Fall Semester Wrap-up
After School Bike Club
After School Bike Club
We have some exciting news…
For the first time in our history, Bike Fort Collins will be participating in Colorado Gives Day!
What is Colorado Gives Day?
Colorado Gives Day is an annual statewide movement to celebrate and increase philanthropy in Colorado through online giving. For the ninth year, Community First Foundation and FirstBank are partnering to present Colorado Gives Day. On December 4, all around Colorado, community members and businesses will come together to support nonprofits across the state. 24 hours of supporting organizations who make great things happen in your community.
Why support Bike Fort Collins?
Our mission is to get more bikes on safer streets, all while advocating for equality and inclusion in cycling. From educating youth through Safe Routes to School programming; to providing access to bicycles through the Pace Bike Share; to hosting no-drop group rides; and through our grant-funded programming that allows us to go into lower-income communities to provide free helmets, lights, education and bicycle repair, Bike Fort Collins is for all cyclists, no matter their ability, income level or age.
We can’t do what we do without support, and that is why this Colorado Gives Day, we are asking for any amount of donation so that we can continue to fulfill our mission.
Additionally, we are also looking to expand our Safe Routes to School programming outside of the limits of Fort Collins, and need monetary support to do so.
To schedule your donation BEFORE December 4, visit our Colorado Gives Day page here.
Thank you so much for your support, and ride on.
The Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program isn’t just busy in the school year, the summer is also a crazy time of year as we strive to get more kids on bikes safely! Read on to learn more about all we were up to this summer.
Summer School: Preschool Safe Routes
This summer SRTS provided safety lessons to preschoolers in the Fullana program at Bauder and Beattie elementary schools. Eight students became new riders during this three-day program.
SRTS also spent time with preschoolers and students up to 10-years-old at Teaching Tree Early Childhood Learning Center. For the older group of students, they were taken on bike rides along the Poudre Trail, with a mandatory stop for rock skipping and toe dipping. The younger kids stayed on campus and rode balance bikes, stopped at stop signs and practiced looking both ways when crossing in the crosswalk.
Youth Creating Places
New this summer: Colorado State University’s Institute for the Built Environment and Urban Lab implemented the first ever tactical urbanism group specifically designed for students ages 12 and older.
What is tactical urbanism? It’s a practice that simulates how most cities are built. A piece-by-piece process that is especially popular in developing nations.
What is the Institute for the Built Environment? IBE creates meaningful projects, builds team alignment and supports future leaders.
This summer program, titled “Youth Creating Places” aimed to inspire young minds to explore the city-scape, identify locations for improvements, plan some changes, design them, and finally build their own unique neighborhood ‘pop-up.’ The group of 17 succeeded in making improvements to Soft Gold Park.
In partnership with SRTS, children learned the importance of transportation in the project. One week of the program was dedicated to bike skills, safety and learning the rules of the road on the road. Along with the learning, the riders got to stop at the Poudre River for rope swinging and swimming.
Cycle hard play hard.
Hickory Park Celebration
In June, SRTS, along with the City of Fort Collins, Kaiser Permanente, La Familia, Create Places, Bike Fort Collins, and Larimer County to host the first ever “Open Streets” along Hickory Street in north Fort Collins. This event celebrated the partnerships in this neighborhood, the opening of the first Pace Bike Share station in this neighborhood, and the Active Living Program provided by Bike Fort Collins and Kaiser Permanente. SRTS provided a rodeo for youth during this event.
On August 4, thanks to Zach and Whitney Allison, and Jake Arnold, over 350 cyclists rode 12 – 100 miles on scenic gravel roads around Larimer and Weld Counties to raise $1,532 for Safe Routes Afterschool Bike Clubs. Special shoutout to the Allison-Arnold team and Source Endurance for the support, and a very fun ride! To learn more about the FoCo Fondofest, visit https://www.focofondo.com/events
Photo by Dion Dolva
SRTS Instructor Gathering
Did you know that Bike Fort Collins has a talented team of 20 trained SRTS instructors? These amazing people work hard during the spring and fall semesters cramming three to four Elementary Schools and four to five Middle Schools into a few short months of decent weather.
After the semester is over, the SRTS instructors deserve a celebration at the lake… which they happily accept.
Interested in Getting Involved?
Learn more about the SRTS program by visiting http://bikefortcollins.org/programs/safe-routes-to-school-2.
Learn more about volunteering by contacting Dot at email@example.com.
Why volunteer? Volunteers enhance the experience for all students and improve the overall success of the program.
Not able to volunteer but want to help fund the SRTS programming and instructors? Consider donating today! Learn more at http://bikefortcollins.org/support-bfc/give.
Just like a bike that needs tuning, sometimes an organization needs one too. As Bike Fort Collins looks to grow and provide even more opportunities to get more people on bikes, we thought it was time to spruce up our image a bit.
Why this design? Thanks to local graphic designer Jarad Heintzelman’s creative gears, this logo was created to embody what Bike Fort Collins is: fun, modern and friendly. This design is simple, easy to read and highly adaptable for any situation.
We wanted to showcase that bikes should be approachable, easy to understand, and quite frankly: iconic and fun.
This logo embodies that vision while also allowing for variety, like different bike shapes and colors.
Like what you see? Be on the lookout for new Bike Fort Collins branded shirts and stickers.
In the meantime, we’ll see you on the trail. Happy riding!
The news has been trickling out for some time now, but in an effort to not crowd out our other exciting December news like our Bohemian Foundation Pharos Grant award, and our end of year fundraising, I held off on making this formal announcement till now. Today, January 5th, is my final day at Bike Fort Collins. In December, I accepted a position in San Jose with California Walks. I’ll be spearheading their vision zero campaign and working to make the south bay safer, healthier, and more sustainable.
I can’t tell you exactly what’s next for Bike Fort Collins regarding succession and leadership. Stay tuned for more on that in the coming weeks, but I wanted to leave folks with a few stray thoughts I have about my tenure and the future of the org and the region.
