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berner 04-03-13 11:24 AM

Cycling clubs and advocacy
 
Recently there was a thread about bike clubs. I posted something there about cycling advocacy as a good reason in itself to be part of a club. I can't find that thread now which calls for my very own thread.

The last issue of our club's news letter, Narraganset Bay Wheelmen, with members from Rhode Island, southern Massachusetts and Western Connecticut, listed cycling organizations the club supports. Part of that is duplicated below with some local organizations and some national in reach. Total amount of financial support is about $16,000.

Adventure Cycling
Bike Newport
Bike Walk Connecticut
East Coast Greenway
League of American Bicyclists
Mass Bike
Rails to Trails
RI Bike
Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council

It is my belief that such support and visibility by a bike club, and that support need not necessarily be direct financial aid, contributes beneficially to the overall tone of dialogue by civic planners and cyclists about our bikeways. A small example is providing a mere three feet of pavement outside the white line on busier roads. Many of the roads I ride are very quiet back roads with little traffic so that a bit of extra pavement makes no difference. Often though, I need to connect several areas by a busier road. On these busier roads that bit of extra pavement makes all the difference as to whether I'm comfortable or mildly terrified. Some areas I just avoid as too dangerous. I think a wide and sustained effort over a long period of time will lead to better riding conditions and improved awareness by motorists.

Shamrock 04-03-13 01:00 PM

Good point Agreed!:thumb:,Now I have to join a club!

B. Carfree 04-03-13 08:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by berner (Post 15464623)
... A small example is providing a mere three feet of pavement outside the white line on busier roads. Many of the roads I ride are very quiet back roads with little traffic so that a bit of extra pavement makes no difference. Often though, I need to connect several areas by a busier road. On these busier roads that bit of extra pavement makes all the difference as to whether I'm comfortable or mildly terrified. Some areas I just avoid as too dangerous. I think a wide and sustained effort over a long period of time will lead to better riding conditions and improved awareness by motorists.

Like most places, we have that situation here. There are scores of wonderful loop rides that all have one or two small (less than five mile) sections of high speed road with just enough traffic that a three foot shoulder would dramatically change the experience.

One section may get fixed here, but the reason is not the foresight of our local and state traffic planners. A few years back a local faculty member at our community college fell while riding with a group on one of these roads. She was promptly run over by the log truck that was harassing/tailgating the riders. A foundation in her name has put up the money for the state to do the required study so that a shoulder can be added to this road.

I guess she was the ultimate cycling advocate. I hope I can help get some things improved while paying a lesser price.

qcpmsame 04-04-13 05:57 AM

My club membership here is in the West Florida Wheelmen, a great group of bicyclist. I am below the level of their rides right now I still join and volunteer for them because they advocate for our rights and for improved conditions in our area as well as their racing activities. They work with the City of Pensacola on developing a long term plan for cycling access and are heavy into my favorite group, The Wounded Warrior Foundation, with rides that benefit the group. They also conduct education/advocacy events in the community. Just being a member of the organization and lending my voice as well as hands to them benefits other cyclist in the area so it is just something I feel is the right thing to do. If you have a club in your area that is your kind of organization and you fit in with them, I'd say to join them and to help make a difference.

Bill

Dudelsack 04-04-13 06:07 AM

Cycling advocacy: good.

Club membership: good.

BlazingPedals 04-04-13 09:11 AM

My club gives out something like $65-75000/year in grants. But the main reason I belong is because they have rides almost every day all summer long.

berner 04-04-13 12:54 PM

Yeah, I originally joined to learn routes in different parts of the state and I do get that benefit. Most of the members are middle aged, some younger and a few of us are 70 and older. All rides have 3 or four distances (say 20, 35 50 and 70 miles) for cyclists of every ability. Every ride is arrowed on the road surface so that, while maps are provided, are not actually necessary. Weeks in advance, some club member will go around with a paint can to do the arrowing.

BluesDawg 04-04-13 08:10 PM

My club is much smaller with a much smaller budget than some mentioned in this thread, but since I started the club in 2005, we have steadily made inroads toward improving awareness and facilities for cycling in our town and area. We raise a few thousand each year to contribute toward advocacy efforts, trail building and maintenance and also to other non cycling related causes.

Our latest progress has been to convince some on the City Council to consider adopting a Complete Streets ordinance. I was picked by the mayor to represent the club on a Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee which will iron out the language of the ordinance before submitting it to the council for a vote in a few weeks.

berner 04-05-13 11:40 AM

Way to go Dawg. That's what I'm talking about.


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