February Letter from the ED: We Crushed It


NBC Feb Pano

 

We crushed it.

NoCo Bike Show has been dear to my heart since Dan Porter and I dreamed it up 5 or so years ago now. The vision was born of my frustration at how often I was asked to speak on a niche topic within bike culture, and spent a day preparing materials and a slide show and showed up to find single digit crowds waiting, bored half way through my planned hour.

I had the idea that if instead of dry single topic “presentations” what if instead we put together a regular event with the specific goal of bridging cultural divides among siloed bike subcultures. After all, I’ve been a messenger, a racer, a commuter, an endurance explorer, a parent teaching a kid to ride a bike, and of late, a dog chauffeur. I was betting that a lot of us defy the narrow little boxes that bike culture marketers reduce us to.

5 years later, I’ve been proven right. After a few years off, we relaunched the show in 2016 and spent the year blowing out the cobwebs, working out the marketing and the brand. We’ve talked pro racing, bike police, mountain biking while pregnant, how city traffic cameras tell the difference between cars ans bikes, city projects, crazy adventures, advocacy and everything else we could think of.

We relauched for 2017 on February 9th and had an absolutely great show. You can see above that the crowd at Wolverine Farm was out into the hallway, we got every major bike organization on stage to share their 2017 plans, we got to talk about new races and rides, and our advocacy agenda for the year, and even got to close on a crazy adventure story. oh yeah, and beer. theres always beer.

I admit, I am a ham, I love hosting. I love the seat-of-my pants energy and willful lack of formal preparation; as often as not I don’t have any idea whats on the next slide till I see it. But the thing I love most about NoCo Bike Show is the part that has the least to do with me.

What I really love is how, when the show is over, instead of everyone heading off to their bikes, the air is full of conversations. New connections, new friendships, new partners working to solve problems together and build an even stronger community that defies reductive labels like roadie, or fixie hipster, or dirtbag, or trigeek…

If you know me, you know I love meeting people and introducing unlikely friends. NoCo Bike Show allows me to do that on a huge scale. This month we really crushed it, If you haven’t been yet, don’t worry, we’re just gettin’ started.


Of course, the “bike community” as we think of it, is only part of our responsibility. When we talk about “safe streets”, its sadly true that the people in Northern Colorado for whom safe streets- complete sidewalks, speed curbing, useful transit, bike lanes- are most elusive, are also the people least likely to participate in “bike culture”. Our commitment to our vision means we have to think not just about uniting the various facets of bike culture, but perhaps even more importantly, we have to ask ourselves, and our partners, how are we working to better serve the people who aren’t in the room?

In that spirit, we’re promoting a great professional learning event called Pathways to Health: Connecting Neighborhoods and Streets for All. If you are a community organizer, planner, public health or nonprofit professional, public administrator, or a journalist with an interest in how our built environment-from land use, to affordability, to transportation priorities- affects our health outcomes and how we can craft policies that support safer streets and neighborhoods for all residents, you owe it to yourself to join us on March 23rd. After a keynote presentation by Dr. Richard Jackson, we’ll dive headlong into topic areas like community engagement, policy advocacy, and research and data, with the goal of developing a more accountable, responsive public policy and city plans.


Finally, we’ve spent the last year working up to this next step in our advocacy committee. Funny thing about transportation: it touches everything. the way we design our transportation plans informs every other aspect of our lives. Roads and sidewalks connect us to school, to work, to church, to civic engagement, to our families and friends, to healthy food. They are the lifeblood of our cities and the circuits that connect us to opportunity.

In a small org in a busy city its hard to have eyes on everything all the time. so we’re looking for help. We need folks who are interested in keeping an eye on agendas and long term planning calendars for local and county boards, committees and commissions and meeting with our BFC advocacy teams on a monthly basis to report back and to check in on what we’re doing.

We want to make sure we know everything that’s happening in NoCo that affects our vision of increasing participation in active living and transportation (including development and land use issues), fostering neighborhood and street safety for vulnerable users, promoting equity and inclusion in transportation access and planning.

Our teams are organized into transportation, parks and environment, business, legislative, housing/land use, and community health. And we need your help staying connected. If you want to be part of the BFC Advocacy Action Teams, click though to our advocacy page and sign up.