'Resilience' ride recap

Thanks to ride leader Kathleen Koechlin for a fantastic experience and this write-up!

On the eve of the 15th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 tragedy, 34 cyclists set out to honor those people and things that exemplify resilience. To get to our first stop, the Somali Community Association of Ohio (SCAO), we climbed what the ride leader, Kathleen Koechlin, likes to call the “super-secret trail” which links the Alum Creek trail with the neighborhood of North Linden. It was a challenging uphill climb, but it is a good trail to know if you ever want to commute to Easton or anywhere along the Alum Creek Trail from the Clintonville or North Linden neighborhoods. When we arrived at the first stop, our speaker was nowhere to be found, so Kathleen talked with the group about the meaning of the word “resilience” and why the SCAO was included in the ride. She also provided some details about the Somali population in Columbus and the life that they had fled.

Ride leader Kathleen Koechlin talks with the group about the resilience of Somali refugees. Photo credit: Darrell McGrath

Ride leader Kathleen Koechlin talks with the group about the resilience of Somali refugees. Photo credit: Darrell McGrath

Next we headed north to Westerville’s First Responder Park where we were met by Tom Ullom, retired firefighter and founder of the park. He had set up an amazing display of 9/11 artifacts which included photos of all the firefighters lost on that horrific day 15 years ago. Tom described his friend and inspiration for the park, fallen firefighter Dave Theisen whose memory is honored at this site with a sculpture called "The Crossing", designed by Steve Geddes and Bob Moore. He then gave the account of how the piece of World Trade Center (WTC) Steel, known as C-40, came to find a home in Westerville. You can hear his full presentation here.

Tom Ullom, retired firefighter and founder of Westerville’s First Responder Park, shares how a piece of the World Trade Center made its way to Central Ohio. Photo credit: Napoleon Allen

Tom Ullom, retired firefighter and founder of Westerville’s First Responder Park, shares how a piece of the World Trade Center made its way to Central Ohio. Photo credit: Napoleon Allen

Steel from the World Trade Center. Photo credit: Catherine Girves

Steel from the World Trade Center. Photo credit: Catherine Girves

A photo op stop at Otterbein University on the way to the third stop. Photo credit: Darrell McGrath

A photo op stop at Otterbein University on the way to the third stop. Photo credit: Darrell McGrath

We wound our way through the beautiful streets of Westerville to reach our third and final stop, Inniswood Metro Gardens. There, Cindy Maravich, Senior Environmental Educator, took us into the gardens to sit in a beautiful shaded area outside of what used to be Grace and Mary Innis’s home. She told the story of the sisters who left their home and grounds to the Columbus Metro Parks upon their deaths. She talked about the resiliency of some of the insects and plants in the park and told of the types of wildlife one might see when walking the nearly 2 miles of trails. She even gave us stickers!

Some of the group opted to hang out under the shade of a tree while others ventured into the gardens. Photo credit: Keith Lugs

Some of the group opted to hang out under the shade of a tree while others ventured into the gardens. Photo credit: Keith Lugs

Entertaining ourselves with bike helmet bunny ears while waiting to turn onto Morse Road and then into the Whole Foods parking lot at Easton. Photo credit: Darrell McGrath

Entertaining ourselves with bike helmet bunny ears while waiting to turn onto Morse Road and then into the Whole Foods parking lot at Easton. Photo credit: Darrell McGrath

Finally, we headed back to Easton through the neighborhood known as Strawberry Farms, another good discovery for getting around this area of town by bicycle. The spirit was lite, even as we ended our 22 mile, somewhat hilly ride. It was a great day!

Influencing the influencers

Catherine Girves, Yay Bikes! Executive Director

Catherine Girves, Yay Bikes! Executive Director

When Yay Bikes! works to advance our mission, we are guided by the powerful and uniquely clear theory of change we've developed over the years. We've taken to calling it "The Yay Way!", and it's pretty much omnipresent within our organization. What's perhaps lesser known is through whom we enact our vision for a bike friendly world—or, rather, the primary audiences we believe can help us effect change. There are two: 1) those who want to ride now, whether they are cyclists or still bike curious, without waiting on bicycle-specific street infrastructure and 2) the professionals who are in a position to influence the conditions cyclists encounter when they ride. And I'm happy to report that we've recently had occasion to impact both groups statewide, courtesy the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Ohio Department of Health. And I'm even more happy to report that there's a way you can be involved in this work (scroll to the bottom of this post to learn more)! 

RIDE BUDDY TRAINING

August 23–25 we hosted 10 bicycle advocates from around the state (representing Richland County, Athens, Akron and Stark County in addition to Columbus) at a training designed to provide them the skills to design and lead How We Roll and Ride Buddy–style rides, a la The Yay Way! These intrepid souls spent much of their 2.5-day training on the road, creating and riding routes and practicing their scripts. They'll now be taking what they learned back into their communities to teach others how to ride roads for their everyday travel! 

A group of trainees from around the state learn how to deliver Ride Buddy and How We Roll rides. Photo credit: Meredith Erlewine

A group of trainees from around the state learn how to deliver Ride Buddy and How We Roll rides. Photo credit: Meredith Erlewine

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT RIDES

So far, transportation, parks, health, utilities, economic development, elected officials, law enforcement and planning professionals from numerous communities—Zanesville, Worthington, Troy, Columbus, Miamisburg, Westerville, Powell/Liberty Township, Bexley, Gahanna, Reynoldsburg, Mansfield/Richland County and Fremont, among others—are riding with us to understand how they can better accommodate people who ride for transportation. On routes we create, with help from our members, that showcase the good, bad and ugly of riding in their communities, they get to experience their streets from the perspective of a cyclist. And because they really want to design bike friendly communities and just aren't sure quite what they don't know they don't know, these rides literally transform how people understand their jobs. 