When I arrived in Fort Collins, 13 years ago, it was supposed to be a pit stop. I’d just spent most of my 20s in Chicago, where I’d fallen in love with bikes & transit, urbanism, multiculturalism and activism. Eventually the weather got the better of me- as it gets the better of so many former Chicagoans- and my newfound love of cycling. So I packed up and headed west, in search of my next (warmer) urban adventure.
But that trip stopped short when my Fort Collins recharge accidentally morphed into marriage, parenthood, homeownership, and, eventually, an unlikely career change that allowed me to finally take a public role in a conversation that I’d long felt passionate about.
Just over two years ago, I accepted the position of executive director at Bike Fort Collins and set out to explore three important questions:
Meanwhile, along with these lofty existential questions, I was tasked with plotting a course towards long term revenue sustainability for the org. Like so many nonprofits, a succession of volunteer leaders and informal accounting and operating plans had left me with an org with a lot of passion and goodwill, but without a strong brand identity- without a distinct and resonant vision that would sustain our work.
This has been a joyous, stressful, challenging, and inspiring couple of years. At the end of it, at the dawn of a new year, we as a city and as an organization have a greater sense of how interconnected the threats to our long term vibrancy and health are. From affordability to growth to transit to pollution to social segregation to immigration and more. Its clearer than ever that real sustainability means not just environmentalism but also social and economic health and justice (what good are bike lanes when the workforce increasingly can’t afford to live close enough to ride to work?)
We’ve asked tough questions of our leaders, our community partners, the public and most importantly, of ourselves. In an era of uncertainty, its increasingly clear that technology alone won’t save us, that Washington won’t save us, that our fate as a community is in our hands, that being engaged in local budgets, in City Plan, in boards and commissions, in local nonprofits, in local and regional elections, is non-negotiable. Even at a moment when Northern Colorado feels relatively prosperous and seemingly insulated from many of the marquee threats in the US in 2018, there are clouds of uncertainty on our horizon. The world our children will inherit is being forged in small ways every day both through our deliberate plans and though inattention to creeping threats. That shouldn’t be frightening, but it should be sobering.
A close friend of mine asked me recently what is MY vision for Fort Collins in 20 or 30 years. This conversation was inspired by our divergent views of Elon Musk’s efforts to bring vacuum tube transit to the front range. If I didn’t buy Musk’s vision of salvation through innovation, what did I believe in?
Its not that I don’t believe in innovation. The way we move, communicate, allocate resources, combat disease are changing at a breakneck pace. But I think that history has shown that technological prognostication is a fool’s errand. Technology and culture inevitably zig and zag and have unintended, unforeseeable consequences- some good, some bad. If you ask me my vision of a healthy future city, I won’t spin stories of exotic vehicles or magical healthcare breakthroughs, or new ways to generate power or grow food. Though we will certainly continue to see all of those. I’ll say, simply: my healthy future city is one where the priorities and vision are created collaboratively, by everyone who lives here, not by those who have the most, and therefore have the most to protect. Technology might help us answer questions, but without community engagement and empowerment, without INCLUSIVE leadership, how can we know we’re asking the right questions in the first place?
For me, Bike Fort Collins is not a platform for celebrating or mythologizing bikes as a lifestyle or identity. There are plenty of amazing clubs and teams that convene around “bike culture”. We are dedicated to working with communities and community organizations and asking how active transportation can serve a larger strategy for addressing their specific challenges and reaching their potential. We want to ensure that the countless community members who rely on bikes for transportation and recreation have as much say as the bike nuts do.
On this, my final day at BFC, I look back at my time here and feel we’ve made big advances in our understanding of all of these challenges. As I turn over the keys to the next person lucky enough to steer this organization, I’m confident that they will inherit an org with a strong vision, a healthy financial future, a respected, credible voice, and a critical role in a number of local coalitions working hard to ensure a safer, healthier more inclusive future for Northern Colorado.
I’ve left our board a list of suggestions and priorities that I’m sure they will sort and parse, but I know a few big action items for 2018 will include informing the City Plan process, informing the 2019-2020 FC City budget. and diving into the 2018 midterm elections where there are several impactful local and county races where we think we can both inform candidate platforms and educate the public about where various candidates stand on active transportation and built environment issues.
We will continue to grow our flagship Safe Routes to School program. we will continue to promote and grow our national leading Bike Friendly Business network, we will continue to run the Fort Collins Bike Share as the technology and policies around bike share changes seeming daily, we will continue our direct service programs like our Neighborhood Active Living Plan, Upshift, and Chain Reaction, and we’ll continue to promote our busy calendar of rides and events like the Ride of Silence, RAT Rides, Tour de Farms, Ride with Pride, and of course Tour de Fat. The people who run these programs, and who sit on our board are amazing, talented visionaries and I know they’ll continue to work tirelessly to get more people on bikes, build safer and healthier streets and neighborhoods, and strive for an advocacy platform that is inclusive and empowering of Fort Collinsers of every ability, gender, race, age and identity.
As for me, I am looking forward to a change of scenery and catching my breath. This last two years was a tremendous honor, but running a small nonprofit takes a lot out of you, and my tank was pretty low going in, after years of organizing races and rides and writing about cycling in Fort Collins. It has been tough on my body and spirit, and I look forward to being a smaller part of a larger org and city, where I can continue to learn and grow, but also work on balancing work and life better (and maybe even spend a little more time on the bike).
Happy New Year,
Chris J Johnson
by Katherine Vega – BFC Board Director
There were two things I loved most growing up as a kid in Lincoln Heights, a neighborhood 10 minutes from downtown Los Angeles. The first was going to Lincoln Park with my mom and dad and the second was playing games with my neighbors after school. We lived in a small cluster of homes tucked between two clothing factories (but everybody knew they were sweatshops) on Main Street, one of the busiest streets in the neighborhood. Surrounding us were a variety of warehouses, car shops, and factories like El Dorado, a tortilla factory we’d visit at least once a week. There was a liquor store just down the block where I’d get Big Stick popsicles and a small market across the street where we could get bread and peanut butter. None of us were allowed to play in the front of the houses unless someone was watching us. It wasn’t just to protect us from the speeding cars, buses, and 18-wheelers on the 4-lane wide road, but also to keep an eye on any potential danger in the neighborhood from local drug addicts, winos, strangers, and also drive-bys on occasion. I was only a kid so I didn’t understand why I had all these strict rules to follow. I just wanted to play with my friends and run around until dark. So every night, we’d rush through our homework and knock on each other’s doors to get the game started. That car-packed driveway and dusty backyards made one big playground where we’d run, pedal, and climb until our moms yelled for us to come in for the night.
