Category Archives: Bicyclist Narrative

Kathryn Zeringue Talks Bike Share

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be interviewing some local leaders and transportation specialists to get their thoughts on the Raleigh Bike Share. These interviews aren’t an investigation into feasibility; we already know that Raleigh is a good fit for a bike share! Instead, these conversations give us the chance to get an in-depth look at what the bike share might mean for different parts of our community. For our first interview, Jacob Clayton, an Oaks and Spokes volunteer and lecturer in the English Department at NCSU, interviewed Kathryn Zeringue, NCSU’s Transportation Demand Manager.

INTERVIEW #1: Kathryn Zeringue

Kathryn Zeringue looks at the camera from on top of of her black road bicycle in a parking lot.
Kathryn Zeringue, Transportation Demand Manager at NCSU

Kathryn Zeringue is the Transportation Demand Manager at North Carolina State University(1). As the TDM at NCSU, Zeringue promotes carpooling, vanpooling, walking, carsharing, ridesharing, and, of course, bicycling. Having lived in Raleigh, N.C., Blacksburg, Va. and the cycling hub of Austin, Texas, she knows a bit about transportation cycling. I sat down with Zeringue to talk about what the Raleigh Bike Share might mean for our community last Wednesday morning.

Zeringue currently lives in Durham, and she commutes to Raleigh every day by bus. Her bus drops her off on Hillsborough Street, at which point she walks a little over a mile to her office on Sullivan Drive. The practicality of the bike share is obvious to Zeringue; having a bicycle available on Hillsborough street would provide a “last mile solution,” effectively shortening many university employees’ commutes every morning.

NC State students also stand to benefit from the Raleigh Bike Share program, Zeringue argues. It could “give students a lot more choices” in terms of engaging with businesses and events downtown. Many NC State students don’t bring cars to campus, and the GoRaleigh bus system can be intimidating for students who aren’t familiar with public transit. As an instructor at NC State, I know first-hand how disconnected many first-year students feel from downtown, and, with dining and recreation facilities on campus, it’s easy for students to avoid the larger city entirely. The Raleigh Bike Share could be one step in establishing a corridor between students and Raleigh’s thriving downtown. Restaurants, museums, and arts venues get student business, and students get a chance to plug into Raleigh-based companies as they consider their professional futures.

The university has a long history of cooperating with the City of Raleigh to make the city and the campus friendlier to cyclists. NC State’s transportation planners face some unusual, jurisdiction-based challenges when adding to existing infrastructure, but, according to Zeringue, “most of the success [NC State has] had getting bike lanes in has been with the city of Raleigh.” With five bike share stations planned on NC State’s campus, the potential for future collaboration between the university and the city seems high. At this point, the university, like many of our community partners, seems to be waiting for the city to put forward a plan.

Zeringue also sees opportunities for bike share use during Raleigh’s lengthy festival season. During major festivals like Hopscotch, SparkCon and the Oaks and Spokes festival, commuters might be attracted to transportation alternatives that don’t require consulting transit schedules, fighting for parking spots, or detouring around closed-off streets. Other cities have already seen the mutually beneficial relationship between festivals and bike shares. Austin B-Cycle, for example, set their single-day record with 3,032 checkouts during the 2015 SXSW festival.

I closed out our interview by asking what advice NC State’s Transportation Demand Manager has for the Raleigh’s elected officials as they consider whether or not to support the bike share program. Our leadership should “[build] spaces for people, not for vehicles” and “understand the value in prioritizing transportation projects that promote community,” she said. “A bike share could do that.”

 

Remember, this is the first of a number of O&S Bike Share Interviews. Check back regularly for more discussions with leaders from all corners of our community!

 

(1) The opinions expressed in this interview are not intended to reflect institutional policies or commitments on the part of North Carolina State University.

No, it’s not a silly question: Which is a cycling town, Boulder or Raleigh?

