The Online Voice of the Bicycle Alliance of Washington

Monday, April 30, 2012

Desk Space for Rent in Pioneer Square

Looking for desk space near downtown Seattle?

Join a vibrant and lively community of active transportation advocates!  The Bicycle Alliance of Washington has desk space for rent in the historic Nord Building in Pioneer Square.  The $400 rent includes IP connection, copier, wi-fi, complimentary espresso and easy access to a bike shop.  Contact Barbara Culp for more information or to arrange to view the space.

May Bike Rides

All things bicycle seem to be happening in May…the National Bike Challenge kicks off, communities around Washington are holding Bike to Work events, and May 9 is the first ever National Bike to School Day.
Bike riding season is in full swing and there are five May rides that support the Bicycle Alliance’s work to grow bicycling statewide:

May Day Metric rest stop.  Photo by Louise Kornreich
The Vancouver Bicycle Club presents Ride Around Clark County on May 5.  RACC offers four beautiful and challenging route options through scenic Clark County.  Kids under 12 ride free.

The May Day Metric, presented by Phil’s South Side Cyclery on May 6, offers three challenging routes that travel the back roads, byways and bike trails of the South Sound region.  Distances range from 50, 72 and 104 miles.

Looking for a ride east of the Cascade crest?  How about the Group Health Inland Empire Century on May 12?  Routes skirt the Columbia and Yakima rivers, through parks and over bridges, and return through the Horse Heaven Hills.  This ride is organized by the Kiwanis Clubs of Columbia and Tri-Cities Industry.

The Skagit Bicycle Club presents the Skagit Spring Classic, also on May 12.  This ride offers routes through scenic northern Skagit and southern Whatcom Counties, and features an all-you-can-eat pasta feed at the end of the ride.

Joint the Port Townsend Bicycle Association for the Rhody Bike Tour on May 13.  There are five routes to choose from—including a family-friendly trail ride.  The longer routes sample the varied terrain of east Jefferson County’s rural roads.

Check our Ride Calendar for a complete listing of rides that support the Bicycle Alliance.  Now get out and ride!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Fun: Detroit Bike City

We were inspired and impressed with the bike culture that has emerged in Detroit and we wanted to share it with you.  Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Retiring Again

Barb (R) & Andy are ready for pedal adventure.
It's true!  I'm retiring and this time I really mean it!  

In 2007, I left the Bicycle Alliance to travel in France with my husband and friends.  I worked briefly as a consultant, and hated it.  Then I tried my hand in program implementation at Seattle Children's Hospital, and loved it. Except...I missed bicycle advocacy and the day to day excitement and enthusiasm of growing bicycling statewide.

What has changed since I returned in 2010?  What's changed is me and my priorities!  My daughter is expecting; she lives in Portland with her husband, and I want to spend a lot of time there.

More travel is in my future: my husband Andy and I absolutely love long distance bike touring and will combine train and bikes to see more of the  national parks.  We'll help with outreach along the US Bicycle Route System.  I'll spend more time gardening, more time with friends, more time reading, and of course, I'll have a grandchild to teach about the joys of bicycling!  

I'm super excited about the direction the Bicycle Alliance is moving with outreach, legislation, and programs around the state.   We have a great staff, and a wonderful board of directors sprinkled all across the state.  Check our website for the job posting, apply or forward it to a great candidate.

This isn't  "so long";  it's more like  "I'm rolling along down the road in search of another adventure!" 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

May 2 and GiveBIG Approaches!

 In eight more days Bicycle Alliance of Washington will participate in one of the largest philanthropic events in the Northwest! 

GiveBIG 2012 arrives on Wednesday, May 2, providing an opportunity for the Puget Sound region and surrounding communities to give generously to over 1300 non-profits that are making a difference in our community and quality of life. Between midnight and midnight (Pacific Time) on May 2, each donation made will receive a pro-rated portion of matching funds from both The Seattle Foundation and multiple GiveBIG sponsors. The amount of the match will depend on the size of the matching fund pool and how much is raised in total donations on GiveBIG day. 

