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Bikes Belong April '08 Newsletter
In this Issue:
  • Bikes Belong Produces Video on Paris' Short-Term Bike Rental System
  • Bike Brigade Planned for Democratic, Republican National Conventions
  • National Bike Summit Attendance Surpasses 500
  • Richard Fries Raising Funds for the Bikes Belong Foundation
  • Health Organizations Rally Behind the Bikes Belong Foundation
  • Bikes Belong Coalition Awards 160th Grant
  • Inaugural REI/Bicycle Friendly Communities Grants Announced
  • 2007 Annual Report Published
  • Bikes Belong Backing 2008 IMBA World Summit
  • Help Wanted: Research and Stats Coordinator
  • Facts & Stats

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    Bikes Belong Produces Video on Paris' Short-Term Bike Rental System

    Have you heard the buzz about the short-term bike rental systems that are rolling into cities worldwide? Bikes Belong is inspired by the potential for such systems in the U.S. To help spread the word, we created a video to showcase the popular Paris system, Vélib, which debuted in July 2007. Designed and created by outdoor advertising giant JCDecaux, the program includes 20,600 rental bikes at 1,451 stations throughout the city, providing an inexpensive, convenient way for people to use bikes for short trips.

    The response has been amazing. Parisians and visitors alike are using the bikes in huge numbers, racking up 13.4 million trips by mid-January—an average of 75,000 trips per day. A bike rental is free for the first 30 minutes, approximately $1.50 for the next half hour, and incrementally more expensive for longer periods. This tiered price structure makes the bikes appealing for short-term trips but discourages users from keeping them overnight, ensuring a ready supply throughout the city.

    The Paris program has revolutionized bicycling in the city. As word spreads of its success—and of other programs in Lyon, Barcelona, Vienna, and Berlin—cities worldwide are taking notice. Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Portland, Oregon, are just a few of the U.S. cities that are working to launch similar programs.

    Check out our Vélib video to see the bike system in action and learn more about how it works.

    Bike Brigade Planned for Democratic, Republican National Conventions

    Imagine a fleet of 1,000 bikes greeting delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Denver August 25-28. Picture the same sight one week later at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Attendees can check out and use the bikes for free as they move around the city during their stay.

    This is our vision. We see a tremendous opportunity to bring the bike-partisan message of bicycling to convention delegates, the worldwide media, and the presidential candidates. Bikes Belong is partnering on this project with our member companies and with Humana, one of the nation's largest healthcare insurers. While we are still working on logistics—including bike station locations and insurance—we are determined to showcase bike-sharing systems and affirm the value of bicycling as an easy, convenient transportation option.

    National Bike Summit Attendance Surpasses 500

    The 2008 National Bike Summit, held March 4-7 in Washington, D.C., was the best one yet. This annual event is organized by the League of American Bicyclists with top sponsorship from Bikes Belong. This year, a record number of suppliers, retailers, advocates, and our partners rallied in our nation's capital in an unprecedented show of strength, unity, and professionalism.

    2008 National Bike Summit snapshot:

    • The highest attendance ever, with more than 500 participants
    • Record industry involvement, with 145 industry representatives, including 12 Bikes Belong board members
    • 290 Congressional meetings
    • A successful BikesPAC fundraiser, attended by three U.S. senators and one U.S. representative
    • High-level IMBA sponsorship and participation
    • Introduction of a bill to support an ambitious national bicycling strategy
    • Announcement of a Capitol Hill bike-sharing program to be launched by May

    Bikes Belong is lead sponsor of the National Bike Summit because we believe it is crucial to the future of our industry. We're aiming for 1,000 attendees at next year's summit. Please join us in March 2009 to campaign for bicycling.

    Learn more.

    Richard Fries Raising Funds for the Bikes Belong Foundation

    Richard Fries, a highly respected journalist, marketer, and ambassador for cycling, joined the Bikes Belong team in January as a professional advisor and fundraiser for the Bikes Belong Foundation.

    A resident of Lexington, Massachusetts, Fries is well-known as one of U.S. cycling's most accomplished writers. He is a veteran race announcer and television commentator. He has published Bike Culture Magazine (formerly The Ride) since 1993. He served as the Marketing Director of Pedro's USA before taking over as Marketing Director for the Audi Best Buddies Challenge rides, which raise funds to help citizens with intellectual disabilities.

    Fries is helping the Bikes Belong Foundation develop new support for its efforts to get children riding bikes (primarily through the Safe Routes to School program). He's also focusing on projects that promote safe bicycling by fostering mutual respect among motorists and cyclists.

    The Bikes Belong Foundation, which launched in the summer of 2006, focuses on children's bicycle programs and bicycle safety. It is the sister organization to the Bikes Belong Coalition.

    Read more about the foundation.

    Health Organizations Rally Behind the Bikes Belong Foundation

    Our nation faces a huge health crisis. By 2015, 75 percent of U.S. adults and 24 percent of U.S. children are expected to be overweight or obese.

    An increasing number of healthcare companies, foundations, and innovative corporations have realized that bicycling is a solution. They're joining the bike industry in funding the Bikes Belong Foundation, our 501c3 arm that backs the Safe Routes to School National Partnership and other bike safety efforts.

