A question I get from my bike riding buddies all the time is: why do you lead bike rides in Arvada? Of course the answer to that is multi-dimensional and probably a lot more complicated than this blog deserves, so I’ll keep it short.
The reason I, as well as all other ride leaders lead bike rides in Arvada, is because our Community Bike Ride program builds community.
Each weekend folks from all walks of life gather around our Bike Friendly Arvada flag in preparation for a bicycle ride. Many of these people haven’t been on a bike in a long some. Some are people in search of a little exercise while others are just looking to enjoy the outdoors. Many are children who are excited to get out on a ride with other kids. While still others are eager to learn how to navigate the amazing 230+ mile bike trail/road network we have in Arvada, getting to know a part of town they wouldn’t otherwise have reason to explore.
But one thing they all expect and come prepared to do is to have fun. And I can safely say our Community Bike Ride program always delivers on that point.
What folks aren’t expecting is the camaraderie that is build between the riders.
People have a chance to chat and get to know one another before the ride begins, during the ride itself and after the ride is over. What’s more, the teamwork that’s involved during the ride (using hand signals to let the riders behind know turns, stops, obstacles, etc) creates a reliance on each other and therefor the beginnings of a bond between riders.
I see this play out on every ride I lead. Everyone is a little shy as we gather by the flag but by ride’s end the banter amongst riders is palpable — it’s clear acquaintances have been made. Of course as the year rolls on, those who ride frequently — people from all corners of Arvada, from different neighborhoods and socio-economic backgrounds, from different age groups and fitness levels — reconnect with others and begin building true friendships. And in all likelihood, these friendships wouldn’t otherwise exist if it weren’t for the Community Bike Ride program.
So that’s why I like to lead bike rides in Arvada. I hope you’ll come join us for one of our rides.
There is a plethora of data out there that supports something we, as cyclists, have known all along…there is a HUGE economic upside to cities and businesses who add more cycling-friendly infrastructure. It’s like they said in Field of Dreams: “Build it and they will come.”
From converting car parking to bicycle parking to Team Better Block creating temporary overnight infrastructure…from reviving a worn-down part of town (Memphis) to Chicago’s use of cycling amenities to recruit young, professional talent to the windy city…all across the country business owners are finally grasping the economic advantages of a bike friendly world.
There’s no reason why we can’t experience the same things here in Arvada! Stay tuned for some exciting development on this front…!
Welcome to the Bike Friendly Arvada blog!
Just about two years ago, a small group of people gathered at the Arvada Beer Company to discuss creating a working group that would advocate for better, safer bicycling in the city. The group included members of Arvada city staff, local bike advocates, and members of other city committees — generally people who believe in taking an active role in making our community better. This group became the Arvada Bicycle Advisory Committee, or ABAC for short.
We didn’t have much of an agenda. And we had no real idea of what we wanted to do or accomplish. Nevertheless, that very night we set out on a mission — a mission not just to bring about better and safer cycling infrastructure but to find ways to promote cycling as a fun activity to ALL of our fellow Arvadans and to encourage as many people as possible to get reacquainted with their bikes again.
The very first thing we decided to do was create a Community Bike Ride program. The idea was that, by setting up, promoting and leading a bike ride, we would encourage people to overcome their hesitations and come out and ride with us. We’d use these rides to share our knowledge of how to ride safely, to show people the amazing trail and on-road bicycling system the city has, and to help build greater connections within the community.
So, that first year we set out to lead one community ride each month, from April to September. During our second year (last year) we doubled down and organized two ride dates each month.
This year we’re upping the ante even more — we’ll be leading rides every weekend from April through October (with the exceptions of the holiday weekends of Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day).
In addition to just adding more rides, our Community Ride goals for 2015 are fairly simple:
We’re hoping our website (www.BikeFriendlyArvada.org) will go a long way in helping us achieve those goals while also giving the community a place to go for all things bicycling in Arvada.
We have a lot on our agenda for the year with lots to do. So if you’re interested in advancing cycling within the city of Arvada, we’d love to have you help us make a difference. Just shoot an email with your contact information to BikeFriendlyArvada@gmail.com, and we’ll get back to you.
Until next time.