We encourage supporters of our mission to grow bicycling in Washington State and create a more bike and pedestrian friendly landscape to mark your calendar and make a donation on May 2! To learn more about our programs and current need, visit the Bicycle Alliance Donation Page.

GiveBIG is only possible with the generous support of community-minded organizations that contribute matching funds making this event a unique and even bigger financial success. We’d like to thank our GiveBIG Sponsors with the hope you’ll support them when making future purchasing decisions.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sign up for the National Bike Challenge: Part 2!

Thank you to Scott Chilberg for preparing this post.

As we’ve mentioned before, the Bicycle Alliance is acting as the Washington State representative for the 2012 Get Up and Ride National Bike Challenge, and we’re continuing to encourage people to sign up, either as an individual or on a team! Washington has consistently been ranked the most bike friendly state in the nation, and we want to prove that once again by getting as many Washington state residents as possible to sign up for this free nationwide challenge, which starts May 1.

The Challenge works like this: You register on the National Bike Challenge website, you log your biking miles online from May 1st until August 31st, and you compete for prizes and qualify for awards as the challenge goes along. Pretty simple stuff! You get 20 points for each day that you ride plus 1 point for each mile that you log. You can also download a smart phone app to log miles as you go!

For a full list of rules, click here. You can also download a full list of prizes here

The challenge is free to sign up, so there’s no reason not to participate! Plus, May is National Bike Month, so this is a great way to bump up your biking while competing for prizes at the same time.

So go register now! And pass this along to your friends, family, colleagues, and whoever else you think might be interested!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Off the Freeway

Today's guest blog post was written by former Bicycle Alliance staffer Mark Canizaro of Seattle.  This was originally published in July 2005 on his personal blog.

I work at a bicycle advocacy organization. Among my tasks is answering telephone and email questions about bicycling in general and frequently those are about possible routes.

Today I got a request from a father in Bellingham who had a wonderful idea as a parent. His son graduated from high school last month and is heading off to college next month. As a way of symbolizing the rite of passage, and a (possibly last) chance to spend some time together, they decided to bicycle together to Washington State University in Pullman. I thought it was a great idea. (He seemed to need my encouragement.)

Neither are serious bicyclists, but they've been enjoying riding together the last year or so and decided to take on this very big undertaking (It's 400 miles or more). His reason for calling was a routing question. He said,

"I know we go down Interstate 5 100 miles to Seattle, get on Interstate 90 and go east a couple hundred miles, but I don't know where to go once I get out towards Spokane. Can you tell me what turn to take?”

There was a long, long pause as I gathered my thoughts and prepared for a nasty conflict.

The route he was suggesting, 5 to 8 days of really miserable riding on Interstate freeways, was awful. This is not that unusual. Many people forget to stop thinking like a car when they get on a bike. Still, I was shocked... and nervous. I had a good suggestion for that last day of riding, (there is also a major highway similar to his suggestions) but I also had a half-dozen much better routes to suggest for the first week.

I took a deep breath and started in... Stevens Pass, North Cascades Highway, White Pass, Chuckanut Drive, The Skagit Valley, The Centennial Trail, back roads, country roads, bike trails, away from the highways. Quiet roads.

I finished my monologue and prepared for the response. People get very defensive about routes and it's a strangely common reaction to be pretty angry at the suggestion of quieter routes.

I was met with silence. A long silence. A concerning silence. I wasn't even sure he was still there.

Finally he said,

"I'm really embarrassed, I've lived here my whole life and it never occurred to me that there was any other way to get to Seattle except on I-5... of course it would be nicer to ride on some of those other roads."

And why don't more people bike?

I've had the same experience in Seattle with new or prospective cyclists asking me about routes around town, assuming that the ONLY option was the nasty, clogged, smelly, loud, intense, motor filled arterial. Forgetting that the quiet streets, the neighborhoods, the pleasant and interesting streets even exist. Missing the point.

