While every week is a week of thinkin’ bikes for us, last week was an especially wonderful week of thinking about bikes, as the City’s FC Moves Department brought the ThinkBike Workshop to Fort Collins—all the way from the Netherlands. Naturally, given BFC’s vision for Fort Collins to be the Amsterdam of the U.S. when it comes to cycling, we couldn’t have been more excited.
As we originally shared that it was coming back in March, the ThinkBike Workshop is a formal program of the Dutch Cycling Embassy, in partnership with Dutch mobility experts, Mobycon and Goudappel. In addition to BFC’s participation, invited participants and attendees included representatives from not only city departments, like FC Moves, Traffic Operations, Streets, Parks and Recreation, Transfort, and Capital Projects, but also representatives from CSU’s Transportation and Design departments, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the North Front Range Metropolitan Planning Organization, and Olsson, one of the city’s current mobility consultants.
As a way to help kick-off the implementation of the newly adopted Active Modes Plan, the aim of the workshop was to help Fort Collins learn how to build a cycling network that, as in the Netherlands, is safe and suitable for people of all ages, abilities, and for different types of bicycles.
Following a warm welcome from Mayor Jeni Arndt on Tuesday, April 18, Margot Daris from the Dutch Cycling Embassy, Lennart Nout from Mobycon, and Richard ter Avest from Goudappel tag-teamed presentations over the next three days beginning with their approach to overall network design, then moving to the “orgware” (internal and external partnerships) and “software” (the human and emotional element) needed to be a world-class cycling city, in addition to “hardware” (infrastructure and the physical environment), as well as design requirements and principles for corridor, intersection, and signal design.
While not officially part of the ThinkBike itinerary, BFC was proud to host Margot, Lennart, and Richard, as well as Brooke Struve from the FHWA, on our RAT Ride on Tuesday evening with nearly a dozen other community members. A bike tour was part of the Workshop early that day, but our RAT Ride allowed us to showcase even more of our bicycle facilities and infrastructure, providing the out-of-town guests an even more thorough flavor for what it’s like to bicycle in Fort Collins.
In a celebratory manner, the Workshop concluded on Thursday evening at New Belgium Brewing with a FREE, open-to-the-public screening of the documentary, Together We Cycle, which provides an indepth overview of the history of how The Netherlands came to foster and establish the bike culture that it is known for worldwide today–where cycling is the obvious choice for most citizens. Excitingly for BFC, this is the same movie we brought to town as part of a virtual Bicycle Film Festival back in June of 2020. Following the film, we were honored to have BFC’s Executive Director, Dave Dixon, lead a panel discussion that included Margot, Lennart, and Richard, as well as Cortney Geary, FC Moves’ Active Modes Manager and Mayor Arndt. Dave was able to ask the panelists questions about their experience over the three days, providing audience members a summary or glimpse into the content and topics that were covered, as well as hear their insights about the movie.
It was an especially inspiring week for all workshop participants. A special thanks to FC Moves for making the program happen. BFC will be sure to do its part in helping to keep that inspiration top-of-mind as we (as a community) move into the execution and implementation phase of the Active Modes Plan.
ICYMI: Below is a trailer for Together We Cycle from the virtual Bicycle Film Festival in June 2020.