Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bikes Belong August '08 Newsletter

Bikes Belong Retailer Survey: Are High Gas Prices Fueling Sales?

Bikes Belong is conducting a survey to see how high gas prices are affecting sales of bicycles, accessories, and service work. With gas prices skyrocketing to more than $4 per gallon, many Americans are turning to bicycling for transportation. We're gathering information about whether more people are using bicycles for short trips.

If you are a bike store owner or manager, please take three minutes to complete our online survey. The results will help us paint a clearer picture of bicycling as a simple, affordable transportation solution. The answers you provide will help us make our case for government support for bicycling.

Go to

Bikes Belong Board Members Meet with Senator Barack Obama

On June 12, members of the Bikes Belong board of directors participated in a private meeting with Democratic presidential nominee-to-be Barack Obama in Chicago. Bikes Belong executive director Tim Blumenthal spoke for the bicycle industry and stressed the importance of boosting federal funding for bicycling projects and programs, including Safe Routes to School. Senator Obama said if elected president, he will support increased funding for bicycling.

After the meeting, Obama spoke for nearly 30 minutes to a gathering of 160 bicycle industry leaders and other guests. This landmark event, hosted by F.K. Day of SRAM, was the first time the bike industry has orchestrated a bicycling-focused strategy discussion/fundraiser with a presidential candidate. Bikes Belong is working to arrange a similar meeting with Republican nominee John McCain.

Learn more.

Conventions Bike Project On Track

When delegates, party officials, and the national media convene at the Democratic and Republican national conventions later this year, they'll be greeted by a revolutionary new offering: free loaner bikes to use during the events.

Bikes Belong, in partnership with leading health insurance provider Humana, will bring 1,000 bicycles to the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, August 25-28 and another 1,000 bicycles to the Republican National Convention in St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 1-4. This effort is intended to showcase bicycling as a healthy, convenient transportation option for short trips.

Many Bikes Belong members are contributing to this high-profile project. Fuji, Giant, Raleigh, Schwinn, Specialized, and Trek are providing bikes. Erik's Bike Shop, Penn Cycle, and Park Tool in Minnesota and Bicycle Village in Colorado are helping assemble them. Bell Sports and Trek will supply helmets. OnGuard is donating locks. Pedros and SRAM will provide onsite technical support.

Learn more.

Bicycling Prominent on Capitol Hill

The bicycling movement is gaining credibility and influence with the U.S. Congress. Bicycling is increasingly seen as a solution to climate change, rising gas prices, the obesity crisis, and road congestion. Bikes Belong continues to represent the U.S. bicycle industry in Washington, D.C., and promote bicycle-friendly legislation. This year's legislative highlights include:

  • A pro-bike resolution passed the House of Representatives
  • A Complete Streets bill was introduced in the House and Senate
  • A new Republican Senate bike caucus chair was named (Olympia Snowe of Maine)
  • The Bicycle Commuters Benefits Act was included in a clean energy tax package
  • Bicycling was cited in the Green Public Schools Act
  • Draft climate change legislation supported bike facility funding

Learn more.

Bikes Belong and Rails-to-Trails: Quantifying the Federal Investment in Bicycling

Bikes Belong—with industry support and in partnership with many other bicycling advocacy groups—invested a lot of time and money to secure $4.5 billion in federal funding for bicycling facilities and programs in the 2005 federal transportation law. Now we're gearing up to do it again as the next transportation bill is developed for Congressional review next year.

To justify increased federal funding for bicycling, we must demonstrate that the prior federal investments have been well spent. We're teaming with the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy on a research project to quantify the positive results of federal bike spending on communities and health. Entitled "Active Transportation for America," this large-scale project will be crucial as we work to prioritize bicycling in the reauthorization effort. Look for a project report in early 2009.

U.S. Mayors Support Bicycling with a Resolution

At its annual meeting June 20-24, 2008, the U.S. Conference of Mayors voted to adopt a resolution to ensure that bicycling is integrated into national transportation, climate, energy, and health policy initiatives. Bikes Belong's Tim Blumenthal and the League of American Bicyclists' Andy Clarke attended the conference to promote the benefits of bicycling to this influential group. This resolution is the first of its kind among mayors and signifies increased support for bicycling throughout the country.