Cyclists need to stop thinking like cars. Actually I think everyone: city planners, drivers, developers, pedestrians, EVERYONE needs to stop thinking like cars, but it's amazing how often I see cyclists stuck in that car-think.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Smart Cycling: Traffic Skills 101 Class in Spokane

Develop the confidence to bike safely and legally for Bike to Work month, the National Bike Challenge, and beyond!

The Spokane Bicycle Club is offering a Smart Cycling class that will teach bicyclists how to ride safely in traffic, avoid motorist errors and more.  The course includes a mix of class and actual time on the bike, and is geared for individuals ages 15 and older.  The class begins on April 25 and there are some scholarships, thanks to the City of Spokane, that reduce the registration fee to $10.  Reserve your spot now!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

May is National Bike Month!

May is National Bike Month and communities around Washington are planning Bike to Work events--big and small.  We're aware of the following events:

Bellingham/Whatcom County is celebrating Bike to Work and School Day with 30 public and 35 school based celebration stations. Last year over 10,700 participants were counted!

Intercity Transit is organizing the Thurston County Bicycle Commuter Contest--now in its 25th year!

Cascade Bicycle Club hosts a month long Commute Challenge and they organize a huge Bike to Work Day with dozens of commute stations set up around Seattle and King County. 

Community Transit is partnering with Cascade to bring the Commute Challenge and Bike to Work Day to Snohomish County bicyclists.

Tacoma-Pierce County has a Bike Month Commuter Challenge as well as numerous other bike month festivities.  Check their Bike Month calendar for details.

If you live in Spokane, Spokane Bikes has you covered with a month-long Commute Challenge and Bike to Work Week festivities running May 20-26. 

Wenatchee Valley Transportation Council will host bicycle commuter stations in Wenatchee on May 18. 

Whidbey Island Bicycle Club is planning Bike to Work and School Month, which will include a Carfree Commuters Breakfast on May 9.

Cowlitz County is celebrating Bike to Work Week May 14-18 with a variety of activities.

The folks in Vancouver delay their Bike to Work Week until the fairer month of June.  They have designated June 18-22 as Bike to Work Week with June 20 as Bike to Work Day.  The City of Vancouver will post details.

The Tri-Cities of Kennewick, Richland and Pasco are organizing a Bike to Work Week.  More details will follow. 

We're not aware of any Bike to Work events in Walla Walla or Clarkston, but the Twin Rivers Cyclists of Lewiston-Clarkston and the Walla Walla Wheatland Wheelers have organized teams for the National Bike Challenge.

No Bike to Work event scheduled in your town?  Sign up for the National Bike Challenge!  The Challenge runs from May 1 through August 31 and allows riders to track their miles and qualify for prizes.  You can sign up as a team or ride solo.  The National Bike Challenge is a great way to keep the biking momentum throughout the summer.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bicycle Alliance Launches Legacy Society

The simplest—yet high impact—way to leave a legacy gift is to name the Bicycle Alliance as a beneficiary in your will.
Inspired by John Streich’s generous bequest to the Bicycle Alliance in 2011, several current and veteran Board members met recently to lay plans for a Legacy Society.  "This will give our most dedicated members an effective way to plan for significant future support,” said founding Board member Amy Carlson.
 Providing for the Bicycle Alliance of Washington in your estate plans can be as simple as adding a codicil to your existing will. You can make a specific or percentage bequest, a residuary bequest, or a contingent bequest. “Planned giving” arrangements also include charitable remainder trusts, charitable gift annuities, and various other gift vehicles. Planned gifts ideally require advance consultation with your financial planner and/or attorney.
“We’ve had the Life Member designation for a long time,” said former Board President Cynthia Putnam. “It’s been extremely helpful for our dedicated members to support us at a high level and also to self-identify as a group. The Legacy Society gives folks an opportunity to take their support to the next level.”
The Board of Directors has put in place three new policies to safeguard both the donor’s intent and the organization’s welfare. A board-designated endowment policy ensures that gifts made by bequest will meet priority needs of the Bicycle Alliance. An investment policy ensures that funds are invested prudently, with ongoing oversight. And a gift acceptance policy provides a process and framework for the Bicycle Alliance to determine whether and how to accept specific types of gifts.
If you have already made provisions for the Bicycle Alliance in your will or another type of planned gift, please let us know. We would like to thank you and welcome you to the Legacy Society. The Bicycle Alliance is planning an annual special event for Legacy Club members, along with a listing in our annual report and other publications. And a few additional “surprises” are in store for Legacy Club members.