Fast-forward 20 years. I’m at Untokening California in a room full of black, indigenous, and people of color who are sharing their stories of tokenization and oppression within their mobility planning, advocacy, and policy-making professions. Every single one of us has an experience to share or allude to despite our generation gaps, genders, and current city of residency. For many of us, this is the first time in a long time that we’ve felt comfortable and safe to be our full selves. We list out all the forms of oppression that have controlled us and continue to destroy our communities: patriarchy, white supremacy, xenophobia, ableism, classism, heteronormativity, Manifest Destiny, and the list continues. We acknowledge every single form of oppression and choose not to submit to them. We hear from several inspiring leaders who work with California communities to address a range of issues from providing feminine care to homeless women to advocating policy makers to raise the minimum wage. At last I’m among professionals who look like me, understand my upbringing, and are working passionately to fight for their communities. I’m safe to think, act, and say what I truly feel here.
— Areli (@rrrleLA) November 7, 2017
It’s difficult to explain exactly how it feels to be me living in the seemingly prosperous, white-dominated town of Fort Collins. FoCo is a desirable place to live, no doubt, with its beautiful parks, amazing bike paths and trails, and cute shops up and down College Ave. People are so nice and neighborly that I still can’t believe it’s genuine. Yet, something is missing in all this. Where are the communities of color? Why do I rarely hear non-English languages being spoken when I walk down the street? Where are my people? And why aren’t people asking these same questions? And this is when I realize how much of a minority I truly am here. Privilege has allowed so many people here to sit comfortably in the status quo for a long, long time. I guess when you have everything you need to be happy and healthy, there really is no incentive to rock the boat. So, Fort Collins becomes the ‘#10 Healthiest Place to Live in America’ and for the privileged populations here, this recognition rings true. But what about the rest of the community? What about the people who have to make a choice between buying groceries and keeping the heat on in the winter because they only make $9.30 an hour? What about the families who can’t afford stable housing so they have to find shelter at a church or mission or really any place that will take them in for the night? How can we say that we’re one of the healthiest places to live when people in our community, our own neighbors, are struggling to get by on the daily?
I chose to share my short story with you so that you can see a snippet of my childhood. I don’t want you to sympathize with me. I want you to look through my eyes even if only for a few minutes. Even if I grew up in Los Angeles, there are many parallels between the community I grew up in and the marginalized communities here in Fort Collins. Can you start to identify the multiple challenges we faced living in my neighborhood? Can you feel the anxiety my parents had when it came to protecting me from literally everything in my environment? And most importantly, what would you do to make any of it better? Where would you start? These questions are important because they paint the complex picture of all the social determinants that impact individual health and wellbeing within a given community. You can’t choose any one thing to fix and see that it all gets better. No, you have to look at many factors and look deeper into all their relationships. From unlivable wages and housing instability to environmental racism and disinvestment. It’s not easy. These issues are so deeply rooted in communities like mine that most would give up on making any change. But mobility justice and health equity are worth fighting for despite how long or dangerous the path may be.
I recognize that Fort Collins has deeply rooted exclusive practices that have created health disparities in marginalized communities throughout Fort Collins. Regressive policies and continued disinvestment in low-income communities and communities of color have perpetuated health inequalities and further marginalized these communities. So what do we do? I say we, because to change these systemic issues we need a collective voice and force to change how things are done. If we truly want to live in an equitable and inclusive community, we have to demand it and fight for it. I didn’t make up this goal of living in an equitable and inclusive community. I heard this vision from many community members over and over in community forums throughout Fort Collins. People truly want to see change and understand the connection between their individual health and the health of their community.
This vision of equity and inclusion is exactly why I have chosen to stay and invest in Fort Collins. Fort Collins is my new community and I want to have a part in shaping its future. There is no short-term solution to achieving equity here or anywhere. It is a battle for incremental change over time that can impact hundreds, even thousands of people if the right policy or process is changed/implemented. It starts with asking communities what their vision is for their neighborhood and including them in the planning process. If they envision safer sidewalks to walk their kids to school, then we work with them to develop a plan that improves pedestrian infrastructure and safety. If they envision more frequent public transit so they can navigate their daily tasks more efficiently, then we work to connect them with local transit providers to identify possible solutions. We move away from the broken model of community and transportation planning to one where communities have a seat at the decision-making table. No more conversations about them without them.
As a public health practitioner and woman of color, this is challenging work. I am a minority in almost every health and transportation-focused workplace and organization in Colorado. I can never truly relax in my own skin. For the past few years, I only brought parts of myself to my work places. At one point, I even felt that I was losing my culture. I had been this partial person for so long to survive in this white-dominated place that I forgot who I was. However, during this journey, I gained incredible friends and allies who share the same passion for equity and community-driven processes. One of these allies is Bike Fort Collins and wow do I appreciate this organization. BFC actually sponsored me to attend Untokening because they recognized my need to connect with other people of color within the mobility and transportation equity field. And that was exactly what I needed to rejuvenate my soul and keep this fire burning in me. So thank you BFC for investing in me and providing me an opportunity to feel balanced again. Clearly, I am not alone in this fight. I am part of a network of professionals, nonprofit leaders, and community members who work day in and day out to improve heath and wellbeing for all people in Fort Collins. We value each of our unique perspectives and lived experiences because that is what connects us all. We also lift each other up when we need it most. And the best part is that this network is open to any and all people who see the importance of putting people first in the fight for equity.
