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  1. #1
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    Bicycle Colorado - Worth Joining?

    Since I received an advertisement and membership application for Bicycle Colorado one of the LBS' I've dealt with on my trips to Denver area must have given my name and address to them. I've been to their web site, looks impressive. But then lots of web sites look impressive. The real questions are: Are they effective? and; Are they efficient with money?

    If they are effective and efficient then are they worth joining?

  2. #2
    Mountain Goat dark13star's Avatar
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    I am not sure if they are efficient, but I don't see anything to say otherwise. I would say they are effective. There has been a lot of debate around bicycle legislature in CO lately, so I joined up this year at the member level. I let them keep the socks and put the money towards their mission.
    "I would be an historian as Herodotus was." Charles Olson
    http://herodot.us

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the info. Anyone else?

    Some explanation: There are literally hundreds of 501c(3) organizations clamoring for donations. All tout worthy causes. In some cases the organization is literally a fraud. In others overhead is so unreasonable that a person might think staff paychecks are the primary goal. But, in many, if not most, they are doing a reasonable job trying to accomplish what they say their mission is.

    What I'm trying to do is do some kind of due diligence to put my limited funds in places where they will do the most good.

    At this point lack of response and information is suggesting maybe Bicycle Colorado isn't one of the better places to put my money.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Trek760's Avatar
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    They are a great organization that puts a LOT of effort into advocacy efforts. I just did a story on them a few weeks ago. They do a lot of very good work. Don't let low responses on this board scare you off from them.

    No, I do not work for the organization. (I don't live in Colorado) But I would.
    Just get in the saddle and ride.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Trek760's Avatar
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    Here is an example of what they do for people:
    http://www.rei.com/stores/store_even...ignore_cache=1

    Boulder's Future as a Cycling Mecca

    11/9/2009 7:00 PM

    Join the Boulder Cycling Club for their first monthly meeting. Featured guest speaker Scott Christopher of Bicycle Colorado, Colorado's largest cycling advocacy organization, for a discussion on the future of cycling in Boulder. Come find out ways to further enhance and improve the cycling atmosphere in Boulder.
    Just get in the saddle and ride.

  6. #6
    impressive member badhat's Avatar
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    yeah bicycle colorado is the real deal

    definitely worth supporting if you care about bike advocacy in colorado.

  7. #7
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    Thanks

    As you most likely have divined I don't live down there. But, I do visit every few months. Often enough to have bought a bike to ride while I'm there (much cheaper than renting). So, I do care about cycling quality in Colorado.

    I'll send my check in the next mail. Lets' see; yep we have enough snow for the sled dogs so it should get down to America in a reasonable time.

  8. #8
    Gone DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Good organization!

    Reasonable, effective politically, good image in the community.
    Gone >> Gone >> Gone >> Gone >> Gone >> Gone >> Gone

  9. #9
    cycling for 50 plus yrs colorado dale's Avatar
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    great organization effective got state patrol to agree to use of *CSP for any bicycle harrassment, have led an effectrive safe passages to school program, got rid of bicycle ban
    on central city parkway and too many other things to list

  10. #10
    Senior Member Pedal Wench's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trek760 View Post
    Here is an example of what they do for people:
    http://www.rei.com/stores/store_even...ignore_cache=1

    Boulder's Future as a Cycling Mecca

    11/9/2009 7:00 PM

    Join the Boulder Cycling Club for their first monthly meeting. Featured guest speaker Scott Christopher of Bicycle Colorado, Colorado's largest cycling advocacy organization, for a discussion on the future of cycling in Boulder. Come find out ways to further enhance and improve the cycling atmosphere in Boulder.
    Plus, Scott's a great guy!

  11. #11
    cycling for 50 plus yrs colorado dale's Avatar
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    today there was a great interview with Dan Grunig exec director
    bicycle colorado

    on colorado public radio's colorado matters

    its a great example of what a professional high quality
    bicycle lobby organization BC is (the interview lasts for approx 10 min
    i felt some of the more profound statements were in the last 20% of the interview
    the interviewer asked how could spending $ on bicyclig help Dan hit a home run)
    go to
    http://www.kcfr.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=94
    look at Nov 25
    select CDOT Boosts Planning for Bikes and Pedestrians

  12. #12
    Live Deliberately. davidmcowan's Avatar
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    I happen to work there, so my position might be biased.