The cool part? You can be involved in this part of our work. (scroll, scroll, scroll) 

Zanesville professionals! Photo credit: David Curran

Zanesville professionals! Photo credit: David Curran

MORPC region professionals! Photo credit: Kerstin Carr

MORPC region professionals! Photo credit: Kerstin Carr

Worthington professionals! Photo credit: Meredith Joy

Worthington professionals! Photo credit: Meredith Joy

We invite anyone who's a Yay Bikes! member to provide input to the rides we deliver to transportation professionals. What works for cyclists there? What doesn't? What would you love for the people who design your roads to understand? On vetting rides before each professional development ride with the professionals, we invite members to provide input. 

Why members only? Well, because we carefully solicit and curate all input, and invest a lot of staff time in that process. We're happy to do it—it is, in fact, a critical element in our effectiveness—but it's definitely an investment we make in service of people who are demonstrably committed to this work. So join today! We are likely coming to your community soon, and you'll wanna be ready to roll with us!    

August 2016 advocacy report

Leading a professional development ride for City of Worthington engineers, parks and utilities staff. 

Leading a professional development ride for City of Worthington engineers, parks and utilities staff. 

August 1

Meeting with Tyler Steele of the Major Taylors regarding Bike the Cbus

Meeting with James Young, Columbus City Engineer, regarding our joint American Public Works conference presentation

August 2

Board meeting of Franklin County Consortium for Good Government, on which our Executive Directo serves

August 4

Travel to Zanesville to vet their Professional Development Ride

Bike the Cbus planning meeting

August 6

Year of Yay! vetting ride

August 10

Columbus Alive: "Wheels of Fortunate"

August 11

Regular meeting of the City of Columbus Green Team Working Group Chairs, which our Executive Director chairs

Regular meeting of the City of Columbus Green Team, which our Executive Director chairs

Meeting of the statewide Ride Buddy training team 

August 12

City of Zanesville Professional Development Ride

August 13

Year of Yay!, Local Food theme

August 14

Bike the Cbus and Bike the Cbus+ vetting rides

Bike the Cbus+ ride lead/sweep training

August 17

Regular meeting of the DRAC board, on which our Executive Director serves

August 19

Travel to Worthington to vet their Professional Development Ride

August 20

Yay Valet! @ Grove City EcoFest

August 23

City of Worthington Professional Development Ride

Regular meeting of the CoGo Bike Share Advisory Board, on which our Executive Director serves

August 23–25

Delivered Ride Buddy training for professionals from around the state

August 26

Attended the Regional Trails Summit in Cincinnati, at which Board Member Brian Laliberte presented on the keynote panel "Balancing the Active Transportation Network"

August 27–30

Attended the PWX 2016: The American Public Works Association Conference in Minneapolis, at which our Executive Director Catherine Girves presented on "Municipal Engineers and Bicycle Advocates Make Really Great Friends!"

Minneapolis Bike Hub meeting

Dero facility tour

AAA Ohio now covers cyclists!

Yay Bikes! thanks AAA Ohio Auto Club for this guest blog post about their new service!

Did you know you are now covered on your bicycle with AAA?

For more than 100 years, AAA has been providing world-class automobile emergency roadside assistance—and it still does. But as new forms of transportation become increasingly popular, AAA is reinventing what roadside assistance means, providing you safety, security and peace of mind when on the road on four or two wheels!

Does this service cost extra?

No! Bicycle Breakdown Service is automatically included with a AAA Ohio Auto Club Membership. There is no additional sign-up or enrollment, and coverage is included on all levels of Membership. 

Members can use any of their yearly service calls for Bicycle Breakdown Service. The bicycle towing mileage works the same as vehicle towing mileage: Classic = 3 miles, Plus = 100 miles, Premier = 100 miles and one 200-mile tow. Long distance cyclists may want to upgrade their membership to Plus or Premier to ensure they can access help no matter where they ride! Additional family members can be added to a primary membership for as low as $35/year.

What other benefits can cyclists receive through AAA?

AAA has partnered with a variety of bicycle shops to provide members with discounts on all their biking needs. Find a full list by visiting AAA.com/Bicycle.

 How do I use AAA's Bicycle Breakdown Service?

To get help, call 1.888.AAA.OHIO (222-6446) and request a bicycle tow. Make your way to the nearest accessible road and a service vehicle will arrive to take you and your bicycle where you would like to go. If you are biking with friends or family, service vehicles may transport as many people as there are seat belts. AAA will help you find alternative transportation for other riders.  

Learn more by visiting AAA.com/Bicycle

'Local Food' ride recap

Thanks to ride leader Alec Fleschner for a fantastic experience and this write-up!

Gathering pre-ride at Whole Foods Market Easton. Photo credit: Shyra Allen

Gathering pre-ride at Whole Foods Market Easton. Photo credit: Shyra Allen

This month’s ride, “Local Food,” was incredible! The weather was hot, but the route wasn’t too hilly, and each stop helped refuel us for the next leg. We had over 45 riders registered, and the route went just a hair over 23 miles. The weather predictions said that rain would be coming, but it held off until after the ride. Beautiful weather!

Nothing but sunshine! Photo credit: Shyra Allen

Nothing but sunshine! Photo credit: Shyra Allen

Starting from Whole Foods in Easton, we traveled to the south side of the airport and over to the Columbus Produce Terminal to meet with Jeff Givens of Sanfilipo Produce. He spoke for a couple of minutes on how the company has been providing produce to Columbus businesses and people since 1899, but he gave us lots of time to check out the Cash & Carry store. He also kindly provided us with bags with grapes and apples. Thank you so much!

Ready to explore Sanfillipo Produce. Photo credit: Alec Fleschner

Ready to explore Sanfillipo Produce. Photo credit: Alec Fleschner

Jeff introduces Sanfillipo to us. Photo credit: Shyra Allen

Jeff introduces Sanfillipo to us. Photo credit: Shyra Allen

Look at those goodies! Photo credit: Alec Fleschner

Look at those goodies! Photo credit: Alec Fleschner

After that, we headed north through Gahanna on our way to Coffee Time Bakery and Cafe. Check out Darrell McGrath's video of us riding down Bridgeway Ave:

At Coffee Time, we fueled up on sweet treats and coffee, as well as looking around at their baking supplies, scoping out the candy shop, and just relaxing for a few minutes before we took off. 