Read the resolution.

Bikes Belong Connects with Governors

Governors shape transportation and recreation priorities in their states. Many go on to serve in the U.S. Senate; some even become presidents. They are an ideal audience for our pro-bicycling messages.

With this in mind, Bikes Belong attended the Western Governors' Association summer meeting June 29-July 1 in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. We teamed with local advocacy group, Friends of Pathways, to lead bike rides at the event and showcase bicycling to governors from throughout the western U.S. Climate change policy and the future of energy resources topped the conference agenda, providing an ideal framework to promote bicycling as a solution to these challenges. Several governors expressed interest in doing more for bicycling in their states.

Bicycle Friendly Program Expands to States and Businesses

In partnership with the League of American Bicyclists, Bikes Belong recently helped launch Bicycle Friendly State and Bicycle Friendly Business programs to complement the Bicycle Friendly Community initiative.

The Bicycle Friendly State program will initially rank all 50 states, using more than 50 criteria ranging from state laws to advocacy and education programs. The first listing will be published in September. More than a dozen states have already completed the data collection. Learn more at

The new Bicycle Friendly Business program launched in June. It offers resources and technical assistance to help businesses create the culture and facilities to promote bicycling. The program appeals to businesses' corporate social responsibility and greening efforts. Learn more at

Bikes Belong Awards Five REI/Bicycle Friendly Community Grants

In June, Bikes Belong selected five designated and aspiring Bicycle Friendly Communities to receive funds to help them make bicycling more safe, convenient, and appealing places to ride. These grants, designed to pinpoint specific needs outlined by each community in their Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) application, help pay for bike plans, technical assistance, pilot projects, and innovative cycling initiatives. Awards went to:

  • Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Flint, Michigan
  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • New Haven, Connecticut
  • New Orleans, Louisiana

This grant program is administered by the Bikes Belong Foundation in partnership with the League of American Bicyclists. It is made possible by the generous support of Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI).

Learn more.

Bicycling Booklet Updated for 2008

Bikes Belong has updated and reprinted our booklet, Bicycling: Moving America Forward. This document is an invaluable tool that summarizes the many benefits of bicycling.

The 2008 version includes four more pages, bringing the total to 20. The new booklet includes more focus on today's hot topics: bicycling for transportation, safe routes to school, complete streets, and bike-sharing programs. In addition, all the statistics and charts have been updated.

View the booklet.

Kate Scheider Joins Bikes Belong as Research & Statistics Coordinator

Bikes Belong recently hired Kate Scheider as our first full-time research and statistics coordinator—a position that is funded by the Bikes Belong Foundation. Kate is helping compile powerful, concise statistics and clear, irrefutable research to make the case for bicycling with government leaders, foundation funders, the media, and the public.

Scheider is a 2007 graduate of Williams College in Massachusetts. Since then, she has worked as a research assistant at Harvard University and as a cartographer at Geologic Data Systems in Denver. Her senior thesis in geosciences included a stint at NASA. Scheider is a strong road, mountain, and cross racer and was recently named the Colorado State Criterium Champion.

Contact Kate at

Upcoming Events

Safe Routes to School National Partnership Annual Meeting
September 2 - Seattle, Washington

Pro Walk/Pro Bike
September 2-5 - Seattle, Washington

Interbike OutDoor Demo
September 22-23 - Boulder City, Nevada

September 24-26 - Las Vegas, Nevada

Interbike OutDoor Demo East
October 21-22 - Providence, Rhode Island

Facts & Stats

  • A 2008 study found that adolescents who participated in bicycling, in-line skating, or skateboarding more than four times a week were 48% less likely to be overweight as adults.

  • The same study found that overweight adolescents who participated in any of these activities three to four days per week were 85% more likely to become normal-weight adults.

Source: Menschik, D., et al., Adolescent physical activities as predictors of young adult weight, Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 162, 23-28