Category Archives: Advocacy

Aaron Naparstek: the Evolution of an Advocate from Honku to StreetsBlog and Beyond (Part 2)

aaronnaperstekfamily
Aaron and family. Photo by Clarence Eckerson via StreetFilms.org.

In the past decade, New York City has seen a remarkable transformation from one of America’s worst bike cities to one of its most progressive. Like any political movement, the change was a confluence of many, many factors. And Aaron Naparstek seems to have had his hands in a whole lot of them. From Honku–a neighborhood campaign centered on haiku about traffic–to work with Transportation Alternatives to founding StreetsBlog, he has played an important role in New York City’s evolution towards walkable, bikeable, livable streets.

In part one of this far-reaching interview, Aaron discussed his current work as a MIT Visiting Scholar and his recent Loeb Fellowship at Harvard, his roots in neighborhood activism and streets advocacy, and the foundation and growth of StreetsBlog, an influential advocacy journalism outlet in the livable streets movement. Part two continues with our discussion of pivotal moments in the history of New York City’s bike advocacy, the work necessary to continue its growth as a bike-friendly place, and the successes and shortcomings of modern American bike advocacy at large.

Continue reading

Aaron Naparstek: the Evolution of an Advocate from Honku to StreetsBlog and Beyond (Part 1)

aaron-naparstek-bike-lane
Aaron and his son in the controversial Prospect Park bike lane. Photo from naparstek.com.

In the past decade, New York City has seen a remarkable transformation from one of America’s worst bike cities to one of its most progressive. Like any political movement, the change was a confluence of many, many factors. And Aaron Naparstek seems to have his hands in a whole lot of them. From Honku–a neighborhood campaign centered on haiku about traffic–to work with Transportation Alternatives to founding StreetsBlog, he has played an important role in New York City’s evolution towards walkable, bikeable, livable streets.

In part one of this far-reaching interview, Aaron discusses his current work as a MIT Visiting Scholar and his recent Loeb Fellowship at Harvard, his roots in neighborhood activism and streets advocacy, and the foundation and growth of StreetsBlog, an influential advocacy journalism outlet in the livable streets movement. Part two continues next week with our discussion of pivotal moments in the history of New York City’s bike advocacy, the work necessary to continue its growth as a bike-friendly place, and the successes and shortcomings of modern American bike advocacy at large.

Continue reading

Nelle Pierson: Innovations in Advocacy to get more Women on Bikes

6884145942_0ca4fa3395_b
Nelle Pierson at the 2012 National Bicycle Summit. Photo from the League of American Bicyclists.

Washington Area Bicycle Association (WABA) Outreach Coordinator Nelle Pierson is only in her mid-20s, but she’s already making a big impact in the bike advocacy world. The Alliance for Walking and Biking named her Advocate of the Year at the 2014 National Bicycle Summit. Bicycling Magazine recently listed her as one of 14 bike advocacy innovators. This is in large part thanks to the work she’s doing with WABA’s Women & Bicycles Program, which she launched and continues to spearhead. Through it, Pierson is working to get more women on bikes and help narrow the pervasive bicycling gender gap. We discussed her work with WABA and the Women & Bicycles Program, her quick rise in the advocacy world, her long history with bikes, and some of the underlying issues of the gender gap.

Continue reading

Martina Brimmer: Swift Industries and the Empowerment of Adventures by Bike

Bike Portraits
Photo courtesy of Martina.

Martina Brimmer is the force behind Seattle-based pannier and bag company Swift Industries. She’s also a dedicated bike tourist, adventurer, writer (she is a co-contributor, along with me, to the forthcoming bike touring guide Cycling Sojourner Washington), teacher and more. She and her partner, Jason Goodman, launched Swift Industries out of their home in 2008. It’s now a full-fledged business with full time employees and customers worldwide. I sat down with Martina in the Swift studio to talk about the challenges, successes, and growth of the company, her bike adventuring, her literary project Tough and Tender, and much more.

Continue reading

Mary Gersemalina: Coffeeneuring, Community, and Some Seriously Long Rides

CMB Photo by Felkerino
Photo by Ed Felkerino.

From policy wonks working to effect change to trail builders giving mountain bikers a place to ride to a cyclist helping a friend buy a bike; advocacy comes in many forms. Mary Gersemalina’s version of bike advocacy falls somewhere on that spectrum with a marriage of coffee and cycling. Mary created coffeeneuring, a formalized coffee shop ride series that plays on the rigid rules of randonneuring (Mary is also an accomplished randonneur). Though the whole thing may sound a little odd at first blush, coffeeneuring is catching on and getting people out on their bikes and last year expanded to include participants in Canada, Europe, and Australia. Mary and her husband, Ed Felkerino, are also behind Washington DC’s Friday Coffee Club, a weekly, pre-work event that encourages DC’s bike commuters to stop and get to know one another.

In this interview, Mary discusses her inspiration for coffeeneuring and its quick growth, the impact of Friday Coffee Club, the attraction of 750 mile bike rides, her randonneuring adventures in the US and abroad, and more.

Continue reading