Category Archives: #BikeRaleigh

Tour de Brew is back!

For the last 2 years it has been our honor to partner with Tour de Brew for their annual charity bike ride in Raleigh. In 2016, this event raised more than $22,000 for its designated charity, Water for Good.

We cordially invite you to participate in this year’s ride, taking place on Saturday, April 8th from 10am to 3pm. There are two different routes, visiting six different Raleigh breweries. You can either sign up as a registered rider and start fundraising, or you can volunteer to help out the day of the event as a ride liaison. Both are incredibly fun–you can’t go wrong! If you are interested in being a volunteer, please send us an email at info@oaksandspokes.com.

Welcome to our new Board Members!

Last Saturday night, we held our first annual membership party. In short, it was amazing. We are continually amazed by how supportive, energetic, and diverse our community is. It is folks such as yourselves that give us the energy to keep on fostering the community of people who ride bikes in Raleigh.

To recap, we had five board positions open for election in 2017:

  • Administrative Coordinator
  • (2) At Large Coordinator
  • External Coordinator
  • Membership Coodinator
 All of the nominees gave wonderful, passionate speeches and the effects were apparent. This was an incredibly close race,  and there were no wrong choices. Without further ado this year’s new board members are:
  • Administrative Coordinator: Ken Bowers
  • At Large Coordinator: Renee Foster
  • At Large Coordinator: Athena Wollin
  • External Coordinator: Harry Rybacki
  • Membership Coordinator: Hannah Rainey

To each of the nominees, thank you. You have all demonstrated a commitment to your community that goes above and beyond the norm. We are looking forward to working with each of you over the next two years as we continue to mature our organization and make riding a bike in Raleigh a safe, convenient, and comfortable option for people of all ages and abilities.

Oaks and Spokes Bicycling Festival 2016

Being on a bike brings you closer to community, to nature, and to yourself. From community comes ideas, and from visibility comes reality. Be a part of Oaks and Spokes Festival 2016.

Sun May 1stRaleigh Cat Get your fix on in a bicycle-powered scavenger hunt engaging you, your friends and your community.  Get rolling and get prizes.
 
Mon May 2ndBike-In Movie: No Hand King Rodney Hines is a familiar sight in Raleigh, riding his bike on one wheel, flags attached and flapping, through city streets. Ride on in and catch this flick on the big screen.
 
Tue May 3rdRaleigh Roots Ride  Join us as we explore downtown Raleigh’s most intriguing historical sites by bike. Find out just how much you really know about Raleigh’s unique history.
 
Wed May 4thCrank Arm Social Ride Get your butt in gear and drink beer.  The ride departs from a downtown Raleigh brewery every Wednesday, and we’ll kick it up a notch for the Festival.
 
Thu May 5thRaleigh Bike Polo: Rookie Invite Night Come out to find new friends, cruise leisurely, and learn some skills at bicycle polo!  Enjoy a BBQ and snacks with the crew!
 
Fri May 6thRaleigh Bikes Art Show (SUBMIT Art until April 18!) Mingle and mix among custom hand-made bicycle frames, bike related paintings, photos, sculpture, sketches, prints, crafts and more.  Featuring work from local artists!
 
Sat May 7thMarbles Kids Museum Bike Rodeo If your tyke has a trike or a bike, bring them to the skills course where kids will learn a slew of bike safety smarts.
 
Sun May 8thLady Bike Gang: CycloFemme Ride Join women around the globe as they celebrate women, create communities and remember how good shared momentum feels.
Davon Bruno's winning entry for the Oaks and Spokes 2016 design contest
Davon Bruno’s winning entry for the Oaks and Spokes 2016 design contest!

Red Hat Reacts to Bike Share Proposal

O&S Board Member Harry Rybacki and volunteer Jake Clayton sat down with folks at Red Hat to get their take on the recently-approved Raleigh BikeShare. Red Hat already has a small, private bike share; we mused on the potential relationships between smaller bike shares and the city-wide system. Read on for more from one of the the most recognizable businesses in downtown Raleigh.