Lastly, it is important that you know that I get to decide whether or not to share more of my story with you. That’s because my history is my power. I should not be expected to share knowledge freely when asked. When I trust you, when you have proved to me that you are my ally and/or my friend and you value what I have to say, then I will share my experiences and learnings. I am one of many people of color in this town who have a powerful history of survival and resilience that empowers us to keep going. It is not enough to have good intentions when working in our communities. You need to prove that you are trustworthy and dedicated to fighting this long fight with us. If you are not up to the challenge then please step back. Do not try to put band-aids on these large, systemic problems. But do try to learn more about our struggle. Ask questions and create safe spaces to have deliberate conversations with loved ones, friends, and neighbors of all backgrounds. The more we have these conversations with one another, the greater our understanding becomes of the challenges impacting our diverse communities. And the more we communicate and collaborate across communities the greater our collective power is to demand for healthy and safe environments. We are stronger and more capable as a collective whole, which is why I ask you to fight with me. Together we can reclaim power and agency from the structures, policies, and programs that have divided our communities.
With summer winding down the road racing season is over which means it’s time for cyclocross! Cyclocross racing, or “cross” for short, is one of the best disciplines for spectators. Thanks to generous land owners and hard-working volunteers Fort Collins has a steady stream of races over the next two months.
Cross is essentially a hybrid between road and mountain biking. The bikes look like beefed-up road bikes with knobby tires. The courses are mostly unpaved but still relatively smooth, wending through grassy fields and over various obstacles. Riders complete multiple laps around a 1-2 mile loop with races lasting 20-90 minutes.
The short courses make the races easy to watch, but it’s the obstacles that keep things exciting. Event organizers include stairs, steep hills, tight turns on side-slopes, sand pits, and wooden barriers to challenge the competitors. These sections force each racer to choose between hopping off their bike and running or attempting to ride and risking an embarrassing crash. That leads to a steady supply of excitement and comedy for the spectators, like this impressive display of bike handling:
Or this less impressive attempt at a running barrier hop (fortunately Joey was unhurt):
Spectators usually congregate around these obstacles, offering hearty encouragement and good-natured heckling. Some even hand up cups of beer or dollar bills to see which riders will risk a mistake for the token reward. Cowbells compliment the cheers, creating a distinctly “cyclocross” atmosphere.
Fort Collins cross racing is already underway. Local rider and all-round cycling supporter Ronny Bush is hosting Crazy Joe Cross races which continue through next Tuesday (Sept 19). These grassroots races are friendly community events with separate races for different experience levels including first-time racers looking to try out the sport.
The Ciclismo Youth Foundation will be organizing another round of beginner-friendly races at New Belgium every Tuesday in October (3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th, 31th). The Ciclismo races benefit the foundation which promotes youth racing in Fort Collins, and they include free categories for children of all ages, including a “Strider Bike” category for toddlers. With the last race of the series falling on Halloween you can expect a party atmosphere and plenty of costumes!
Those Tuesday night races serve as a test run for Fort Collins’ biggest race of the year. On November 11th & 12th First City Cycling Team will host Cross of the North, also at New Belgium. The weekend races always take the competition and revelry to a higher level. Athletes from up and down the front range will converge on New Belgium to battle it out for cash prizes, USA Cycling series points, and of course bragging rights. In addition to top notch races for both beginner and advanced riders there will be food trucks and beer (it’s at a brewery, after all). Come enjoy the party atmosphere and cheer our FoCo men and women!
Here at Bike Fort Collins we take a very broad, long term view of bike safety and how to improve it: we’re more concerned with land use and city planning than bike helmets and safety vests. That work will ultimately provide a safer, more pleasant community for everyone. In the meantime, we’re well aware of the immediate safety concerns that cyclists encounter, so here’s a handy trick to make your bike a little more visible on the road at night.
Bicycles are always sold with reflectors, but many riders remove them. Racers especially waste no time tossing out the stock plastic reflectors. It saves weight and improves wheel balance, but mostly the cheap reflectors just look out of place. Most of us don’t intend to ride our race bikes after dark anyway, but as summer fades into fall and the days get shorter, sometimes our evening rides push past sunset.
Luckily there’s a cheap, lightweight replacement: retro-reflective tape.
Retro-reflectors bounce light back towards its source. We see them all around us… stop signs, license plates, safety vests and even the silver stripes on running shoes. They glow when our headlights hit them because they reflect that light right back to us. And because they’re available as tape, adding them to a road bike is cheap and easy:
Department and automotive stores usually carry both red and white. These rolls cost me $2 each:
If you’re concerned with aesthetics it’s worth planning where you’ll put the tape to complement the existing paint and decals. Wipe down the frame with a clean rag (and rubbing alcohol if you’ve got it) and carefully apply the tape. You can even fold tape back on itself to form little flags around your spokes. The spoke flags really stand out at night, but above 25 mph they tend to whistle, so I don’t use them on my road bike.
All of my bikes have at least some reflective tape. Here’s my town bike with red tape on the rear triangle and white tape on the fork. By day it’s unobtrusive, but in the dark it reflects the camera’s flash, making those stripes light up. Of course it will also reflect a car’s headlights back at to driver, complementing my bike lights and providing a backup if I’m caught out after sunset without them.
And here’s what a driver will see if you’re caught out after dark with no lights at all:
In an ideal world it would be easy to ride at night without sharing space with cars. But in the meantime, this tape is a cheap way to make yourself a little more visible.
A few weeks back, we shared a call to action in defense of Cityplan. The weeks leading up to that post and the weeks since have been a blur of activity- conversations with city council, city staff, within our advocacy committee, and coalition partners. We received word late that week that the effort paid off and that the Cityplan project budget has been significantly restored (final figures still to be determined), and that a focus on equity will be prioritized.
This is a pretty significant win for the future of Fort Collins. As I mentioned in the previous post, the last city plan update (2011) does not include the word equity or equality, and makes only glancing references to social inclusion. In the intervening years, its become increasingly clear that without equity and inclusion as bedrock principles of our comprehensive plan, we are compromising our future as a region by limiting the the voices, values and needs that inform this plan’s design. And that means limiting who it serves.