If you are interested in learning more about gifts by bequest or other planned giving vehicles, please contact Jack Hilovsky at

Monday, April 16, 2012

Job Opening: Office Coordinator/Membershiip Assistant

Here's an opportunity to combine your office organization skills, data management experience and love of bicycling into a job!  The Bicycle Alliance of Washington is actively seeking resumes for an Office Coordinator/Membership Assistant.  Check the job description on our website.

Remembering Susie Stephens

It's hard to believe, but March marked the tenth anniversary of Susie Stephens' death. 

For those not acquainted with her, Susie was a former Executive Director for the Bicycle Alliance of Washington and the Alliance for Biking & Walking (formerly the Thunderhead Alliance).  She was a mover and shaker on the national bicycle scene, and a legend in her own time. 

I remember Susie especially today because it would have been her birthday -- and Susie loved her birthday!  She liked to organize a party to celebrate her birthday and once confessed to me that she did this because she was afraid that no one else would remember it.  Fat chance! 

Susie’s legacy lives on in many ways, but perhaps her greatest contribution was branding the work of bicycle advocacy as a national movement and giving this movement a song.  The video clip below is a testimonial to her ability to rally and inspire others.

Happy birthday, Susie.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Brown Bag Forum: Perspectives on Public Transportation

“Hey--you’re the Bicycle Alliance of Washington, not the Transit Alliance!”

True, but we don’t bike ALL the time.  Sometimes we drive, sometimes we walk, and sometimes we use public transit.  That’s why we’re co-hosting this lunchtime event in Seattle on April 18, and we hope you’ll join us.

Two national transportation experts will be on hand for an engaging discussion about public transportation.  Authors Jarrett Walker and Darrin Nordahl will discuss public transit from two different ends of the bus route:  technical simplicity—and fun.  Opening remarks will be provided by Seattle City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen.

Walker, author of Human Transit, believes that transit can be simple if we focus on the underlying geometry that all transit technologies share.  He supplies the basic tools, the critical questions, and the means to make smarter decisions about designing and implementing transit services.

Nordahl, a subscriber to The Fun Theory, is the author of Making Transit FUN!  He believes that emotion is a more powerful motivator than reason and argues that there should be a positive incentive—one that lures motorists because the experience of using transit is actually pleasurable.

Space is limited for this event, so please RSVP.

This event is co-hosted by Transportation Choices, Banyan Branch, Bicycle Alliance of Washington, Downtown Seattle Association, Commute Seattle, Cascade Bicycle Club, The Seattle Transit Blog, VIA Architecture, Feet First, GGLO, and Washington Environmental Council.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Where do the Children Play?

Last summer, Bicycle Alliance staffer Seth Schromen-Wawrin created a digital story that recalls how wonderful it was to explore his neighborhood by bike as a child and asks why he doesn't see kids doing this today.  Seth made this video in a workshop for the Mapping Our Voices for Equality project in King County.  We think it will bring back fond memories for many folks so we'd like to share it.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Board News: Meet the Newest Members

The Bicycle Alliance of Washington is governed by a dedicated group of individuals from around the state who provide vision, leadership and organizational oversight.  We recently welcomed three new members to the board:

Marc Mims of Spokane Valley brings his experience in grassroots activism and social media marketing to the board.  You can read a past blog post about Marc’s successful effort to save a bike lane project.  An avid bicyclist, Marc sits on the Spokane Bikes committee and leads a weekly group ride for his local bike shop.  Some of you may have met Marc in March when he staffed a table for us at the Spokane Bike Swap.  When he’s not riding his bike or spoiling his granddaughter, Marc pays the mortgage as a freelance software developer.