    Bicycle Colorado is an incredible organization that has done tons of advocacy/education work over the past 17 years here in Colorado. We have been heavily involved in bicycle related legislation (we employ a part time lobbyist), including pushing through the most recent Bicycle Safety Bill into law but also we are weighing in on things such as Cell Phone/Texting legislation and poised with our 7,000 individual members to make a stink or applaud depending on the nature of a bill. Another recent success was the result of a seven year effort to get CDOT to include a complete streets policy which they have now begun to work on implementation.This year we worked in collaboration with Bike Denver to rewrite the bicycle section of the Colorado Driver's Manual, it was completely retooled to reflect what to look for when encountering bicyclists, the most common crashes vehicles have with bicycles and why, as well as shine a more positive light on cyclists in general. We have a presence at events across the state and do our best to ensure that they happen safely and that every cyclist is better educated on how to operate their bicycle after finishing. We also have a trail building program that is ongoing which builds sustainable MTB trails (such as The Free Lunch Trail).

    I run our Education Department so we spend the majority of our year either writing grants for, or executing, Safe Routes to School programming across the state. We work with schools to get more students, parents, and staff walking and biking to school by teaching bicycle safety in PE classrooms, collaborating with the administration to run encouragement programs to get the students out and trying it, and with local law enforcement to help us raise awareness about students around schools. At the end of this school year we will have taught 25,000 students bicycle safety in a small classroom environment. In our "off season" we work with companies here through our Bicycle Commuter Services program essentially trying to get companies to do exactly what we are able to get schools to do through Education, Encouragement, Design, etc...

    This is the tip of the iceberg, I promise. Frankly, at the end of each year when we take a look at everything that has been accomplished and everything that still needs to be done and it is shocking to acknowledge that such a small staff has been such an integral part of "building a bicycle friendly colorado" but also humbling to know that there is so much more to be done.

    In short, yes, I think it is a worthy cause.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcowan View Post
    I happen to work there, so my position might be biased.

    Bicycle Colorado is an incredible organization that has done tons of advocacy/education work over the past 17 years here in Colorado. We have been heavily involved in bicycle related legislation (we employ a part time lobbyist), including pushing through the most recent Bicycle Safety Bill into law but also we are weighing in on things such as Cell Phone/Texting legislation and poised with our 7,000 individual members to make a stink or applaud depending on the nature of a bill. Another recent success was the result of a seven year effort to get CDOT to include a complete streets policy which they have now begun to work on implementation.This year we worked in collaboration with Bike Denver to rewrite the bicycle section of the Colorado Driver's Manual, it was completely retooled to reflect what to look for when encountering bicyclists, the most common crashes vehicles have with bicycles and why, as well as shine a more positive light on cyclists in general. We have a presence at events across the state and do our best to ensure that they happen safely and that every cyclist is better educated on how to operate their bicycle after finishing. We also have a trail building program that is ongoing which builds sustainable MTB trails (such as The Free Lunch Trail).

    I run our Education Department so we spend the majority of our year either writing grants for, or executing, Safe Routes to School programming across the state. We work with schools to get more students, parents, and staff walking and biking to school by teaching bicycle safety in PE classrooms, collaborating with the administration to run encouragement programs to get the students out and trying it, and with local law enforcement to help us raise awareness about students around schools. At the end of this school year we will have taught 25,000 students bicycle safety in a small classroom environment. In our "off season" we work with companies here through our Bicycle Commuter Services program essentially trying to get companies to do exactly what we are able to get schools to do through Education, Encouragement, Design, etc...

    This is the tip of the iceberg, I promise. Frankly, at the end of each year when we take a look at everything that has been accomplished and everything that still needs to be done and it is shocking to acknowledge that such a small staff has been such an integral part of "building a bicycle friendly colorado" but also humbling to know that there is so much more to be done.

    In short, yes, I think it is a worthy cause.
    Thanks Dave. Those are important programs. It's great how you guys helped with the driver's manual.

    I had no idea you guys had a trail building program. I've been meaning to ride that Free Lunch.

    Of course you understand there is actually no free lunch.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcowan View Post
    I happen to work there, so my position might be biased.