Nothing like a coffee break at the halfway point! Photo credit: Shyra Allen

Nothing like a coffee break at the halfway point! Photo credit: Shyra Allen

Checker break? Don't mind if we do! Photo credit: Shyra Allen

Checker break? Don't mind if we do! Photo credit: Shyra Allen

Finally, we headed to Nazareth Restaurant & Deli. The owner, Hany Baransi, was considering leaving the business after a man wielding a machete attacked patrons in February of this year, making national news. However, he has remained and recently remodeled. He was kind enough to talk to us about his food and provide us samples of hoummus and baba ghannoug, along with fresh pitas for dipping. 

Owner Hany Baransi explains the appeal of hoummus and baba ghannoug to us. His samples help just as much! Photo credit: Shyra Allen

Owner Hany Baransi explains the appeal of hoummus and baba ghannoug to us. His samples help just as much! Photo credit: Shyra Allen

Lining up to try the food. Photo credit: Alec Fleschner

Lining up to try the food. Photo credit: Alec Fleschner

Our bikes laden with food, we headed back to Whole Foods. Thank you to everyone who rode with us! We hope to see you next month!

Biking the Cbus

Catherine Girves, Yay Bikes! Executive Director

Catherine Girves, Yay Bikes! Executive Director

We've got a great little ride the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, perhaps you've heard of it—Bike the Cbus? Well, whether you have or have not, there are at least a few things you don't know about this gem of an experience. And there is so much to be excited about as we unveil new elements for this year's ride:

Big Reveal #1 NEW START and END location!!!! Each year our riders find fantastic places they did not know existed. Discovering something new on a ride is great. Taking time to explore a new place over lunch with bike friends is even better. So we've decide to move the start and end of Bike the Cbus around Columbus to do just that. We start this traveling treasure hunt with one of our biggest supporters Elevator Brewing Co. 13th Floor Taproom. The Elevator Brewing Company was founded in 1999 by a Father/Son drinking team committed to delivering quality craft beer to authentic people. Riders have the opportunity to wander around the brewery post ride to see the big tanks in action.

Lunch will again be provided as part of registration from one of multiple food truck vendors. And, yes, the taproom will be open for business post ride.

Draft 2016 route.

Draft 2016 route.

Big Reveal #2 NEW ROUTE!!! We'll be honoring our new mayor, Mayor Andrew Ginther, by highlighting his priority neighborhoods of the Hilltop and Linden for the first time. Our new route literally takes us to places we've never been before. We'll also browse through some of the love letters (bike infrastructure) written (constructed) by the fine folks at the Department of Public Service under the leadership of our new Director, Jennifer Gallagher. Yay Engineers!

Riders in Year 1, way back in 2008.

Riders in Year 1, way back in 2008.

Bike the Cbus, an urban ride in the tradition of Tour de Troit and Pedal PGH, is Columbus' oldest and only organized city-wide bicycle ride. On it, we highlight several inner-ring neighborhoods on a route totaling 25–30 miles (though you don't have to go the whole distance; there are several bail points). Last year we also launched Bike the Cbus+, an extremely unique, exclusively urban metric century ride that tours Franklin County. People said it couldn't be done, that it shouldn't be done, but we did it anyway. And it was GLORIOUS!

As with all things Yay Bikes!, Bike the Cbus has been designed to create an experience of place while acclimating cyclists to riding the roads. We want you to have an unparalleled experience of this city, and we want you to be on your bike for it. We want you to ride parts of this route again and again, because you'll know it leads to places you need to go—for work or childcare or worship or whatever—and places you want to go, simply because it's a joy to be on a bike in that part of town. This ride can make a cyclist of you! 

Are you new to a ride like this? Don't be scared. The route is well marked, our rest stops explore neighborhood gems, mechanical stops are sponsored by local bike shops at multiple points throughout the route, and a couple of friendly folks "sweep" the route making sure no rider is left behind. Check out last year's photos and know you are going to have a wonderful day.

Are you an experienced rider looking for something a little different than the typical fitness ride? Bike the Cbus+ a metric century on city streets might be just the solution. This ride is led AND swept by well trained guides who know the route. They also know how to travel city streets with cars and will help you greatly expand your definition of a rideable road. Bike the Cbus+ travels in groups of 20(ish) people with the slowest group traveling at approximately 14 mph, and the quickest group traveling at 18 mph. This ride is SAG supported with 3 quick stops for nutrition, hydration, AND and indoor toilets. Yep, plumbing, sinks, air conditioning, the works.

REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Sunday, July 31, at 11:59pm, the cost to register for Bike the Cbus and Bike the Cbus+ will rise. And registrations Aug 1 and beyond DO NOT INCLUDE this beaut of a tee (though a limited number will be available for an additional fee of $15 each):

Our 2016 tee, designed by Jeremy Slagle of Slagle Design. 

Our 2016 tee, designed by Jeremy Slagle of Slagle Design. 

It's clear what you need to do: REGISTER NOW! This ride has the potential to utterly transform how you see Columbus and your place in it. Get. On. That. Bike. And. Ride. Bike. the. Cbus. (or. Bike. the. Cbus. +) There are also ample opportunities to volunteer—many of which allow you to also enjoy the rides and all of which provide you a free tee and an exclusive opportunity to join our pre-ride route vetting ride. 

July 2016 advocacy report

Yay Bikes! ride leaders Shyra Allen and Jeff Gove pose post-ride with their group of public health officials from around the state.

Yay Bikes! ride leaders Shyra Allen and Jeff Gove pose post-ride with their group of public health officials from around the state.

July 2

Year of Yay! vetting ride

July 6

Columbus Underground: "Promotion of Cyclist Murder Causes Outrage During Doo Dah Parade"

WND: "'I'll Share the Road When You Follow the Rules'"

July 7

Bike the Cbus planning meeting

The Columbus Dispatch: "Parade should make anarchy great again"

July 8

The Columbus Dispatch: "Lessons from the Doo Dah parade"

July 9

Year of Yay!, American Heroes theme

Yay Valet! @ Deschutes Brewery's Street Pub

July 10

Bike the Cbus+ Team of Awesomeness vet the metric century route 

July 12

How We Roll ride with 26 Wellness Ambassadors from public health agencies around the state

July 14

Attended press conference announcing Dr. Ned Pettus as the new director of Columbus' Department of Public Safety

July 15

Bike the Cbus planning meeting

Tour de Brew planning meeting

July 18

Yay Bikes! Board of Directors meeting

July 21

10TV.com: "Seven months in, several incidents reported on newly designed Summit St."