Whether you are committed to the triple bottom line approach to sustainability (balancing economic, social and environmental health and justice), or sharply focused on one or another dimension of our resilience, or you just want to ensure Fort Collins stays safe for kids to explore, affordable for working families to work and live, and convenient and inclusive for seniors to age in place, city plan is a conversation and process that shapes the way our city grows, how we build, and most importantly, how we move and connect to eachother and to opportunity.
Over the next year and a half, the city and its partners- including Bike Fort Collins and many others- will convene a community-wide conversation about Cityplan. The city has a signup list, to keep folks informed about the process, and starting next month, Bike Fort Collins will host a series of info and work sessions, designed to empower and engage neighborhood leaders to make sure that Cityplan includes voices promoting active transportation, and diverse, walkable neighborhoods. This will be an opportunity to both learn from experts, inform our leaders priorities, and have conversations with neighbors about how to align our policies and budgets with a vision of a healthy, safe and sustainable future for Fort Collins.
Thanks to everyone who called or wrote city council to fight for a more inclusive Cityplan.
CSU Stadium Opening Day Bike Support
If you attended the Stadium open house or even just saw the pics on social media, you know that bikes and transit are a big part of the plan to get people into and out of the stadium as efficiently as possible. However you feel about the new stadium, one thing is true- the new location makes it much more accessible for biking, walking, and transit use, and we are working with CSU to encourage as many folks to use active transportation as possible. To that end we’ll be on the ground on opening day, Aug 26th, and we’d love some volunteers to help things flow smoothly. If you’re free for a few hours before kickoff and want to be a rolling ambassador and help direct folks to preferred bike parking, suggest routes, etc, we’ve got a volunteer signup sheet. We’re still hammering out some details with CSU, but we expect that this will be a great benefit for Bike Fort Collins, and there could be some cool schwag and rewards for volunteering as well.
Farm Weekend is less than two weeks away. Bike Fort Collins is still looking for volunteer support. Saturday morning’s Tour de Farms is a 40 mile scenic tour of the farms north of Fort Collins with a few stops along the way to enjoy farm hospitality and some local goodies. Proceeds for this ride benefit Bike Fort Collins. We’re looking for a few folks to help register, lead the ride. and to greet folks at the farms. Click HERE to volunteer at Tour de Farms
On Sunday, don’t miss the 3 Forks Progressive Farm Dinner. This is a shorter, casual progressive farm dinner where you’ll enjoy multiple dinner courses at urban farms in Fort Collins.
Tour de Fat is almost Here
If that wasn’t enough, we;re just THREE weeks away from 2017 Tour de Fat. A lot is changing at TdF this year, but one thing that will never change is the ALL HANDS ON DECK community support needed to pull it off. Tour de Fat is practically an official city holiday in Fort Collins and if you love bikes and love the work that our great bike nonprofits like Bike Fort Collins, Overland Mountain Bike Club, the Fort Collins Bicycle Co-op and Ciclismo Youth Foundation do to make this the best place in the word to ride, we could use your help. Its a super fun way to support bikes and have a blast doing it. Sign up to volunteer NOW. (rumor has it they throw a killer volunteer appreciation party, too).
One of the things Larry Conlon likes best about Fort Collins is the biking culture. Not only that, but people, here, love more than just craft beer—they love their coffee, too. An idea sparked, and Larry came up with a business plan that included biking and cold brew nitro coffee. He uses a front cargo bike to peddle his wares downtown, and sells wholesale to businesses in the area.
Larry has made many connections throughout the region by using local roasters to source the beans. He will roast his own beans for competitions, but likes the variety available through local businesses. Larry has taught himself everything he knows about the process and experiments with different beans to create a blend based on what will accompany the coffee.
Cold brew coffee has some interesting abilities that regular, hot brewed coffee doesn’t offer. For one thing, it can be dispensed using a tap.
Larry has added a few employees as his business has grown, but there are still aspects that remain a one-person job. Batch blending is all him. “I only take sips now, as I develop the blends. The first day I thought I was having a heart attack.” Larry remembers the early days, as he drank half glasses to taste; the caffeine creeping up on him. “I have a high tolerance now.” He says.
Creating cold brew coffee using a nitro process produces smooth, rich flavor and a creamy texture and bloom without the dairy. This process has been around for a while, but Larry’s particular style is a closely guarded secret. This unique taste and singular delivery system makes the business stand out. Larry created a niche in Fort Collins and has been growing his business ever since.
These aspects made Cranked Up Coffee a great candidate to become a Bike Friendly Business. Larry remembers being approached by Kurt Freiburg, who helps Fort Collins businesses apply for the designation, while he sold coffee downtown. Notably, Larry has managed to keep the business at about ninety nine percent motor vehicle free. He only uses a car for out of town events.
Even though the business is small, Cranked Up Coffee was awarded silver status with the first application. Larry has also added to his support of biking events which will allow him to level up when he applies for a BFB renewal.
Cranked Up Coffee is a unique business and it seems to be a perfect fit in Fort Collins. Every year Larry adds more variety and is always looking for ways to collaborate with other local businesses. He has embraced the Northern Colorado culture and has added to it with this business. His contributions add to our Platinum Bike Friendly City status and he wants to make sure, as the town grows, we stay focused on local flavor: including bikes.
If you’re interested in meeting Larry and finding out what makes his coffee so great, head over to the southwest corner of Mountain Ave and College, near Rare Italian; he can usually be located there (if not, you can watch for updates on Facebook). Check out the bike too, and find out if you can get free delivery to your place!
Write city council today at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask them to support the full Cityplan (see bottom for suggested language)
The City of Fort Collins is guided by a principle called the “triple bottom line.” TBL is a balancing and integration of social, environmental, and economic health and sustainability. It’s a powerful way of looking at community health and values and has a number of implications. In particular, it is designed to foster innovative cross-sector partnerships to help tackle complex challenges. I love TBL as a framework because active transportation advocacy sits comfortably at the center of all of those overlapping interests.