Bike Share Interview #3: Red Hat

Red Hat Tower is difficult to miss. Among the most impressive buildings in Raleigh with its modern design and bright red roof, it stands as an apt symbol for one of the leaders in Raleigh’s booming downtown. Oaks and Spokes board member Harry Rybacki, himself a Red Hat employee, took a few minutes to sit down with Christi Turner (Facility Operations Program Manager) and Ben Thedieck (Office Coordinator) to talk about what the Raleigh BikeShare might mean for the tech giant.

Right out of the gate, Turner and Thedieck were excited to share Red Hat’s current alternative transportation initiatives, including their own bike share, Quick Spin. The Quick Spin program helps Red Hat associates  get around town for errands and meetings, much like the larger Raleigh BikeShare might. Turner recalled a recent outing during which “Ben [Thedieck] and I . . . went up to the museum and surprised my youngest son” one afternoon. The Quick Spin program makes sense for downtown commuters, our Red Hatters agreed, because it allows associates to bypass the tedious and time-consuming parking process that accompanies automobile use. Outings like Turner and Thedieck’s help associates get more done during the week, both personally and professionally.

Red Hat’s Quick Spin program incentivizes healthier modes of transportation, helps those who participate integrate with their communities, and takes cars off the road during busy workdays. However, it’s worth noting that most companies don’t operate on the same scale as Red Hat. For smaller companies, a privately-owned bike share may not make sense. In Raleigh’s vibrant start-up community, for example, there are countless talented professionals who stand to benefit from a more comprehensive transportation infrastructure. The Raleigh Bike Share could provide that growing group of professionals with a valuable resource.

While the benefit for smaller companies is obvious, Turner and Thedieck also suggested that the Raleigh Bike Share may have a positive impact on Red Hat’s own alternative transportation initiatives. For starters, the Quick Spin program doesn’t allow Red Hat associates to commute to work via bicycle; it isn’t designed to provide a last mile solution. By contrast, the principle of the last mile rests at the very heart of the Raleigh Bike Share project, which will position bike share stations near bus stops to capitalize on Raleigh’s existing alternative transportation infrastructure.

Along with giving people a range of bicycle options, the Raleigh Bike Share could actually make using Red Hat’s Quick Spin program safer. Turner suggested that “when the city of Raleigh focuses on bike riding in the city, that gets the bikers excited at Red Hat to share the road and give them the same treatment [as cars].” In other words, drivers may acclimate to bicycles. It seems paradoxical, but Turner isn’t the only one who thinks that more bicycles might actually lead to fewer accidents. Eric Lamb, the Transportation Planning Manager for the City of Raleigh, recently suggested that “[t]he more drivers see bikes on the road leads to better awareness and lower accident rates overall” (1). In terms of safety, then, users of smaller bike shares, like NCSU’s WolfWheels or Red Hat’s Quick Spin, actually stand to gain from the widespread adoption of transportation bicycling in Raleigh.

At one point or another, every discussion about bike shares turns to parking. Red Hat’s alternative transportation program, which incentivizes commuters who bike or take the bus, is partially motivated by the increasing demand for parking in downtown Raleigh. In the city’s adopted budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year, more than $17,000,000 is designated for parking (2). However, the true cost of parking may actually be even greater. Sprawling parking, which transportation scholars have called a “subtle subsidy of the automotive industry” has been linked to a range of negative economic and environmental outcomes for cities (3). Red Hat’s Quick Spin program shows an investment in the overall well being of the community. It’s safe to say that Raleigh is proud to have innovative companies like Red Hat call our downtown home. When it comes to alternative transportation, the city could benefit by taking a page from Red Hat’s book.

