LBS. Maybe they could give the LBS money to sponsor the previously-mentioned events, or be more willing to hold bike-oriented events (races, bike to work day, etc).
Is anyone already doing something like this? More ideas or suggestions? Comments?
12-10-07, 09:24 PM
City Government likes to deal with "central authority". Most cities have multiple bike shops who are competing against each other, and sometimes have different philosophies. Take Berkeley for example bike shops range from a co-op, Missing Link, to a small chain, Mikes Bikes, to large chain, Performance, to a questionable shops, forgot the name was raided by cops on suspicion of trafficking stolen bikes. So I guess as with everything if individual bike shop owner has a drive to do it then it might work on some level, but it won't be an "official" relationship between city government and bike shops.
12-11-07, 03:03 AM
I do know of a couple of shop owners that are cycling advocates, the one that comes to mind is the owner of Neighborhood Cycles (http://ntransportation.com/page.cfm?pageID=60) in Winston-Salem, NC.
12-11-07, 08:18 AM
Look up the bike coalitions amongst the various cities. In California there are the new money neighborhoods near Stanford University, also known as Silicon Valley. These things are already in place. If you want to get some ideas that work, try them.
The LBS where I do most of my business, Full Moon Vista Bike & Sport (http://www.fullmoonvista.com/), supplies the bikes to the police department, and does the repairs and maintenance.
They also organize and promote our crit--the only UCI-sanctioned crit in the USA. The city has been a sponsor since year one. This coming year with the addition of a time trial and a road race, it's going to be three days of racing. The major sponsor is no longer a corporation, but the city. Where did the mayor go for the press conference announcing the changes? The LBS of course!
As far as the more typical advocacy issues, we're pretty fortunate that the local club has delegates on the regional transportation council and things like that.
12-11-07, 09:31 AM
Our LBS does a lot of the local trail construction/maintenance through volunteerism.
Both myself and a coworker (we both work for the City where we live) are working on building more trails on City-owned land and turning it into a passive-recreation park.
One thing that people on the outside of local/state govt don't realize is the time table required to even get a trail system or bike lane proposal into any sort of long-term plan, much less a short-term plan. Then you have to apply for funds, find a percentage of matching local funds, etc. etc.
My 6 years on the local bike/ped committee has gotten bike lanes on two streets, but the park property is showing promise.
not sure if this counts but Condor Cycles supplies the city of london police with their MTB bikes
The Human Car
12-12-07, 12:26 AM
Here most of the bike shops advocacy is in promoting racing. But one shop got involved with promoting Bike to Work Day. Conveniently located a short distance away from the staging area and invited the City’s politicians to participate, supplying not only bikes but also cool bike clothing.
http://www.baltimoresun.com/media/photo/2007-05/29780567.jpg (Sun photo by Jed Kirschbaum)
Note the matching bike, helmet, and jacket on our mayor courtesy of Light Street Cycles.
Penny’s (Light Street Cycles’) approach was to make cycling covenant, easy and fun for the politicians as well as trying to make sure they looked good in the process. No hard sell on City bike issues as that was our job as cycling advocates. Penny was just out to make cycling fun. Sometimes she would come up with “Oh by the way…” if the issue was dire enough but most of the time it was just small talk.
At the last Bike to Work Day something happened, rather then going back to work the Mayor just took off riding… she got the bug, this was a huge turning point for us. The Mayor really wanted to set an example (and possibly lose 5 extra pounds) so she started weekly bike rides for her and her staff from city hall.
That day was absolutely the most incredible time I ever had, as we all had to scramble and really put the hammer down to catch up with the Mayor. And the poor motorized security detail did not know what to do and I think we ditched them for a good 20 minutes till they finally figured out where we were.
Now we enjoy weekly bike rides with most of the department heads of the city and we sometimes joke around but mostly just enjoy the city from a handlebar perspective. And its really cool, we ride in rich and poor neighborhoods alike and the Mayor gets at returns friendly greetings to any passersby.
When One Less Car made a presentation about brining Ciclovia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ciclovia to Baltimore they got a unanimous “Sure we should be able to do that.” from all the city departments.
I’ll also note that Penny had a lot to do with the creation of Baltimore Spokes to empower the individual and the cycling community. The site has been wonderful on issues like buses harassing cyclists because it is no longer just one crank cyclists calling in and complaining it turns into dozens hitting all at once.
Anyway if Penny has the time I am sure she would be happy to talk with you. http://www.lightstcycles.com/
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