July 26–27

Attended the Ohio Department of Transportation Ohio Planning Conference: Transport Ohio's Future and led a bike ride for participants

July 27

Yay Valet! @ ICC at the Shoe

July 28

Columbus Green Team Built Environment and Transportation Infrastructure committee meeting

July 29

Professional development ride with representatives from Worthington, Westerville, Gahanna, Grove City and Reynoldsburg, as well as MORPC 

'American Heroes' ride recap

Cyclists chatting with each other at a stop. Photo credit: Keith Lugs

Cyclists chatting with each other at a stop. Photo credit: Keith Lugs

This month's ride, titled "American Heroes", was fantastic. The weather was perfect! There were 40+ riders, on a journey of 21 miles. Here was the route we took. 

Riding against the backdrop of a beautiful sky. Photo credit: Darrell McGrath

Riding against the backdrop of a beautiful sky. Photo credit: Darrell McGrath

Our path took us from our Easton start point, Whole Foods, to our first stop, the Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resource Center, where our gracious host Christine Happel enlightened us on how their agency does good, assisting a varied demographics in the community; most of us were very inspired and there was plenty talk of group members wanting to volunteer and donate useful items.

Cyclists gather at our first stop, Clintonville-Beechwold CRC. Photo credit: Darrell McGrath

Cyclists gather at our first stop, Clintonville-Beechwold CRC. Photo credit: Darrell McGrath

Christine Happel shares about Clintonville-Beechwold CRC (with ride leader Theo White at right). Photo credit: Keith Lugs

Christine Happel shares about Clintonville-Beechwold CRC (with ride leader Theo White at right). Photo credit: Keith Lugs

From there we traveled to main campus, where we stopped at Directions For Youth And Families and learned about the impact the men and women of this agency have in helping families and children improve their lives, via counseling services and various therapeutic programs. While gaining deeper insight into what is done at this agency, our group of road adventures were treated to frozen treats, in the form of Patriotic Bomb Pops, Popsicles and Ice Cream Bars; definitely fuel for our journey back!

Turning left off High Street. Photo credit: Darrell McGrath

Turning left off High Street. Photo credit: Darrell McGrath

Thanks to everyone who came out for the ride. See you next month!

July's button, courtesy local artist Thom Glick

"I'll share the road when you follow the rules"

"I'll share the road when you follow the rules." Photo credit: Spencer Hackett on Twitter

"I'll share the road when you follow the rules." Photo credit: Spencer Hackett on Twitter

For those who missed it, Monday's Doo Dah parade included a black SUV smashing into a bicycle, with the person landing on the roof. The license plates of the SUV were covered with the fake plates “BIK-H8R”, and a (hard to read) sign was attached to each side of the vehicle reading, “I'll share the road when you follow the rules." The driver also stopped along the route to place long strips of duct tape over bike infrastructure painted on the street.

In the last 24 hours, this float has received local, statewide, national, and international attention, and is by far the the item receiving the most comments on Doo Dah's own Facebook page. As you can imagine, a very vigorous conversation is happening Facebook on and Twitter.

If you've never marched in or seen the Doo Dah Parade (modeled after Doo Dah Pasadena), here is how it manifests in Columbus, Ohio. The parade publicly embraces a lack of organization (the organizers refer to themselves as the DisOrganizers). Whoever shows up to march is who marches—no pre-registration, no entry fee.

DisOrganizers describe the parade on Facebook as the "Craziest Parade in History, Humorous! Fun! Fantastic, Liberty & Lunacy, Freedom of Speech, through humor, Express yourself, It’s a very important day for the Marching Fidel’s, Satirical, Unique, Symbolic of how Columbus is, You can be who you want to be and have a great time doing it, It’s all meant in Jest and fun, Important for a mother to show her daughter all the uniqueness and diversity, Laughter is the best medicine".

Now we all have the context. Some have said, “Chill. It's Doo Dah. It's satire.”

So, let's just assume this float was an attempt at satire. Perhaps the driver was embracing a completely ridiculous idea, deserving of attack—that cyclists should be killed for failing to "follow the rules"—to create a public dialogue where that idea could be torn to pieces in a constructive social criticism. If so, he did a truly fantastic job of staying in character during the entire parade, angrily responding to boos and flipping off people in the crowd! And now, thanks to his efforts, we as a community all know better than to plow into cyclists for offenses as grievous as failing to stop at a stop sign when there's no oncoming traffic. On behalf of the cycling community....thanks??

But I am a bit confused about a few things. Who is this guy? He seems to be unknown to people within the bike-riding communities in Central Ohio. And this nouveau Swift didn't sign his work. Why stay anonymous? Why cover the license plates? Why not take pride in the clever bit of satirical work? The goal of satire is to make a point. It is important to be accessible as part of the shtick, not to hide from reporters looking for an interview. Satire is tough to do well and should not be taken on by cowards.

If he is not one of us, what is motivating him to create such a stir on our behalf? Why didn't he reach out—we could have been helpful to him if creating a satirical float was his intent. Fantastic ideas to portray satire have shown up in social media conversations, including: *Increasing the accuracy of his satire by texting or playing Angry Birds while driving. *Recruiting a team of people on bikes traveling the parade route wearing targets on their backs, perhaps some in bandages. *Decorating his SUV with trophies of previous kills. An advocacy group could have followed him with a float offering helpful information for motorists who are truly confused about how to interact with people on bikes. Flash back to Doo Dah 2007 and we give you:

Angry Driver Mike Reed!

Angry Driver Mike Reed!

Angry Driver loves paying for gas with all that money of his!

Angry Driver loves paying for gas with all that money of his!