It also serves as a reminder of how interconnected our social, environmental, and economic health are. Our businesses need a healthy workforce and consumers to grow and thrive. At the same time, our growth has to be well-planned and inclusive to minimize congestion, pollution, workforce and talent flight, and increased social segregation.
Its easy to be complacent in Fort Collins when so many quality of life measures are strong and healthy. We’re a platinum bike-friendly community and regularly make the short list of great places to live, go to college, start a new business, and raise a family. This complacency might go a long way towards answering the puzzling question of why-only months after the 2016 presidential election, amid a dramatic burst of activism and civic engagement around the country-our recent city council election turnout was the lowest in 20 years.
But complacency is dangerous, and growth and prosperity breed a tension between who we have always been and where our current policies and planning are steering us.
If you believe, like most Fort Collins residents, that congestion, lack of affordability, pollution, and sprawl are pressing threats, complacency should cause you concern. If you believe in building a safe community for kids to roam and grow up, and for seniors to stay active and engaged as they age, complacency is a profound danger. If you believe that working families should be able to live and play in the city their labor supports, complacency is an anchor and the time for action is now. And that action can begin by asking our city council to fully commit to Cityplan.
Fort Collins’ planning department is among the best anywhere (of note: the Colorado Chapter of the American Planning Association has recently selected the Fort Collins Downtown Plan as a recipient of the 2017 APA Colorado Honor Award). They encompass a spectrum of values and experience as diverse as the city itself, from folks who’ve been here for years and know every curb cut and stormwater retention basin from memory, to young professionals attuned to emerging ideas and best practices for urban sustainability.
Last fall, during the city budget process, these committed planners proposed a visionary and ambitious update to our city plan. This plan would be different from previous plans in a few important ways: first, it would integrate our city master plan, transportation plan, and transit plan updates into one process. This would provide a better result and provide for a robust conversation about the relationships among those individual elements. It was also intended to include a greatly increased commitment to equity, inclusion, and community health and wellness. “Cityplan” was approved as part of the 2017-2018 budget, RFPs were sent, contracts were prepared.
Things hit a snag at a council work session in May, when city staff presented the proposed plan to council and a number of questions arose. Specific concerns vary depending on who you ask, but they include a sense from council members that the proposed update reinvents the wheel, shoehorns in initiatives that are outside the appropriate scope of a city plan process, or simply that the existing plan is working and the current proposal is overkill.
The future of the plan as originally conceived was cast into doubt and talk began of reductions in scale on the order of 35-40 percent. By some accounts, the reduction in scope is likely to trim the plan to a nuts-and-bolts land use and transportation policy guide. It will almost certainly require walking back prioritization of equity and inclusion (the challenging, time consuming, but critical work of engaging historically marginalized populations in planning processes that have such a profound impact on their access to health and opportunity.)
It should be clear to anyone in Fort Collins that we’re rapidly changing. Some of our challenges are conventional growing pains associated with the transition from a big town to a small city. But we also face tough questions about the future of energy and transportation technology. Our stubborn commitment to an unsustainable transportation status quo belies a lack of genuine resolve in tackling our climate action goals. And socially, we face an urgent, time-sensitive need for thoughtful consideration of how to integrate long neglected neighborhoods into our regional prosperity without driving out long-time residents.
Fort Collins is still in a tentative and precarious phase of adopting a true triple bottom line vision of community sustainability. How do we “bake in” inclusion and equity (a word that does not appear in the last iteration of city plan from 2011)? How do we measure and internalize them with shared language, metrics, and concrete policies, like we have for economic health and climate action plan?
Our city plan isn’t simply about surveys and prescriptions. It’s a community-wide conversation–a dialogue about how to align our policies and budgets with our long-term vision. It’s an opportunity for leaders and planners to learn about and inform community values. It’s a conversation about what what kind of Fort Collins our children will inherit, a conversation that has not always engaged all voices equally. It’s a manifesto for how we grow and who is welcome here. And this update is a timely response to the constellation of challenges on the horizon. It asks, “How do we get there from here?”
Fort Collins faces growth challenges that are formidable. But we also have a city council that is engaged, accessible, and responsive. We have planners and staff who are dedicated and capable. And we have a proposal on the table for a plan update that is the ambitious, comprehensive process that our children need and deserve.
No one, least of all Bike Fort Collins, presumes to have all the answers to affordability, sustainable living wages, displacement, and fostering inclusive and representative leadership. But if the City of Fort Collins began to take the same pride in social entrepreneurship and innovation that it takes in green tech, we could be a national pioneer, and make huge strides in resilience. We are a big enough city that these challenges have real consequences for thousands of people, but small enough that–with courage–we can change course more nimbly than a massive urban center.
There is no more urgent priority for Fort Collins in 2017 than robust and inclusive long-term planning that manifests our triple bottom line commitment to sustainability. With that in mind, Bike Fort Collins invites our partners and supporters to join us in asking our city leaders (email@example.com) to reconsider scaling back the plan update, and honor the hard work and expertise that have served us so well for so long. Let’s have a community-wide conversation about where we’re headed, and make sure everyone is invited and heard.
Dear City Leaders,
With congestion, pollution, growth, affordability, and sprawl looming on the horizon as long term challenges to keeping Fort Collins great. I urge you to invest in the full Cityplan proposal. Cityplan is not just about buildings and codes. It is a manifesto for our values and an opportunity for a community wide conversation about our identity and long term vision.
Our city planners are outstanding professionals, with a deep understanding of our past and the necessary vision to help us built a resilient future.
“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” – Jane Jacobs
Have you heard?! Fort Collins Bike Share is teaming up with Kaiser Permanente to bring you yet another incentive program to participate in this summer!
The Ride All Summer Prize Giveaway program is now in its second month! There are two ways to participate:
June’s top 5 riders have already been announced on our webpage! Congrats Daniel D., Rob V., Melissa H., Olivia C., and Ian J.! Special thanks to Topo Designs for providing last month’s special prize giveaway!
Who can participate?