There is a quiet but certain grace in a well-tuned rotating paceline.  You see them every day, stretching and whirling up and down US36, the primary artery that runs across the face of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains and through the small city of Boulder, CO.  Matching kit is the norm; professional sponsorship is unremarkable.  Gaunt pros shuffle around the local coffee shops, quick only when they need to beat you to that last empty table.  To many, Boulder is the picture of a cycling town, but, while I am currently a Boulderite, I find myself compelled to write about Raleigh. – Jake Clayton Continue reading No, it’s not a silly question: Which is a cycling town, Boulder or Raleigh?

Centerline Digital’s Employee Bike-Share

Centerline Digital Offices
The entrance to Centerline Digital offices located in Raleigh’s Glenwood South District

Located in Downtown Raleigh’s Glenwood South District, lies Centerline Digital, a content marketing agency.  Their professional focus is on solving complex communications challenges with strategic and creative digital content, but their workplace environment embodies much more than that.

Centerline Digital’s offices are housed in what was originally a warehouse, but most recently was a gym. The space has been redesigned as an office, but when I arrived to interview John Lane, the VP of Strategy and Creative, I thought for sure I was in the wrong place. The space doesn’t feel like a workplace. There is a bar with taps for beer in the middle of the room, and people sitting in sofa chairs, or restaurant-style booths, eating lunch while working on their laptops. It feels too laid back and comfortable to be a workplace, but after talking with John I realized that this was just part of the culture Centerline Digital has cultivated. They want their employees to enjoy their job, and feel at home in their workspace.  John sees the company’s bicycle rack as a “nice outward expression of an inward culture”.

When Centerline Digital moved into its current office space, they realized there were a plethora of restaurants and destinations that were a bit too far to walk, but not really far enough to justify driving -even in the most walkable neighborhood in Raleigh.  Wanting to encourage employees to drive less, and also to give them an opportunity to exercise more, they invested in creating a shared bicycle service. Bicycles are good choice for that “in between” distance for a short trip — and are often quicker than a car for trips under 3 miles.  With the shared bikes, any employee who wants to use a bike can talk to front desk staff to get a key, as well as a helmet and a detachable basket. This allows them the option to ride to places such as Cameron Village, or Raleigh’s core downtown area, giving them more range during their lunch break.

Continue reading Centerline Digital’s Employee Bike-Share

I am not a cyclist.

I am not a cyclist.  At least I’ve never identified as one.  I’ve never bought a bike, there is no bike rack on my car, and “cycle score” was never a consideration when I moved into Raleigh. I wanted to walk into town and accepted driving into work.

Fast forward a couple years and I wouldn’t want to be in the city without a bike.  I use it to socialize, exercise, to get out of the house, or enjoy some nice weather.  Neighbor having after-work beverages a mile or so away?  A bike can be a little easier than getting out the car & finding a spot to park.  Early voting?  Way easier to lock up than find a street spot on a workday.

City Market
Riding a bike doesn’t define a person.  It’s often just a part of the day-to-day.

Continue reading I am not a cyclist.

Learning to Bike in My 30s

By Liz Hester

liz1

If you had asked me before last year about riding a bike, I would have said, I learned how as a kid and hadn’t touched one since I got my driver’s license (except that one beer biking tour in Munich, but that doesn’t really count). At that time, I lived in New York City. Only crazy bike messengers and guys in Spandex rode bikes. It was just too dangerous. And in fact, I kind of hated those guys zooming past in Central Park hunched in packs, taking up all the space and getting angry when you accidentally stepped out of the running lane. They were so aggressive.

But my attitude began to change once I moved back to Raleigh. One of my friends co-founded Oak City Cycling Project and I wanted to be supportive of his venture. But the thought of riding terrified me. Once here, it quickly became apparent that I was going to have to get over it and get on two wheels. Everyone I met rode for transportation and fun. It seemed like everywhere I turned, the conversation was about bikes, components, routes, gear, or simply riding together.

Continue reading Learning to Bike in My 30s