    Bicycle Colorado is an incredible organization that has done tons of advocacy/education work over the past 17 years here in Colorado. We have been heavily involved in bicycle related legislation (we employ a part time lobbyist), including pushing through the most recent Bicycle Safety Bill into law but also we are weighing in on things such as Cell Phone/Texting legislation and poised with our 7,000 individual members to make a stink or applaud depending on the nature of a bill. Another recent success was the result of a seven year effort to get CDOT to include a complete streets policy which they have now begun to work on implementation.This year we worked in collaboration with Bike Denver to rewrite the bicycle section of the Colorado Driver's Manual, it was completely retooled to reflect what to look for when encountering bicyclists, the most common crashes vehicles have with bicycles and why, as well as shine a more positive light on cyclists in general. We have a presence at events across the state and do our best to ensure that they happen safely and that every cyclist is better educated on how to operate their bicycle after finishing. We also have a trail building program that is ongoing which builds sustainable MTB trails (such as The Free Lunch Trail).

    I run our Education Department so we spend the majority of our year either writing grants for, or executing, Safe Routes to School programming across the state. We work with schools to get more students, parents, and staff walking and biking to school by teaching bicycle safety in PE classrooms, collaborating with the administration to run encouragement programs to get the students out and trying it, and with local law enforcement to help us raise awareness about students around schools. At the end of this school year we will have taught 25,000 students bicycle safety in a small classroom environment. In our "off season" we work with companies here through our Bicycle Commuter Services program essentially trying to get companies to do exactly what we are able to get schools to do through Education, Encouragement, Design, etc...

    This is the tip of the iceberg, I promise. Frankly, at the end of each year when we take a look at everything that has been accomplished and everything that still needs to be done and it is shocking to acknowledge that such a small staff has been such an integral part of "building a bicycle friendly colorado" but also humbling to know that there is so much more to be done.

    In short, yes, I think it is a worthy cause.
    Well, obviously I agree. That said, I think you should be a bit more forthcoming about the financial aspects of your programs. My understanding is that the educational programs are an income source for your organization. Certainly your getting paid to put them on does not diminish their value. But, it does put your particiaption in a different context that is more of a commercial sales and education company. You probably use the income for your mission so that is a plus.

  15. #15
    Live Deliberately. davidmcowan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Latitude65 View Post
    Well, obviously I agree. That said, I think you should be a bit more forthcoming about the financial aspects of your programs. My understanding is that the educational programs are an income source for your organization. Certainly your getting paid to put them on does not diminish their value. But, it does put your particiaption in a different context that is more of a commercial sales and education company. You probably use the income for your mission so that is a plus.
    Latitude,
    Bicycle Colorado continually writes grants to CDOT for Safe Routes to School programming with schools throughout the state. Sometimes those grants do pay BC enough to justify our two full time education staff, a van, its insurance, gas, bicycles, maintenance etc.. , our desk space, health insurance, phones, heat, and sometimes they don't. We do publish our financials to our membership base through our newsletter and I believe they are also available on our website.
    I'm not sure it is fair to compare us to a commercial sales and education company. We are a nonprofit with the mission of creating a more bicycle friendly Colorado. Unless we can get our membership numbers (7,000) closer to matching the actual number of cyclists in Colorado (1,000,000) we will find it quite difficult to find the financial wiggle room to pay for two full time education staff. (and I promise you that BC staff are not living high on the hog!) Like many nonprofits in Colorado, grant writing is essential to keeping the boat afloat.
    However, other states/cities have been able to use this funding to show the importance of this kind of programming and then create a more permanent stream of funds for educating students, parents, and teachers on the Safe Routes to School movement. Until we reach either of those two goals (higher membership or a dedicated funding stream) we do need to find a way to pay for this important programming throughout the state and currently that is with federally funded Safe Routes to School monies.
    This all said, your questions are good ones and a reminder to us here at BC that we need to be more transparent about where our money goes and how we use it to improve bicycling in Colorado. I hope that clears up any questions you might have had.
    Who knows? One day, maybe we’ll get a chance to ride together in these friendly Colorado conditions . 

  16. #16
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    I was really on Bicycle Colorado's side except for your moderate lack of transparency until the above post. Why, as I said, I even joined. But, this post presents the unsustainable position that Bicycle Colorado is performing services under contract where that contract doesn't cover costs. That seems to be a poor choice of resource allocation and while the cause is certainly just makes me wonder about mangement effectiveness and efficiency.

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