 

(1)Gala, Christa. “Pedaling in Raleigh.” Raleigh Magazine 2 Feb 2016

(2)“City of Raleigh Adopted Budget 2015-2016” raleighnc.gov

(3)Davis, Amelie Y. et al. “The Environmental and Economic Costs of Sprawling Parking Lots in the United States.” Land Use Policy 27, no. 2 (2010). doi:10.1016/j.landusepol.2009.03.002

Raleigh BikeShare Rolls Into Town

Good news, everyone! Last week, the Raleigh City Council approved the proposal for the Raleigh Bike Share with an 8-1 vote. Oaks and Spokes, WakeUP Wake County, and many other individuals and organizations worked tirelessly to raise this project’s visibility, and the City Council’s overwhelming support is evidence of our ability to affect change at the local level. However, the process of realizing the Raleigh BikeShare’s full potential is still in its infancy. Moving forward, here are some of the benefits and challenges we will likely encounter as the Raleigh BikeShare becomes a reality.

 

First, we would like to thank the City Council for supporting this new addition to Raleigh transit system. As we implement the Raleigh BikeShare, Raleigh will join twenty-seven other US cities as a transportation innovator. Having reviewed bike share programs across the country, we are confident that Raleigh’s BikeShare, which will serve citizens from all across our city, will stimulate our local economy and improve the quality of living in our city. By replacing cars or pedestrian travel for short trips and providing a “last mile solution” for those citizens who use other forms of public transit, the BikeShare will have Raleigh moving in a whole new way.

 

We applaud our representatives for understanding that the Raleigh BikeShare is an addition to the city’s infrastructure. As such, the costs associated with the Raleigh BikeShare should be considered relative to the costs of other elements of our city’s infrastructure. The $438,000 operating cost, which we believe will be largely subsidized by our community partners, is nothing to sneeze at. However, the price tag looks a bit more reasonable beside the adopted budget for parking in the 2015-16 fiscal year, which was $17,849,615, or forty times as much. The cost seems less outlandish next to the numbers for stormwater management, which received $17,748,688 in the 2015-16 budget. We’re not here to criticize these programs; rather, we hope that these numbers help concerned citizens put the price of this new piece of infrastructure into context.

 

We agree with the Council’s conviction that the Raleigh BikeShare must be a transportation solution. For our citizens who use the bus system or park in remote decks, it makes that last mile to work shorter. For others, it offers an alternative to the hassle of congestion and parking for short trips. For those without cars, either by choice or by necessity, the Raleigh BikeShare opens doors across the city. Students from Peace and Shaw suddenly have time for lunch downtown. Young professionals and families in the Glenwood and Forest Hills neighborhoods no longer waste time circling Cameron Village parking lots. Stations on South Person and South Blount provide access across Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, opening yet another gateway to work and play in downtown Raleigh.

 

Finally, we reaffirm our commitment to making the Raleigh BikeShare accessible to citizens all across our city by addressing issues of location and cost. According to a 2013 publication in the Institute of Transportation Engineers Journal, bike programs that are most successful in low-income communities place stations in those communities, deploy targeted advertisements in those communities, recruit workers from those communities, and even work with local nonprofits to subsidize membership costs. The Raleigh BikeShare should strive to be equitable infrastructure; a moral bike sharing program cannot ignore those citizens who face some of the most challenging transportation problems. Nationally, bike shares have begun to help us rethink who bicycles are for. A 2011 study in Transportation Research points out that bike share users do not fit the profile of area cyclists. They are younger. They are more likely to be women. They have lower household incomes than private bike owners, and they are more likely to cycle for utility. Whether a bicycle offers relief from an unsustainable car payment or shortens the last mile, we insist that the Raleigh BikeShare can and must serve the needs of those citizens in Raleigh’s low-income communities. We look forward to working with invested members of the City Council and local partners to help increase accessibility by emphasizing the Raleigh BikeShare’s convenience and value.

 
The road to last week’s council decision has been long, but the journey is not over. If we want the Raleigh BikeShare to be successful, impactful, and equitable, we must all continue to contribute. Whether we are members of the Raleigh City Council, volunteers for Oaks and Spokes, or stakeholders with local partners, it is up to us to decide what the Raleigh BikeShare will be.