John Pope of Anacortes is passionate about creating statewide bicycle routes and is eager to help the Bicycle Alliance with developing a northern route that would become a part of the US Bicycle Route System.  His community involvement is extensive and includes serving on the boards of Skagit Regional Transportation Planning Organization, the Anacortes Chamber of Commerce and Skagit Council of Governments/RTPO Active Communities Taskforce.  John works for Tesoro Refining and Marketing and also serves on our Legislative and Statewide Issues Committee.

John Vona is a lifelong bicyclist and a daily bike commuter since moving to Seattle in 2007.  He got the cycling bug as a teen riding on congested roads to shore points such as Asbury Park and Belmar—Bruce Springsteen’s theme of being “sprung from cages out on Highway 9” was more than a metaphor. Those formative years gave John an appreciation of the bike facilities available to cyclists in Washington and he wants to see that network grow.  John is a forester and works for Green Diamond Resource Company as a business planning manager.  He will serve as our board treasurer.

You can read bios on all of our board members here.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Sign up for the National Bike Challenge

Thanks to intern Scott Chilberg for preparing this blog post.

Here at the Bicycle Alliance, we are enthusiastic supporters of new and exciting ways to expand bike ridership and awareness, both locally and nationally. So when the 2012 Get Up & Ride National BikeChallenge was announced this year, we were happy to jump on board as the state representative.

The National Bike Challenge – a free nationwide competition meant to encourage biking for transportation and recreation - starts May 1 and runs through August 31, 2012, and gives individuals and teams the opportunity to log their miles and compete for prizes and award plaques on the local and national levels. The Challenge has already registered riders from all 50 states and DC.  This event is organized by the League of American Bicyclists, Bikes Belong, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, and Endomondo.

Participation is easy and free of charge.  Just sign up online for the Challenge and create either a workplace team or your own team, join an existing team, or ride solo!  Here's a rundown on how to create an account:

Join the Challenge at:
Process for individuals to join the Challenge:

·         Step 1. Click on the link above

·         Step 2. Click on the join button and register.

·         Step 3. Participants will have the option to continue to ride solo or join a team by:

o    a. Creating a new Team and becoming the Captain

o    b. Joining an existing Team

This challenge is free to join and is meant to be a fun and competitive way to increase bicycling across the U.S.  So, whether you participate on as an individual or on a team, we hope you’ll join – and pass this along to your friends!
Watch this how to video for more information about the Challenge, and click here for a complete list of prizes.

Thank you, and happy riding!

Friday, April 6, 2012

These April rides support a bicycle friendly Washington

Photo by Carla Gramlich
Spring has sprung and flowers are emerging from the earth in showy colors.  Why not enjoy the arrival of spring flowers with a couple of bike rides that celebrate daffodils and lilacs?

The 37th Annual Daffodil Classic, organized by the Tacoma Wheelmen Bicycle Club, is on April 15 and over 200 riders are registered so far.  This ride winds its way through the beautiful Orting valley and surrounding hills.  There are four routes to choose from—enough to please families, recreational riders, and serious roadies.  And there’s strawberry shortcake waiting for you at the finish line!

Inland Northwest cyclists welcome spring with the Lilac Century & Family Fun Ride on April 29.  Organized by the Spokane Aurora Northwest Rotary Club, this 19-year ride offers a variety of fun, scenic and challenging tours for every level of rider.  There is also a tri-athlete’s bike/run “brick” option.  All participants can partake in the baked-potato feed at the finish.

The Daffodil and Lilac rides are not only great early season biking opportunities, they also support statewide bicycle safety education, Safe Routes to School programming, and complete streets efforts with a contribution to the Bicycle Alliance of Washington.  We all benefit when you sign up for these rides!

Over twenty event rides support our mission to grow bicycling statewide.  Check our Ride Calendar for other upcoming rides.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Get Ready for GiveBIG on May 2!

On Wednesday, May 2, friends and supporters of Bicycle Alliance of Washington will have the opportunity to support our important work through Seattle Foundation's GiveBIG campaign. GiveBIG is a one day online charitable giving event to inspire people to give generously to nonprofit organizations who make our region a healthier and more vital place to live. 

