Bodies and Brains Needed

19 Apr
Image from buffbroad.wordpress.com

Image from buffbroad.wordpress.com

 

As mentioned in a couple of recent posts, the month of May is going to see a lot of bicycling action in Richmond.  Two of the biggest events are the Cap2Cap ride, which benefits the Virginia Capital Trail, and the Cap Tech Collegiate National Championships, which is serving as a kind of test-run for the UCI World Championships coming in October 2015.

The success of both events depends a lot on the help of volunteers, and both are looking for some additional bodies and brains to help things run smoothly.

Check out the calls for volunteers and links below.

Cap2Cap

Our volunteers are consistently rated among the best aspects of the event—please sign up online if you’d like to be a part of this incredible day!  

Volunteers receive a free T-shirt and a lot of appreciation from grateful riders and VCTF staff.

Click here for possible volunteer roles and other information, and to volunteer for the Cap2Cap ride.

National Collegiate Championships

Calling All Volunteers! Richmond 2015 needs you to make the 2014 USA Cycling National Collegiate Championships a huge success!  Richmond 2015 is seeking committed individuals to serve as course marshals during the USA Cycling Collegiate Road Nationals Friday, May 2nd, Saturday, May 3rd and Sunday, May 4th, 2014.  The course marshal role is considered to be the “best seat in the house” as they’re literally on the race route, assisting race organizers with crowd control and traffic safety as the racers speed by.
 
Each volunteer will receive a volunteer t-shirt to commemorate the event, snacks and drink during their shift and a 15% discount code to use on Richmond 2015 merchandise.  In addition, if you volunteer for 2014, Richmond 2015 will set you up with your first choice of volunteer role for the 2015 World Championships when the best men and women cyclists, from all over the world, race through the streets of the Richmond region.
To register, click here. If you have questions, send them to volunteer@richmond2015.com or call 804-788-5820.

 

Bike Walk Talk Comes to Northside

14 Apr

bike-walk-rva-newsletter-banner

A few months ago Bike Walk RVA initiated a series of informal neighborhood gatherings called Bike Walk Talk.  I’m happy to see this effort to reach out to people where they live and get people talking about making every part of Richmond more walkable and bikeable.

Next neighborhood on the list is Northside, this coming Thursday:

After two successful events in the Bike Walk Talk series thus far, Bike Walk RVA is bringing it to Northside next week! Bring a friend and join us at Stir Crazy (4015 MacArthur Ave) from 5:30-7 p.m. on Thursday, April 17, for an informal happy hour to discuss Northside’s needs for safe and convenient access for bikes and pedestrians!

We don’t have a stuffy formal agenda. We just want to meet you to talk about Bike Walk RVA and to hear about Northside’s needs. Let’s meet each other, too, and enjoy some food and drinks (Stir Crazy has coffee, beer, wine, and more).

Click here to RSVP.

Hope to see you there!

Bike Tour of Northside Tomorrow 4/12

12 Apr

The American Institute of Architects is sponsoring an architectural tour of Ginter Park and other part s of the north side of Richmond, to be led by Tyler Potterfield, author of Nonesuch Place: A History of the Richmond Landscape and planner with the city.  Tyler knows an awful lot about Richmond, so the ride is sure to be informative and fun.

Meet at the quadrangle behind Union Theological Seminary, 3401 Brook Road, at 1:30 pm.  The tour will last about 2.5 hours.

Bike Month Meeting – Location Change

10 Apr

Just in case you planned to attend tomorrow’s (April 10) meeting/party to gear up for Bike Month, but might not catch the update, the meeting has been moved to Richmond Bicycle Studio (also headquarters of Richmond Cycling Corps) at 1717 Summit Avenue in Scott’s Addition.  Still 6 pm, still food and fun to be had, and bring your ideas for Bike Month events!

How Could I Forget?

9 Apr
Cap2Cap

Image from the Virginia Capital Trail Foundation.

My last post had a big, now glaring hole in it.  In listing the cycling events already planned for May I completely blanked on the Cap2Cap ride (May 10), which benefits the Virginia Capital Trail Foundation.  There are a number of ride options, and you can start in Richmond or Williamsburg.

Bike Month from the Ground Up

With that said, it would still be really great to have some smaller events in Richmond for Bike Month.  We’re hoping to make this Bike Month a real grass roots effort.  No experience or funds necessary — just willingness to get some people together and ride for fun.  If you’re interested in helping out, come to Sports Backers (next to the Diamond) tomorrow evening March 10 for some discussion/socializing starting at 6 pm.

Infrastructure Funding Update

Michael Paul Williams joined the chorus a few days ago in the RTD calling for dedicated bicycle infrastructure funding, as did Richmond Outside.  The Greater Richmond Bicycle Coalition has also sent a letter to city council members calling for them to ensure that bicycle infrastructure received adequate funding in this last city budget before the 2015 championships.  GRBC also has a link you can use to send a message yourself if you haven’t done so already: click here.