Anybody who is 18 or older and has established an account with our bike share at bike.zagster.com/fortcollins can participate. (You can also download the Zagster app on the Apple or Google Play stores.) Our bike share’s medical insurance policy doesn’t cover children and adolescents, therefore we are only able to rent bikes to adults age 18 and older.
How will we contact you?
We will contact you directly via the email associated with your account, so be sure to check it frequently!
When will I be notified if I’ve won?
For the top 5 rider of the month promotion, we’ll send you an email within two weeks of the month’s end. For the grand prize giveaway, we’ll send you an email on Friday, September 29th.
Are winners announced publicly?
Yes, all winners are announced publicly on our webpage, Facebook, and Instagram – we’ll use your first name and last initial to identify you. Grand prize winners will be announced on Friday, September 29th; top 5 riders of the month will be announced within two weeks following the previous month’s end.
What will the prizes be?
The prize of the month will be announced on our webpage for our top 5 rider giveaway. Stay tuned for our grand prize giveaway announcement coming soon!
You’ve got me hooked! I’m psyched! How do I tag you on all of my adventures?
Awe, shucks! You’re too sweet! You can use #fcbikeshare to let us know where the Zagster cruiser bikes end up this summer. Goofy selfies and/or creative bike routes are highly encouraged!
Okay enough internet-ing! Now I just want to go out and RIDE! But wait – first things first – I need to protect my noggin!
Glad you mentioned it. I’ll answer your enthusiasm with a question – did you know that you can purchase a helmet for just $5 at Visit Fort Collins? That’s right – you can BUY, not rent, your own nutcase-style helmet from our friends at the local tourism office in Old Town Square.
Mon – Thu: 8:30 – 5
Fri: 8:30 – 7
Sat: 11 – 7
Sun: 11 – 5
Toll free phone
One last question – what has Fort Collins Bike Share been up to since Bike To Work Day / Bike From Work Bash?
Amongst other projects and events, we’ve been filming to promote the Ride All Summer Prize Giveaway! A totally wacky promo video is coming your way soon!! Special thanks to Chris and Jamaal from FC Public Media for all your hard work helping us get started!
In the meantime, I’ll leave you with these behind-the-scene gems! Check out the GoPro camera-mounted rig FC Public Media built us out of PVC pipe! We think it looks like a unicorn and a scorpion…but maybe that’s just our imagination running wild 😉
And keep an eye out…..Bike Prom is coming up! (with another chance to ‘scavenge’ some prizes!)
Cool public art in Madison
Last week, while most of you and most of the Bike Fort Collins team were here in Northern Colorado enjoying what I’m told was another great Bike to Work Day, I had the honor of joining Mayor Wade Troxell, city manager Darin Atteberry, director of planning, development and transportation Laurie Kadrich, and FC Bikes program manager Tessa Greegor in Madison, WI for the first edition of PeopleforBikes’ PlacesforBikes Conference (PFB).
The opening day consisted of a smaller Big Jump City cohort summit, with 40 or so reps from all 10 Big Jump Cities, which include New York City, Austin, Tuscon, New Orleans and Providence. Fort Collins stood out in size (smallest by a good margin) and by demographics (at almost 90%, we were the whitest city in the room), but I was most impressed by how much the cities had in common, and how our strengths and challenges complimented each other. I’m looking forward to staying connected with their efforts and learning as well as sharing our successes. Day one wrapped up with a networking dinner at the home of Trek CEO John Burke, with an AMAZING sunset view across the lake.
Subsequent days brought another 250 participants from all over the US for an engaging and well curated set of workgroups and panel discussions that broke the work ahead into 4 categories: plan, build, engage, and measure.
After a huge Slow Ride from the conference to the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, we enjoyed a cocktail reception and awards dinner, where Team Fort Collins received an award for community engagement. It turns out that even without adjusting for size, Fort Collins garnered the most feedback of any Big Jump city for its community survey. The Award also recognized all the robust and innovative community engagement tools the city, BFC and our partners have developed, from Open Streets and Project Fairs, to NoCo Bike Show and this blog, to MapNoCo and our countless community partner orgs working together to promote bicycling in NoCo.
One particularly exciting development was the release of a beta version of PeopleforBikes’ Bike Network Analysis tool. This ambitious project takes bike network data to a next level by analyzing not just the amount of low stress networks and bike infrastructure, but also the overall network connectivity (how well do those routes connect to things like work and school and groceries):
Friday morning brought a Mayor’s panel, where Mayor Troxell joined the mayors of Memphis, Fort Worth, and Milwaukee to talk about the role of bikes in addressing each city’s challenges and building towards our visions. We learned a lot, and got a chance to share how many great things are going on in Fort Collins.
And importantly, we got confirmation that the concerns that Bike Fort Collins has been rallying around- transportation equity, affordability, how to change public conversations about free parking, autocentrism, and smarter growth and land use- are challenges that all of the great bike cities are talking about and strategizing around. We all have lots to do, but there’s lot of really smart folks dedicated to making Bike Advocacy Phase 3 the most transformative era yet for active transportation.
Other notes for July
In Madison, I got word that Transfort received overwhelming pushback against its proposed realigning Route 12. If you remember, we spoke out about protecting Route 12 last month. The proposed realignment would have created a transit desert in SW Fort Collins affecting thousands of FRCC Students, people with disabilities, low income communities, and the Harmony Library. We were glad to see the city responded to the voices of concerned communities members. Thanks to everyone who reached out.
No pictures yet, but BFC was honored last week by Biz West as a Mercury 100 Business. That means we’re one of the 20 fastest growing businesses in our size class. It’s a great honor that as a nonprofit we have found a growth path without compromising our values or vision. My tenure here has been challenging and has forced me to ask tough questions of myself, our board, our community supporters, the public at large and our local leaders, and we are starting to explore those questions in a way I’m proud of. We can, of course, always use your support to keep the pedals turning.
July 15th brings the second edition of the 2nd annual Ride with Pride, our Northern Colorado Pride Fest Weekend social ride. Last year we had a great lowkey ride and made lots of new friends. This year we’re hoping for more of the same. Ride leaves from the Pavillion at Fossil Creek Park at 9:00 AM Saturday.
