Registration is now open for National Bike to School Day on Wednesday, May 10. Students, educators, families, community partners, and elected officials are invited to register your event and find resources on planning.
Locally, Jennifer Delcourt with Active Routes to School Region 5 is also gearing up for the Race for Registration. Visit her website for details. Check out AHA’s Safe Routes to School in Wake County Toolkit for information on starting and maintaining walking and biking programs as well so that students are active all year long getting to and from school.
The National Center for Safe Routes to School is teaming up with Schwinn to host the Schwinn Bike to School Day Bike Share Giveaway. Ten lucky schools that register their Bike to School Day events on www.walkbiketoschool.org will be selected to win 10 Schwinn SmartStart bikes and 20 Schwinn helmets. Drawings begin on April 19. More information here.
The City of Raleigh is also once again providing Bike to Work Day pit-stops around the area, to encourage local commuters to swap four wheels for two on Friday, May 19th. We’ll keep you updated on the locations of designated pit-stops as the information becomes available.
With the weather steadily improving and more daylight hours available, many of us are itching to get back in the saddle and work out some of the rust in our bones. There are several opportunities coming up for riders to get on the road and take advantage of the warm weather.
Oaks & Spokes has once again teamed up with Tour de Brew for their annual brewery bike tour on April 8th. This event is a fun way to explore the city, spend time with friends, and raise money for a good cause. If you haven’t already, please register today and start fundraising!
Regardless of whether you form a team, ride alone, or don’t register at all please consider volunteering to assist this wonderful cause. Volunteer needs include ride leaders, sweeps, and middle-of-the-packers as well as folks to help out with registration and other on-site roles. If you’re interested in helping out please add your contact information here or send an email to email@example.com. We hope to see you there!
We recently posted an article to our website with several upcoming cycling related events and rides throughout the Spring. We hope to have a more vibrant and comprehensive calendar of events available on our website in the future. If you are hosting or know of any bike events or weekly social rides that you’d like to see included, please send us a Facebook message or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also check out BikeRaleigh for more rides and events.
Bicycle facility updates!
The City of Raleigh is drafting the RFP to get proposals from potential Bike Share vendors/operators and hopes to release it soon. Once they select an operator, they will be focusing on identifying station locations. We’ll keep you up to date on any BikeShare developments as they become available. In the meantime, you can check out the Bike Share Feasibility Report or offer your suggestions for potential bikeshare station locations here.
The City of Raleigh Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission (BPAC) meets on the third Monday of each month. This month’s meeting will be on March 20th at 6:00pm in the Council Chambers at the Raleigh Municipal Building (222 W. Hargett Street). If you’re interested in learning more about what the City of Raleigh has in store for bicycle infrastructure and community engagement, join our Advocacy Committee members at the meeting. Email the Advocacy Coordinator, Molly McKinley, at email@example.com for more information.
It’s that time again!
We are incredibly excited to announce the official 2017 Oaks & Spokes Annual Bicycle Festival event line-up! This year the festival features ten days of fun events from Friday,May 5th to Sunday, May 14th:
May 5th: Capital City Ride and First Friday Bike Ride and Art Show
We will be accepting submissions for the Bike Art Show until April 17th. To submit a work for the show, please email a high resolution photo and the details of your work (media, dimensions, and price, if you wish to sell) to firstname.lastname@example.org. There is no submission fee. Artists whose work is selected for the show will be notified by April 21st.
Full festival details will be released soon, so stay tuned to our Facebook page and website!
Carl Barnett was a much loved member of the downtown biking community who died on September 1st, 2016. On April 20th, Oak City Cycling Project will host a ride commemorating Carl’s unique legacy. He graced many bike events with his fun-loving spirit and uniquely modified bikes. Please join us to celebrate his life and share some of his friends cherished anecdotes. There will also be a silent auction of some of Carl’s prized possessions starting Friday, April 14th and ending the night of the ride. Proceeds will benefit the Historic Mordecai Park. Please contact Renee Foster at email@example.com for more information.
Whether you’re cruising down the road or traversing the trails, Cycling Spoken Here knows that the more you ride your bike, the more you’ll love it. CSH is a community bike shop in Cary, NC that hosts a ton of great social rides geared toward everyone from beginners to experts. On top of group rides, they also host tons of useful workshops and events to help you grow as a cyclist. Check out their website for more information and a detailed calendar of events.