Victims of Angry Driver litter the rooftop! ("Consider Biking" from waaaaay back in the day, by the way, to when it was first run by Meredith & Mike)

Victims of Angry Driver litter the rooftop! ("Consider Biking" from waaaaay back in the day, by the way, to when it was first run by Meredith & Mike)

The incomparable Tad Dritz, having too much fun with this! 

The incomparable Tad Dritz, having too much fun with this! 

Outta my way, suckas! I have a traffic jam to get to!

Outta my way, suckas! I have a traffic jam to get to!

I gotta get to work so I can make money to buy more gas!

I gotta get to work so I can make money to buy more gas!

This person's 'float' was not satire. It was bullying. His purported desire to get cyclists to follow the rules was revealed as a sham when he covered the sharrows with duct tape. His real desire was to erase us, to keep us from being in a space he believes rightfully belongs to him and his SUV. He wants you to feel unsafe. He wants us to keep the bikes in the garage and drive instead. He wants the people who love us to question whether we're really so safe out there riding roads, to plant that seed of doubt in our minds when we go to choose the bike. He wants to not have to drive slower and pay better attention and re-learn traffic law and adopt a new transportation paradigm that encompasses all comers. 

Get that? It's not about cyclists following the rules. There is not enough following of rules in the world to address his root concern regarding cyclists—obliteration.

If you need to feel any sort of way about this lazy display of entitlement and bullying, feel pity. This poor guy is on the losing end of history. I could take time to tear apart the various arguments this parade float attempts to make about unlawful bicyclists (just look at the stats!) creating unsafe road conditions, behaving like scofflaws, and the other bits of tired arguments steeped in entitlement and privilege and ignorance. But the links highlighted in the last sentence do a fine job of it.

The truth of the matter is that no motorist wants to hit a person on a bike—that's just a bully's lie. Do not take the bait. Do not allow yourself to be bullied. And do not collude with him: by trying to keep loved ones from riding with well-intended comments about their safety, by policing your fellow cyclists so he (ostensibly) won't have a case to make, by driving when you'd rather ride.  

Riding a bike is safe. Period. No matter what this sad, sad man would have you believe. Feel like arguing about that? Read this.

Join over 1000 other individuals who support this work through membership and larger tax deductible donations.

Mapping our urban heat island, by bike

OSU students with the sensors they helped design. 

OSU students with the sensors they helped design. 

Yay Bikes! welcomes member Jason Cervenec, Education & Outreach Director at Byrd Polar & Climate Research Center, to share what he's working on and how cyclists can help. 

A team from OSU’s Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center and Department of Geography, in collaboration with the College of Engineering, has created a fleet of small, low-cost sensors to measure temperature and relative humidity. The team hopes that these sensors can provide better information about the urban heat island in cities around the country. More information on why we are interested in measuring the urban heat island is provided below.

We are looking for 5–6 bike commuters who are willing and able to attach a device to the front of their bikes for a week or two to collect data during their normal commutes. Almost everything about the device is automated. Volunteers would only need to mount the sensor on the front of their bikes (heat due to a rider can interfere with readings if mounted on the back), turn the device on at the start of the ride and off at the end of the ride, and charge the device nightly. Our team anticipates that front mounting will be the most challenging part of volunteering (from our experience, wire baskets make installation the easiest).

All rides will take place in July. If you are interested in volunteering for the project, please contact Ryan Cummings at cummings.287@osu.edu. This project is sponsored by a Battelle Engineering, Technology and Human Affairs (BETHA) Endowment Grant.

Sensors being tested on a Zagster bike. 

Sensors being tested on a Zagster bike. 

Why do we care about measuring the urban heat island?

One result of human-induced climate change is the increase in Earth’s globally averaged temperature by a possible 3 ºCelsius by 2100 on our current emissions trajectory (IPCC, 2013). Elevated temperatures are particularly acute for urban settings due to radiative feedbacks with the built environment, leading to the urban heat island (UHI) (Arnfield, 2003). For the first time in history, over 50% of Earth’s inhabitants reside in urban areas, and this percentage is projected to grow (United Nations Population Fund, 2007). The UHI, with its associated micro-climate perturbations, causes direct and indirect impacts on human well-being. Extreme urban temperatures can result in increased incidents of death when individuals do not have access to cooling (Klinenberg, 2003). Individuals who die during these extreme temperature events are disproportionately the elderly who lack social networks and individuals living in high crime areas. Temperature increases have already reduced the labor capacity in peak temperature months to 90% of levels a few decades ago, and it is expected to be reduced to 80% by 2050 (Dunne et al., 2013). Therefore, a significant amount of the world’s population will benefit from a better understanding of the UHI and how infrastructure could better mitigate its impact.

To address these needs, we developed an innovative UHI education-research project to meet complementary needs for better observations and problem-based STEM learning. A diverse group of science and engineering students designed and built an inexpensive and lightweight device, to collect geo- and time-tagged temperature data when deployed on moving vehicles, and to create a database, to store and assimilate data collected by the device that will be analyzed in student projects and laboratory classes. The project team continues to collect data and refine the device hardware and software. 

There's magic in the valet

Catherine Girves, Yay Bikes! Executive Director

Catherine Girves, Yay Bikes! Executive Director

In our grant application for the Ohio EPA's Environmental Education Fund, which has helped us expand our focus from parking bikes to include educating people about bicycling for transportation, we emphasized the audience of "bike curious" event attendees. These are those who might happen by the corral and be reminded by the sight of all the bikes that they have questions about how to ride, or excuses for why they don't. And because we are there and accessible and not a bike shop that requires courage and intention to step into, they talk to us about it. We chat, we inform, we change some minds, we open people to the idea of getting back on their bikes. There is no better outreach to the cyclists of tomorrow than Yay Valet!, I'm telling you.

So that's some powerful magic right there. But there's another kind that maybe flies under the radar, the kind that makes being in the valet such a special experience. It's the life-changing and -affirming conversations among our volunteers. 

First out the gate: our first-shift-on-Friday-of-Comfest team of Yay Valet! volunteers.

First out the gate: our first-shift-on-Friday-of-Comfest team of Yay Valet! volunteers.

