Year of the Bicycle
Boone Area Cyclists (BAC) has proclaimed 2011 as the Year of
the Bicycle in Boone.
Committed to developing, coordinating, and promoting safe and accessible bicycling opportunities throughout the Boone area, BAC has wrapped up 2010 having made a number of strides, including its designation as a non-profit organization.
2011 promises to be an active year for the organization as the Rocky Knob Mountain Bicycle Park moves closer to its official opening and new initiatives are introduced, including the High Country Safe Streets Pledge and Share Your Bicycle Story program, bicycle corrals at local events, and an awards program to recognize bicycle friendly businesses and organizations.
The High Country Safe Streets Pledge supports the idea that a community, which embraces all modes of transportation, is a friendlier, safer and healthier community. The pledge acknowledges the ever increasing multi-modal nature of transportation networks and asks all users to promote safety and generate goodwill.
"We all share the same roads," BAC president Paul Stahlschmidt said. "The big message is one of cooperation." You can add your name to the growing numbers of people supporting efforts to increase safe and accessible biking in Boone by visiting http://www.booneareacyclists.com/safe-streets-pledge.
Boone Area Cyclists will also launch the Share Your Bicycle Story project in 2011.
"The idea is to start a conversation in the High Country about the role the bicycle can and does play in our daily lives" said Andrew Miller, chairman of the BAC Advocacy Committee. "We want to highlight stories about people in our community from the family that rides on weekends at the Greenway to people using their bicycle to commute to work and everything in between."
Once announced, individuals can go to the BAC website and share their bicycle story, upload videos and share their favorite pictures.
Bicycle corrals have been gaining popularity from Asheville to Anaheim, and BAC will begin sponsoring bicycle corrals at various events around Boone. A bicycle corral allows riders to reach a destination and leave their bicycle in a secure location. No need to bring a lock or to find a place to lock your bicycle.
Volunteers from BAC will staff the corrals and can share information about Boone's bicycle culture, ongoing bicycle initiatives and safe riding habits.
"The best part of bicycle corrals is that they bring people together to socialize, learn and have some fun," Miller said. "There are a very limited number of places to lock your bicycle in and around Boone, and we hope that this will remove one of the barriers people face when making the decision to get on a bicycle and leave their car behind."
There is no cost for the bicycle corrals, and the first ones will start popping up at local events this summer.
In the second half of 2011, BAC will shift its attention to businesses and organizations throughout the High Country and incentives to support bicycling. The bicycle-friendly business awards will recognize leaders in the community promoting safe cycling by employees and/or customers.
"Half of all trips made in the U.S. each year have a destination within 2 miles," Miller said. "This has very strong implications for the role of bicycles as we try to address congestion, air quality and the health and well being of our community. Businesses and organizations have a unique opportunity to influence and provide incentives to employees and/or customers and we want to make sure any efforts supporting cycling are recognized."
Area businesses and organizations will be encouraged to submit an application for recognition in one of three successive categories. Winners of the inaugural Boone Bicycle Friendly awards will be announced at the annual Boone Area Cyclists Holiday Party in December.
"BAC is a non-profit organization with a mission of safety and education ...so these initiatives define who we are and how we hope to contribute to the community," Stahlschmidt said.
Boone Area Cyclists is a membership organization for people of all ages, abilities and styles of bicycle riding. To learn more about BAC, visit http://www.booneareacyclists.com and join BAC at its annual membership meeting on Thursday, Feb. 24, at 6 p.m. in the Councill Auditorium at Watauga Medical Center. All are welcome.