Each donation made to Bicycle Alliance between midnight and midnight (Pacific Time) on May 2, 2012, will receive a pro-rated portion of the matching funds ("stretch") pool. The amount of the "stretch" depends on the size of the stretch pool and how much is raised in total donations on GiveBIG day. For example, if a nonprofit receives 3% of the total donations during GiveBIG, then it will receive 3% of the stretch pool.

Another exciting facet of the GiveBIG campaign is the Golden Ticket. Throughout GiveBIG, donors will be chosen at random to have an additional $1,000 given to the charity that received their donation. Golden Ticket winners will also be eligible to win airline tickets, gift cards, and more! 

In order for your donation to qualify for the stretch pool and Golden Ticket, you must donate through Bicycle Alliance's profile page on Seattle Foundation's website. Anyone with an internet connection and a credit card can make a donation on GiveBIG day.

Keep in mind any donation Bicycle Alliance receives can be matched through an employer matching program and donors are encouraged to submit their donations to their employers for matching funds. Employer matches will not be applied in calculating the nonprofit's share of the GiveBIG stretch pool.

So mark your calendar for Wednesday, May 2, and support Bicycle Alliance of Washington's vital mission implementing bicycle education for kids and adults, improving bicyclist safety, advocating for better transportation options, and giving voice to bicyclists across the state. For 25 years we've worked to make Washington a more bicycle-friendly state where cycling is inclusive and accessible to everyone, from age 8 to 80. 

Your dollars will allow us to expand our highly successful Safe Routes to School program and grow our statewide outreach program, Hub and Spoke, in addition to other community-enriching initiatives.

To learn more, visit GiveBIG's FAQ page. We thank you in advance for your continued support!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Photographing the Tour de France

Join the Bicycle Alliance of Washington on April 11 for an evening of Tour de France images with photographer Mike Hone.  Mike has photographed the Tour de France for two years and will share his stories and insights of this venerable cycling event.  Several of his photos have been featured on the cover of Road Magazine, Peloton, and Velo News.

Mike is an Experience Designer for Adobe Systems and an avid bicyclist.  In addition to photographing the Tour de France, Mike is also an amateur Cat 1 racer and the owner/manager of the Audi Cycling Team.

A $5 donation at the door will benefit the Bicycle Alliance.  Doors open at 5:30 and the presentation begins at 6:00.  Beer, soda and snack will be available.

Special thanks to Adobe for hosting this event.

View Mike Hone’s Flickr photo stream.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Hub & Spoke Revamped: First Stop Wenatchee
This marks the third year that the Bicycle Alliance of Washington has conducted its Hub & Spoke outreach tour, so we decided to revamp the format a bit.  In addition to the popular bicycle meet up format, we added a half-day workshop – Growing Biking and Walking in Your Community.

We launched the 2012 tour with a visit to Wenatchee in March.  Community planners, school representatives, PTA members and citizen advocates joined us for the workshop.  We reviewed the characteristics of a livable community, then honed in on what makes a place inviting to bicyclists and pedestrians.  We examined challenges and how different solutions might be applied.

Photo by Andy Goulding
Patrick Walker, transportation planner for the Wenatchee Valley Transportation Council, led us on a walking tour of the business district.  He showed us an awkward trail connection and we discussed ways to improve it.  We looked at some challenging intersections and shared ideas on how to make them safer.  Patrick also showed us the spot in downtown where Wenatchee’s first on street bike corral will be installed.

We returned to our meeting room and shared ideas for encouraging people to bike and walk more.  These included Bike to Work Day, walking school buses for children, and open streets events.  We wrapped up the workshop with a discussion of tools and resources that communities can use to grow biking and walking.

After the workshop, we gathered at the Saddle Rock Pub for a bicycle social hour.  We were joined by members of the local bike club and bike advisory board, bike advocates, and members of the Transportation Improvement Board—who were holding a meeting nearby. Special thanks to Patrick Walker who helped us with logistics and planning for both events.

The Hub & Spoke tour continues with a visit to Vancouver in June.  Stay tuned to our blog, website or social media channels for details.