Many conversations in the valet, as you might imagine, center around bicycling. And being among the valet community helps even volunteers you'd expect to be the hardcore-est of all cyclists (whatever that means!) knock out some of their thorniest obstacles to riding. 

The large-bodied woman who thought she'd break a bike, who was scared of getting moo'd at by passing motorists: "No. No, you won't. And yes, you may, but you can call me to cry if it happens." (She started riding again.)

The woman who said to another, "yeah, but you're a hardcore cyclist and...(implied: "I'm not")": "I ride daily, but only a couple of miles at a time. You can do that, too." (She gave up shame and created access to riding more.) 

The older gentleman who would have ridden to work but didn't have a route that felt comfortable in the dark: "Oh, I've gone that way before. I use this road and then the side street that feeds into the path and then it's just a little jog and you're there. Want me to ride it with you?" (They did.)

Other conversations are not about bicycling at all.

Two very shy persons staying an hour past their shifts to discuss a favorite video game.

Two women sharing their experience of transitioning from male to female.

A high school honor student and juvenile delinquent discussing normal teenage life. 

Whatever the topic of the moment, being in the valet places you among a diverse, thoughtful group of people that includes all ages, races, gender identities, socioeconomic backgrounds, bodies, types of cyclists and more. It's good folks, working hard, talking and learning from one another. We ride more, and enjoy life more, from being together. Indeed, Yay Valet! offers a rare and unexpected—yes, even magical!—space for community in this world. Not just for cyclists. For all of us. 

Wanna volunteer with Yay Valet!? Opportunities abound!

Fun and friendly sorts!

Fun and friendly sorts!

Here are all the fabulous people who made bike valets happen this month at Pride, Buckeye Country Superfest, Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival and Comfest (bolded names = volunteered for more than one shift):

  • Terri Evans
  • Shyra Allen
  • Napoleon Allen
  • Suzanne Hoffman Maginn
  • Charis Caldwell
  • Emily Monnig
  • Jazz Jasmin
  • Alec Fleschner (and kiddos)
  • Shirley Droney
  • Bertie Ford
  • Ken Cohen
  • Joe Powell
  • Andrea Krupman Powell
  • Clifford Beall
  • Diane Strausser
  • Kendra Kay
  • Sarah Riegel
  • Shay Holden
  • Tim Price
  • Larissa West
  • Arthur Thomas
  • Peggy Behrman
  • Meredith Joy
  • Michael Merrill
  • Matthew Wolf
  • Craig Kullik
  • Catherine Girves
  • Michael Webb
  • Jeremy Woolf
  • Bill Curtis
  • Tony Davis
  • Joy Robinson
  • Scott Shiveley
  • Thomas Babb
  • Rahel Babb
  • James Swanson
  • Bill Adams
  • Anne Bishop
  • Nate Bishop
  • Andrew Hoffer
  • Corbin Kramer
  • Mike Coakley
  • Duane McCoy
  • Alex Anderson
  • Ray George
  • Mitzy Noisette
  • Leslie Hoerig
  • Nik Olah
  • Tyler Steele
  • Andrew Hulvey
  • Alyssa Shaw
  • Bharati Jayanthi
  • Nancy Niemuth
  • Mark Ervin
  • Jim McDermott
  • Rachel Miller
  • Melissa Tewart-Darwin
  • Eddie Jayne
  • Kent Koester
  • Larry Pike
  • Brian Ludwig
  • Gretel Young
  • Ryan Vincent
  • Wendy Vincent
  • John Bannon
  • Alex Gallegos Samuels
  • Joel Spokas
  • Mike Kaizer
  • Mitzy Noisette
  • Mark Caral
  • Megan Purcell
  • Nik Olah
  • Jim Good
  • Corbin Kramer
  • Jeff Gove
  • Michael Cardi
  • Ariel Wilson
  • Alex Anderson
  • Michael Coakley
  • Duane McCoy
  • Kathleen Koechlin
  • Joe Liles
  • Tom Orchard
  • Katrina Darms
  • Ben Houck
  • Kathleen Watkins
  • Ernie Rapson
  • Bill Ferriot
  • Blanche Luczyk
  • Scott Bobbitt
  • John Cresencia
  • Maya Girves
  • Abby Rhodebeck
  • David Docktor
  • Chet Ridenour

You are my people and I love you!

 

2016 Ride of Silence recap

Winding back towards downtown. Photo credit: Keith Lugs

Winding back towards downtown. Photo credit: Keith Lugs

Thanks to Columbus Ride of Silence committee chair Kathleen Koechlin for her leadership and this write-up, which will be featured on the national Ride of Silence site. Contact Kathleen to join the team planning next year's ride!  


Approximately 400 people (380 of them riders) participated in the 2016 Columbus, Ohio Ride of Silence, which started and ended at City Hall. People began gathering at 5:30pm; some of them enjoyed dinner from a food truck as they awaited the start. Volunteers secured arm bands and provided instruction for the ride. 

The program began at 6:30pm with a welcome by Catherine Girves, Executive Director of Yay Bikes!, which has organized the Columbus Ride of Silence since 2015. Catherine’s remarks were followed by the reading of the Ride of Silence poem by Abby Rhodebeck, who lost a mentor this past winter when a car crossed the line and hit him as he was riding on a wide berm. Then, as Columbus Chief of Police Kim Jacobs spoke, representatives from four neighboring jurisdictions (Grove City, Hilliard, Reynoldsburg and Upper Arlington) joined her onstage. Transportation professionals from around the region then joined the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Highway Safety Manager Michelle May as she described how she and her colleagues are working to build better infrastructure for cyclists on the road. To close the program, local cyclist Bambo Sanusi read the names of all cyclists killed on Ohio roadways from January 1, 2015 through May 18, 2016; there were 26. 

Bag piper David Celebrezze began playing “Amazing Grace” as the cyclists silently lined up to begin the slow-paced ride led by police on motorcycles. The first bike in the line-up pulled a cart with Ride of Silence banners attached so onlookers would know what they were witnessing. Silence was maintained throughout the ride by the cyclists, but there was a palpable silence by onlookers as well. Cars stopped and patiently watched as they waited for us to pass. Ghost bikes were placed along the route—eight in all. At the end of the procession the final rider pulled a ghost bike, a representation of why we ride. 