The MapNoCo project is starting to gather a little steam, but we still need you, the bike-faithful, to help out: check out the site and add your neighborhood, sidewalks, bike lanes, hazards, etc. This is a long term project, so its good to get a baseline now to watch progress over time. Please consider a share on your nextdoor groups, community orgs, churches, etc. This program has the potential to have a big impact on transportation and development policy in the future but it needs your feedback. Neighborhood level data matters!
We continue to be concerned by City Council’s direction to staff to scale back the Cityplan process. In a time when all of the significant challenges to our continued health and prosperity (from affordability to parking to congestion to carbon emissions to health equity to smart growth) are connected to land use, transportation and transit planning, we have big questions about council backing away from the commitment it made during the budget process to engage in a robust plan update with the goal of integrating land use, transportation and transit plan in to one process, address the huge cultural and technological changes since the last plan update, and commit to prioritizing a more equitable, inclusive public process to define community priorities. You can let council know that we need a real plan update. With all of the cultural, growth and technology changes in motion right now, and our next crack at an update likely a decade away or more, we cannot afford to rollback long term planning if we want to continue to thrive.
Chris J Johnson
Not everyone would consider a sanitation company a good fit for a bike friendly business. However, Gallegos Sanitation (GSI) became a bronze status Bike friendly business in December 2016, due, in part, to the efforts of its Sustainability Coordinator, Becca Walkinshaw. Becca has championed the BFB initiative but she also had many other teammates within GSI who jumped at the opportunity to show their support to the bike friendly community the company serves.
“GSI’s leadership team supports a biking culture because it directly impacts the health and safety of our employees, the health and safety of our employees directly affects our community. GSI strives to educate our employees on the importance of being healthy and safe- at home, at work and in the community.”
Getting the BFB designation in December was perfect timing for GSI’s new year’s resolution: “Walk the walk.” Start biking to work every day. Biking is not new to the employees at GSI. In Becca’s case, she loves it and has biked her whole life. But for the past several years, there have been barriers to biking consistently. When the idea of helping Gallegos become a Bike Friendly Business arose, it got Becca excited about biking again.
Since December, Becca has commuted by bike to work and has rediscovered her favorite part about cycling—having time to ‘zen out’ while biking, and getting to work mentally refreshed and energized. Her commute now takes about twenty minutes; and as the months go by that time is getting shorter!]
This is also something Becca is teaching her children. She wants them to consider biking a normal activity and wants them, and everyone, to think about biking before just jumping into a car. There is so much that can be reached by bike in Fort Collins; not to mention all the mental and physical benefits to cycling and being out in nature.
This commitment is important too, to show everyone in the company that biking is doable, even for a unique company with a rural setting, few customers at the location, and long hours in trucks. Gallegos employees represent a diverse demographic and not everyone is experienced in the cycling culture. However, there is a strong company pride and desire to be recognized for their efforts and contributions in the community.
Gallegos employees want the public to see that they care and are improving where possible. Becca had to get creative to show how this business fits into the League of American Bicyclists structure, and the most important way was to translate their high standard of safety to biking.
Becca collaborated with GSI Safety Manager, Tom Clock, to make certain that Gallegos drivers knew the rules of the road for cyclists and motorists. As a company, they respect the biking culture and want to share the road with everyone safely. To that end, Gallegos Operations Managers are trained as Bike Friendly Drivers, through the city’s class series. In addition, Tom became certified as a Bike Friendly Driver educator which means he trains their drivers via the program materials.
Gallegos’s designation as a bronze Bike Friendly Business is still new so there is a strong effort to be visible as a cyclist and biking commuter. Becca noticed that employees have begun having more conversations about biking and talk to each other about how far they ride, and what other activities are available to them; and look to more experienced cyclists as guides or mentors. She loves this change and works to normalize the biking culture in hopes that this will help reverse perceived barriers to biking.
“We really, as a company, respect the [biking] culture. We want to share the road with bikes and regularly communicate this with our drivers, too. So, we’re really trying hard with bike awareness and worked to truly understand what bike safety means and [can] pass it on. This is a top priority: sharing the road and sharing information; understanding how to coexist with bikes.”
Local Racing in Full Swing
by BFC Board Member Will Hickey
Our city is amazing for riding bikes in any capacity, but when it comes to local racing Fort Collins is in a league of its own. From April through October there a grassroots races every week right here in town. Grassroots races are as much community building events as they are competitions. Brand new racers are welcome, there’s no need to buy a racing license, and the experienced riders are always happy to answer questions.
The racing world is full of jargon which can make it feel elitist and unapproachable. Here’s a quick primer explaining the two series that are currently in progress.
Thursday in June are the Taft Hill Time Trial. “Time Trials” are races against the clock over a fixed course. Riders leave the start every 30 seconds in a predetermined order and ride the out-and-back course as fast as they can. The race promoter records each racer’s start and finish times and some quick math in Excel shows who covered the course the fastest. Riders often catch each other during the race but drafting is prohibited.
The time trial is the ultimate test of fitness for experienced racers, but it’s also the easiest race for curious beginners. There’s no complicated rules or strategy; just a start line, a finish line, and as much (or as little) pain as you care to inflict on yourself in between.
Tuesdays evenings in June and July are the City Streets Criteriums. Criteriums (crits, for short) are mass-start races on short closed courses. Riders of similar fitness and experience ride together around a half-mile paved circuit. Unlike time trials, crits allow drafting. Riding close behind another racer dramatically reduces wind resistance allowing racers to go faster with less effort. As a result riders of varying fitness levels often stay together in small groups, and the racing becomes tactical rather than just about fitness.
This format is more complex for beginners, but makes the races less predictable and much more exciting for spectators. Watching local racers battle it out on a course lined with dump trucks and snowplows is the most fun you can have at the Fort Collins City Streets Department, guaranteed!
That’s all for now, but there are more series coming later in the year (including mountain biking and cyclocross for riders who prefer dirt trails). Check out the race calendar on Your Group Ride for a full look at what’s in store.