We’re happy to have been invited to the table to discuss ideas for the RDU Forest Trail Center which could include a bicycling “super highway” along I-40 to better connect the Triangle. Big thanks to Wake County Commissioner Sig Hutchinson and Natalie Lew, an avid local MTB trails proponent and activist, for thinking big and moving not only this project forward, but thinking more holistically about funding and implementing these plans. Stay tuned as these projects develop! You can learn more about the bikeway proposal and why we’re so excited about the possibility here.
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Spring is finally here! Take advantage of the warm weather and get on the saddle again with these upcoming events throughout the Triangle. Know of a group or event that we’ve missed? Feel free to comment or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know!
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
For the second installment of our Bike Share Interview series, Kristy Jackson and Jacob Clayton sat down with Drs. Keith Powell and Stanley Elliott of Shaw University. Dr. Elliott is the Vice President for Student Affairs at Shaw, while Dr. Powell is the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs. Student Affairs at Shaw is concerned with all aspects of student life that take place beyond the walls of the classroom, from housing to campus events to, of course, transportation. Our conversation with Drs. Powell and Elliott addressed everything from Shaw’s health and environmental initiatives to the historic university’s continuing importance in Raleigh’s rapidly changing downtown.
Interview #2: Drs. Keith Powell and Stanley Elliott, Shaw University
Powell said the Raleigh Bike Share could be a “great fit” for Shaw University, because they “have students coming from all over.” For students who aren’t from the greater Raleigh area, Powell suggested, the Raleigh Bike Share might be a means for greater exploration of downtown. While we mentioned the Raleigh Bike Share’s impact on student mobility in our interview with Kathryn Zeringue at North Carolina State University, Shaw’s smaller size and downtown location provide a different set of challenges. There is simply no room for more parking near the campus, and Powell says that most students don’t drive. According to officials at Shaw, less than one tenth of the university’s roughly 1,500 students have parking passes (1). For students and staff alike, the Raleigh Bike Share could increase mobility and provide an excellent opportunity to learn more about downtown businesses, events, and even professional opportunities.
The proposal for the Raleigh Bike Share also comes at an opportune time for the historically black university, which is kicking off a new preventative health program called “Know Your Vitals.” Powell pointed out that five of the most deadly health issues for African-Americans, including hypertension and diabetes, could, in many cases, be prevented by lifestyle changes. Their plan includes an increased focus on daily exercise, which the Raleigh Bike share could facilitate. In fact, a 2012 study in the American Journal of Public Health suggests that moderate increases in daily walking and bicycling could significantly reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease and diabetes(2). The largest barrier to student use, Powell suggested, was a lack of knowledge of bicycle-friendly routes around Raleigh. By pairing with community partners like Oaks and Spokes for guided rides and utilizing route maps provided at stations, that hurdle could be easily overcome.
Along with a tool for building healthy habits, Powell sees the Raleigh Bike Share as a step forward for the health of the planet. With Shaw University’s commitment to creating a greener, more eco-friendly campus, alternative transportation solutions like the Raleigh Bike Share are a great fit. Other cities, both nationally and internationally, already boast considerable carbon dioxide savings from their bike share programs. A 2008 report from the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, for example, claims that the number of miles traveled by bicycle saved an annual 47,450 tons of carbon dioxide that would have otherwise been emitted by automobiles(3). Those savings don’t even account for environmental savings on parking lot construction and maintenance; a 2010 article in Environmental Research Letters estimated that the environmental impact of all parking spaces adds 10% to the CO2 emissions of the average automobile(4).
As we concluded, our conversation turned to the rapidly changing demographics of south and south-east Raleigh. With rising housing prices causing many long-time residents to move further from downtown, Shaw University’s surroundings are changing. Powell said that Shaw would be excited to have a Bike Share station on campus, because it offered a “good opportunity for cross-cultural exchange.” Many newer Raleigh residents don’t know much about the 150-year-old institution, and Powell sees a Bike Share station as an opportunity to bring people to the campus and raise awareness about Shaw University’s contributions to downtown Raleigh.
(1) More precisely, Dr. Powell informed us that there were 380 campus permits, 272 of which belonged to staff. Enrollment at Shaw is generally between 1,400 and 1,700 students each semester; that doesn’t include faculty and staff.
(2) Neil Maizlish et al. “Health cobenefits and transportation-related reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in the San Francisco Bay Area.” American Journal of Medicine 103, no.4 (2012). 10.2105/AJPH.2012.300939
Jacob Clayton is a writer and instructor in the Department of English at North Carolina State University. A long-time member of Raleigh’s bicycle community, he’s happy to help write this interview series as an Oaks and Spokes volunteer.