Local filmmaker Pete Vogel created this video, which is now being featured on the national Ride of Silence webpage.

'Obsessions' ride recap

On our most challenging ride to date, 53 intrepid souls joined us on a trip to enjoy target practice and ice cream (a couple of our favorite American "obsessions", of course)!

T'was a hot hot hot day for a long climb! Photo credit: Keith Lugs

T'was a hot hot hot day for a long climb! Photo credit: Keith Lugs

Our first and only stop was at AimHi Family Firearms Center, where Charlotte & Olivia's Sublime Ice Creams awaited with treats. We cash bombed the heck outta these guys—most everyone bought ice cream, about half of us bought access to the gun range and one person even BOUGHT A $1,600 GUN! Who says you need a car to shop!?!

Yes, please!

Yes, please!

Ride leader Aliceanne Inskeep shows off her shooting skillz.

Seriously though, this ride was hard and we learned some good lessons from it that we'll incorporate future ride planning. We strive to make Year of Yay! a challenging but positive experience for all involved—you'll probably ride places you may not have tried otherwise, but hopefully it'll be a great experience that gives you the confidence to try it again on your own. This route, however, featured a too-long stretch of uphill climbing on a one-lane road with fast traffic, and frankly even the most experienced among us found it stressful to ride. In the future, each ride will be pre-vetted by the ride leader and approved by staff before the group vetting ride (which comes too late in the game for major changes) and we'll ensure that no one leg of the trip is too long (10 miles is definitely too long—this isn't a fitness ride!) or too tough on the ole endocrine system. Thanks for hanging in there while we worked this all out, and thanks to all who provided constructive feedback!

Post-ride, hot and tired and ready for a cold one. Photo credit: Keith Lugs

Post-ride, hot and tired and ready for a cold one. Photo credit: Keith Lugs

We are grateful to everyone who braved the heat to come out with us this month! Until next time...

Takin' our show on the road thru Ohio

We're excited to announce that we are partnering with Ohio Department of Transportation to take our show on the road! This summer and fall we'll be offering professional development rides—similar to the "engineer rides" we piloted in Columbus last year—to transportation professionals and others who influence the experience of people biking for transportation throughout Ohio. 

Our professional development rides are designed to provide opportunities to experience a community's current street infrastructure by bike to better understand how to: 1) engineer and evaluate bicycle-related infrastructure; 2) inform and educate all road users; 3) enforce laws governing behaviors that lead to conflicts between people on bikes and other road users; and 4) encourage active transportation. Previous participants have reported increased understanding of why cyclists make the choices they do and understanding what makes for an effective bicycle accommodation. In their own words:

“I learned there is a huge difference between a well designed bike lane or facility and one that is just thrown in last minute to a project to make it a complete street.”
“I got a feel for the perspective of a bicycle rider. I also learned some things about general bicycling practices that are contrary to what I’d previously thought (lane positioning, platooning at traffic signals, etc.). These are things that will aid me as I’m working on different issues pertaining to bicycling.”
“I learned quite a bit about what looks good on paper may not be the right solution in real life.”
“If I want to expand my engineering judgment, I need to experience it. And it was a lot different than I thought. Yay Bikes! gave our team a whole new perspective. As engineers, we’re focused on making it work, but Yay Bikes! gave us feedback from a customer perspective.”

Professional development rides are 3 hour experiences customized for each community to feature as many types of infrastructure as possible within approximately
8–10 miles. They roll at a casual pace accessible to most, and include several stops to discuss the experience of riding different streets, as well as traffic law and how it pertains to best bicycling practices. Ride leaders are extensively trained transportation cyclists and educators with deep respect for participants' professional expertise. 

 If you are interested in scheduling a ride for your team, contact Catherine

June 2016 activity report

Catherine shows off our new outreach bike to Sandra López, Legislative Analyst, City Council Division of Community Engagement, at the Smart City award press release event. 

Catherine shows off our new outreach bike to Sandra López, Legislative Analyst, City Council Division of Community Engagement, at the Smart City award press release event. 

June 1

Statewide meeting of the Active Transportation Plan group

June 2

NeighborWorks conference planning meeting for speakers, of which our Executive Director is one

Yay Bikes! membership drive

June 3

Ride of Silence wine tasting fundraiser

June 5

Bike the Cbus route vetting ride

June 6

Bike the Cbus planning meeting

June 7

Year of Yay! route vetting ride

June 8

Meeting with the Columbus Department of Development's Mike Schadek to discuss the role of biking in Columbus' economic development

June 11

Year of Yay! 'Obsessions' theme

June 12

Meeting with Mark Waggenbrenner of Waggenbrenner Development Co regarding their Bike the Cbus route sponsorship

June 15

Meeting with AAA's Sarah Frederick to discuss a forthcoming article in their regional magazine about how cars can share roads with bicycles

June 17

COTA wayfinding meeting

City of Columbus Engineer Ride in Franklinton

June 17–18

Yay Valet! @ Pride

June 18–19

Yay Valet! @ Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival

Yay Valet! @ Buckeye Country Superfest

June 21

Meeting with leadership team at the Ohio Department of Health to discuss potential mode shift programming for employees of state agencies

Conversation with Mayor of Grove City about outreach to local engineers

June 22

Meeting with Orange Barrel Media's Megan Knott about Bike the Cbus sponsorship

June 23

Regular meeting of the Built Environment & Transportation Infrastructure committee of Columbus' Green Team

Smart City press release and celebration event

June 24

Our Executive Director speaking at Comfest Jazz Stage

June 24–26

Yay Valet! @ Comfest

June 29

City of Columbus Bicycle Working Group meeting

Meeting with Origo Branding to discuss a possible public service safety campaign

June 30

Bike the Cbus planning meeting

Tour de Brew planning meeting

Bike the Cbus and me

Mr. Brian Jackson, in action!

Mr. Brian Jackson, in action!