The GRBC alert reads as follows:

Now is the chance to make a real, on-the-ground improvement for bike riders in your community. In order to build the network of bikeways Richmond needs, City Council needs to:

  • Allocate $3 million in the FY 2015 budget to fund it
  • Not rely on federal grants, which cannot be guaranteed in this time of urgency
  • Allocate $3.5 million for the Brown’s Island Dam Walk component of the Riverfront Development Plan for a safe and convenient crossing of the James River

 

Help Make Bike Month 2014 the Best Ever

2 Apr

 

Kidical Mass ride in Tuscon, AZ.  From livingstreetsalliance.org.

Kidical Mass ride in Tuscon, AZ. From livingstreetsalliance.org.

It may be hard to believe since you probably just climbed back onto your bicycle after a winter that seemed to have no end, but Bike Month is just a few weeks away — May, to be precise.  Some fun stuff is already planned: the USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships are coming May 2-4 and they will be trying out the routes to be used for the World Championships in 2015.  Dominion River Rock, which includes an Urban Assault Mountain Bike Race, is May 16-18.

But how about some events where us regular schlubs can ride too?  That’s where you come in.  The folks at Bike Walk RVA are working to make the 2014 Bike Month in Richmond fun for everyone — by trying to get all of us to pitch in and organize a bunch of small, fun events all over Richmond that will get people out on bicycles:

We want events for kids. Breakfast rides. Rides to ice cream with your coworkers. Every week in neighborhoods throughout the region. Grab your bike and some neighbors, and start a bike party train!

I’m ready for a bike party in Richmond.  Some Baltimore folks have been doing one for a while (see their Facebook page here).  All you need is a boom box and a theme, and some people interested in having a good time.  (Actually all you really need is bicycles and people who feel like riding together).

I, for one, am planning a “kidical mass” in my northside neighborhood.  I’m tempted by the idea of a donut tour a bit like the pizza ride that Carytown Bicycle Company does every year too, but maybe someone else would like to plan that?  Whatever you’d like to do, the Bike Walk guys want to help you make it happen.  Let’s shoot for a full calendar for Bike Month!

If you’re interested in getting involved, join us:

Date: Thursday, April 10
Time: 6 to 7 PM (with socializing after)
Location: Sports Backers Stadium, 2nd Floor (100 Avenue of Champions, Richmond)

And please RSVP.  Hope to see you there!

 

Where’s the $$$?

26 Mar
A new bike lane in Memphis, TN, formerly known as one of the worst U.S. cities for cyclists.

A new bike lane in Memphis, TN, formerly known as one of the worst U.S. cities for cyclists. From Memphis Flyer.

It’s budget season in RVA.  The Mayor recently released his proposed budget, and those of us still waiting to see some real action on bike infrastructure are uneasy.  This is the last opportunity to ensure we have a least a few bike lanes in place before the UCI world Championships in October 2015.

Check here for a quick way via Bike Walk RVA to let your representative on city council — which will make adjustments to the budget — know that we need specific, dedicated funding for bike projects.  Read below for reasons you might want to do so.

$100K for Bike Lanes?

Richmond.com’s Phil Riggan raised the reg flag on Tuesday: the Mayor’s proposed 2015 budget sets aside only $100,000 specifically for on-street bicycle infrastructure (along with an additional $50K for more racks).

For most of us that amount of money sounds like a lot, but even considering how cheap bike infrastructure is compared to roads, it’s peanuts.  By way of comparison, the RTD recently reported that the state has spent $300 million on a new Route 460 to connect Petersburg and Suffolk — without a single bit of dirt being moved and without the required permits having been obtained.  The project has now been put on hold.

A bit closer to home, according to a follow-up on Richmond.com published today, the budget also includes $972,000 that is likely there to pay for yet another bridge to Brown’s Island.  I’m not in a position to judge whether that bridge is really needed, but it’s not what we most need when it comes to bicycle infrastructure.

Need for Transparency and Signs of Commitment

That “likely” points to a big problem with the Mayor’s budget that came up recently in concerns that it also does not include funding for the Brown’s Island Dam Walk: the way the budget is presented to the public is far from transparent.  Mayor Jones admitted as much in a statement responding to concerns about his dedication to completing the Dam Walk.

Similarly, the Mayor’s responses to Riggan’s questions in the follow-up piece don’t provide much more clarity or inspire great confidence.  It’s great for the mayor to verbally affirm his commitment to these projects, but those words need to be backed up by specific commitments of funding.

More specifically, the items listed by the Mayor’s spokesperson Tammy Hawley include a number a line items labeled “Pedestrians, Bikes, and Trails Services” but do not specify what they are for — and they still don’t add up to much.  Given that there is a line item for bike lanes elsewhere (the $100K), it’s hard to feel assured that these other funds will be available for bike lanes in particular.  If that’s what they’re really for, why not put them with the $100K.

Some money for bike lane striping may also be embedded in budget items for street repaving and similar things, but that is not the same as making clear that these projects are going to happen.  And while it’s true that the Bicycle Master Plan is unfortunately not yet complete, it’s been clear for some time that the city would need to move forward quickly with some bike lane projects if they are going to be complete by 2015, with or without the plan.

Let’s Be Sure

Given the importance of this last (really first) push to get some real bike lanes in place before millions of people see how bicycle-friendly Richmond is in 2015, we need more than just vague assurances.  Show us the money!  Click here to let your council rep know you support dedicated funding for bike lanes!

 

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