Tag Archives: bike advocacy

Tim Blumenthal: The National Fight for People Who Bike

Bikes Belong Staff Portraits
PeopleForBikes President Tim Blumenthal. Photo courtesy PeopleForBikes

Bike advocacy is a sweeping term that captures a huge array of work. Fighting for better bike infrastructure on neighborhood streets, building new mountain bike trails, organizing charity rides, lobbying elected officials and many other things fit under that rather large umbrella of advocacy. Some might see that diversity of advocacy issues as a problem–that lots of sub-interests competing for limited funding and public attention will curb success for all. PeopleForBikes sees that variety as a boon to bicycling in America. The national advocacy organization helps fund everything from protected bike lanes to mountain bike parks; lobbies government agencies and elected officials; partners with professional cycling teams; provides grant funding; organizes their own charity ride; and much more. They’re guided by the basic principle that the more people ride, the better bicycling will be for everyone, regardless of what type of riding they do.

With over three decades of work in advocacy and bike racing, PeopleForBikes President Tim Blumenthal is a fitting leader. He got his start as a cycling journalist for publications such as VeloNews and Bicycling, worked with NBC on cycling coverage for seven Olympics, and spent 11 years at the helm of the International Mountain Bike Association before joining PeopleForBikes. I spoke to Blumenthal about PeopleForBikes’ work, his career in the cycling world, the value of combining cycling-as-sport and cycling-as-transportation in advocacy work, the strengths and shortcomings of American bike advocacy, and more.

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The All-Powerful Bicycle Lobby: Conspiracy, Control, and a 1% Mode Share

Some say David Byrne is the leader of the All-Powerful Bicycle Lobby. Others say he’s just a pawn in their game.

Little is known about the All-Powerful Bicycle Lobby (APBL). In fact, until the Wall Street Journal’s Dorothy Rabinowitz made a video last Spring lamenting the APBL’s efforts to “begrime” New York City with Citi Bikes, few people (if any) knew that the group existed. Exactly who they are and the extent to which they influence the world’s affairs remains unclear. But, I had the rare opportunity to interview the APBL and help shed light on their dark conspiracy. In it we discuss their history, their slow and steady reshaping of the free world, their end game, and much more.

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Adonia Lugo: Race, Class, and Bicycling in America

Caption:  Adonia Lugo, a UC Irvine doctoral candidate in anthropology, has dedicated much of her academic and personal life to alternative transportation; everyday, she uses a combination of buses, trains, and bicycling to commute to Irvine from Los Angel
Photo via undergraduatestudies.ss.uci.edu

If you were asked right now to imagine a bike commuter, who would you picture? For most of you, it’s probably of a white man (who’s probably in bike shorts and a neon jacket) enroute to his middle or upper-middle class office job. It’s a reasonable image to have. A 2009 report found that 79 percent of trips by bike in the US were taken by white people and 73 percent of all those trips were done by men. But those same studies show that people of color accounted for about 21 percent of trips and 31 percent of trips were taken by people in the lowest quartile income bracket.

The sometimes-overlooked fact that biking is not just for well-to-do white guys is central to the work Adonia Lugo does as a bike advocate, activist, and anthropologist. She co-founded Los Angeles’ CicLAvia and Ciudad de Luces, an outreach project with day laborer bicyclists. After moving moved to Seattle in 2011 to complete her dissertation, she started the Seattle Bike Justice Project, an ethnographic project focused on bicycling and Seattle’s communities of color. We recently sat down to discuss her Bike Justice Project, equity in bicycling, the sometimes-narrow focus of American bike advocates, her own activism, and much more.

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Ted King: Racing with the PROs, Advocating for Bikes

Photos via Ted’s blog. 

Ted King’s cycling star is on the rise. The New England native was the top ranked domestic professional in the United States in 2008 when he was tapped to join Cervelo TestTeam and headed to Europe to race in the pro peloton. Now he’s racing for Liquigas Cannondale, competing in some of the biggest one-day and stage races in the world. I interviewed Ted by email as he wrapped up at the Tour of Utah. We discussed his start in cycling, the challenges of Europe, his environmental and bike advocacy, and more.

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Noah Budnick: New York’s Tireless Alt-Transportation Advocate, Part 2

Photo by Elly Blue.

Noah Budnick is Deputy Director of Transportation Alternatives, a New York City bicycling, walking, and public transit advocacy group. TransAlt is regarded as one of the leading-edge transportation advocacy groups in the United States and Noah is right in the mix organizing and educating New York residents, pushing for policy and infrastructure reform, and more. Part one of this two-part interview covered Noah’s personal attraction to cycling, views on transportation options, and more. Part two picks up with New York City’s major bike infrastructure overhaul and its impact on ridership, how to increasing biking nationwide, and the anti-bike federal transportation bill.

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