    Here's a current list of Bikes Belong Foundation supporters:

    • Bikes Belong Coalition
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    • Harvest Foundation
    • Humana
    • Kaiser Permanente
    • REI
    • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
    • SRAM

    For years, the bike industry has promoted the important role of bicycling in reducing obesity, road congestion, and air pollution. Now we're gaining powerful, mainstream support. Contributions from non-endemic corporations, foundations, and individuals boost our efforts to create safe places to ride and inspire more people to bike.

    Bikes Belong members now have new partners in promoting bicycling for health.

    To learn more or make a personal, tax-deductible donation, visit bikesbelong.org/foundation.

    Bikes Belong Coalition Awards 160th Grant

    In January, Bikes Belong announced six new grant awards, bringing our total to 160 projects supported by Bikes Belong members since 1999. The latest awards back efforts to encourage people to ride their bikes more often and make communities safer, healthier, and more enjoyable places to live.

    January 2008 Grant Awards

    • Greater Houston Off-Road Biking Association - Double Lake Recreation Area Trail Expansion (Texas)
    • Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association - Blankets Creek Trail Expansion (Georgia)
    • Whatcom Council of Governments - Coast Millennium Trail Link (Washington)
    • Centerville-Washington Park District - Iron Horse Trail (Ohio)
    • Trails and Open Space Coalition - Pikes Peak Greenway/South Tejon Street Connector (Colorado)
    • Yukon BMX Parents and Riders Association - Track and Trail Enhancements (Oklahoma)

    Our spring grant awards are currently being reviewed and will be announced in early May. The next deadline for applications is May 26.

    Learn more.

    Inaugural REI/Bicycle Friendly Communities Grants Announced

    New York City's Transportation Alternatives and the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation were selected as the first recipients of REI/Bicycle Friendly Communities Grants of $15,000 each. This new grant fund, administered by the Bikes Belong Foundation and made possible by generous support from Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI), helps aspiring, committed Bicycle Friendly Communities become great places to ride.

    Transportation Alternatives (TA) is using the award to support a comprehensive citywide bike parking initiative. The effort aims to increase bike transportation in New York by giving cyclists safe, convenient places to park and store their bicycles.

    Chicagoland Bicycle Federation is using their funding to produce the first of a series of Sunday Parkways events in Chicago. By setting aside weekend times for traffic-free biking on select streets, Sunday Parkways promises to dramatically increase ridership in the city of Chicago and create a program that can be replicated in other cities.

    The REI Bicycle Friendly Communities Grant Program is a collaborative effort of REI, the Bikes Belong Foundation, and the League of American Bicyclists. The program invites advocacy organizations and city planning departments in League-designated Bicycle Friendly Communities (BFC) to apply for funding that will help them reach specific BFC goals.

    Learn more about the REI/Bicycle Friendly Communities Grants Program.

    2007 Annual Report Published

    Bikes Belong has just published its 2007 Annual Report, offering a comprehensive look at all of our projects and grants last year. The 32-page, full-color booklet was mailed to our members March 21.

    2007 was a great year for Bikes Belong. We:

    • Contributed more than $530,000 in direct cash support to national, state, and local bicycle programs and projects.
    • Awarded 22 community grants in 20 U.S. states.
    • Strengthened our relationships with key members of Congress.
    • Launched a nationwide ad campaign to motivate more Americans to ride bikes.
    • Sponsored three of the year's most important national bicycle advocacy events.
    • Funded research projects to collect important bicycling data.
    • Supported the Safe Routes to School National Partnership as it grew to more than 300 organizations.
    • Broadened non-endemic support of the Bikes Belong Foundation, securing several new sponsors from the healthcare community.
    • Developed a new website to provide better information about our efforts and resources to help people improve bicycling in their communities.

    Bikes Belong membership dollars make this important work possible.

    Download the annual report.

    Bikes Belong Backing 2008 IMBA World Summit

    Bikes Belong is a major sponsor of the International Mountain Bicycling Association's 2008 summit. Mountain biking enthusiasts from around the globe will gather in Park City, Utah, June 18-21 for the 2008 IMBA World Summit.

    This strategic gathering will bring together mountain biking advocates, land managers, ski resort professionals, trailbuilders, park and urban planners, tourism officials, and the bike industry for collaboration, planning, and celebration. It's an opportunity to share ideas and help shape a global strategy for mountain biking.

    Learn more and register.

    Help Wanted: Research and Stats Coordinator

    Bikes Belong is seeking a Research & Statistics Coordinator to join our dynamic team. This person will help bolster our Bikes Belong Coalition and Bikes Belong Foundation efforts by gathering and distilling research and statistics that convey and affirm the many benefits of bicycling as well as the importance of bike safety. We need compelling numbers and quality research to "make our case" on Capitol Hill and beyond, and we're looking for a qualified, enthusiastic staff member to tackle this task.

    Read the complete job description.

    Facts & Stats

    The more bicyclists on the road, the safer it is to ride.

    In a 2003 report, Peter Jacobsen determined that as the number of cyclists increases, cycling fatalities decrease.

    He studied communities in California, Denmark, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and other European countries, with consistent results.

    Read Peter Jacobsen's report: Safety in numbers

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    Bikes Belong Coalition | P.O. Box 2359 | Boulder | CO | 80306 | 303/449-4893