I had been biking a couple of months just to work, which was about 3 miles. Aside from that I didn’t bike in the road. I would ride the bike paths on the weekend to get longer rides. I saw the Bike the Cbus signs on my commute from Olde Towne and convinced my friend that we should ride it.

Bike the Cbus went through every Columbus neighborhood that I want to hang out in in a single day. It made me realize that all the places I want to visit are safely reachable via bicycle.

Bike the Cbus was the tipping point between weekend bike path rider and treating my bike as a legitimate form of transportation.
— Brian Jackson, Yay Bikes! member and Bike the Cbus veteran

Do you have a story to share about why you ride Bike the Cbus or its impact on your life? Send it to Catherine Girves at catherine@yaybikes.com!

Pedal Instead? Nay! Yay Valet!

But a taste of what's to come: many elements of our new bike valets were on display at Columbus' Bike to Work Day celebration.

But a taste of what's to come: many elements of our new bike valets were on display at Columbus' Bike to Work Day celebration.

At about this time last year we were announcing our grant from the Ohio EPA's Environmental Education Fund—awarded so that we could make our bicycle corrals more focused on educating "bike curious" event attendees about bicycling for transportation. The goals of this grant were threefold:

  1. To expand awareness of the Pedal Instead service, encouraging more people to ride to events
  2. To increase the extent to which Pedal Instead provides actionable information to event attendees regarding transportation bicycling
  3. To link event attendees to the on-road educational experiences available through Yay Bikes!, to increase their cycling knowledge and confidence

Now, after several months of working with a team of dedicated volunteers, and several more months working with a design team to implement their ideas, we are finally to the point of launching all our fancy new features. They include:

NEW NAME!

One of the problems Yay Bikes! had, marketing-wise, was an abundance of brands that lacked connection to the broader work of the organization. So "Pedal Instead" was often mistaken for a separate nonprofit, and people did not realize that we had a lot more to offer them than simply bike parking. Another problem also emerged since the 2007 launch of Pedal Instead—"bike corral" became a confusing phrase, because it's what the on-street bike parking that replaces a car parking space is called. To resolve both problems at once, Pedal Instead is now "Yay Valet!", and will be calling our service a "bicycle valet" going forward. (Note the updated Yay Bikes! logo, as well!)

NEW CLAIM TAGS!

The top part of our claim tag now will stay with the bicycle when it's returned to the cyclist, inviting them to visit our website for opportunities to engage and learn. 

NEW STICKERS!

Each cyclist who parks with us will now receive an "I rode today" sticker, a badge of honor and conversation starter akin to the popular voting stickers. We're hoping that cyclists will testify to their friends about riding to the event and parking with Yay Valet!, making it seem possible and preferable to the experience of driving and parking a car. Next time, maybe they can all ride to the event together!

NEW TEES!

Our volunteers now have uniforms! The bike expert volunteers among us will wear blue shirts saying "Bike curious? I can help." to invite people into conversations about bicycling. Other volunteers will wear red shirts that read "Wanna ride? yaybikes.com for deets", to invite them to explore our website for opportunities to ride with us. 

NEW DISPLAY!

Our fancy new cargo bike display pulls a trailer with interchangeable signs (e.g., "How far away did you park?", "Follow me to free bike parking", "Bike curious information here"), and will be a point of interest inviting people to approach the valet. It also features space for informational materials and can be ridden around an event to generate buzz and encourage people to "pedal instead" the next time.

NEW SIGNS!

People throughout an event will be able to see us from a distance with our new "lollipop" signs that tower above the valet with mode shift and bike love messages, free bike parking notices and more. 

NEW ENGAGEMENT!

Behind the scenes we'll be working to better engage the people who interact with us at the valet. Whether they park with us or simply approach with questions, we will craft follow-ups that respond to requests for information and invite them into further participation with Yay Bikes!. And we'll be keeping track of our impact with improved data collection and analysis as well (our fave!). 

COMMON THREADS!

Every element of our updated bike valet was designed to draw people into conversation and invite them to ride with us. Because we believe it is education within the context of a meaningful relationship—however brief—that helps people adopt a bicycling lifestyle, and that means a brochure alone won't cut it. Changing transportation behavior is ultimately an investment in people and invest in people we have, with help from the Ohio EPA.

JOIN US!

See all this in action at an upcoming event—ride, volunteer, stop by to chat! And if you're interested in volunteering specifically to engage people in bike conversations, we are looking for you! Contact Meredith to learn more.

May 2016 activity report

Our Executive Director with representatives of the Reynoldsburg, Upper Arlington and Grove City police forces at the 2016 Central Ohio Ride of Silence.

Our Executive Director with representatives of the Reynoldsburg, Upper Arlington and Grove City police forces at the 2016 Central Ohio Ride of Silence.

Welcome to the monthly feature in which we round up all our events, earned media, program delivery, meetings and speaking engagements for the month. Representation and outreach like this is what you fund with your membership dollars and major gifts, folks! Behold, May:

May 2

Yay Valet! meeting with Troy Euton, Director of Parks & Recreation, City of Gahanna

Regular meeting of MORPC's Community Advisory Council, on which our Executive Director serves

May 3

Accidental Wanderlust: Saddle Up for 30 Incredible Days of Biking

May 4

Ohio Active Transportation Plan meeting

May 5

Columbus Underground: Planning Underway for Downtown Bike Hub at Front and Long

Columbus Underground: Moving Away but Leaving a Legacy – Denis de Verteuil

May 6

MOPRC Annual State of the Region luncheon

May 7

Pinchflat Bike Poster Show + bike raffle opening day @ Paradise Garage

May 10

Year of Yay! route vetting ride

May 11

Meeting with City of Columbus officials to discuss bike hub

Introductory meeting with AAA Ohio to discuss bicycling services and marketing

Meeting with Mark Klein, Principal, MKSK, who designed Dayton's bike hub, to discuss Columbus' proposed bike hub

Regular board meeting of the Downtown Residents Association of Columbus, on which our Executive Director serves

May 12

Regular meeting of the Columbus Green Team, at which Catherine Girves, our Executive Director was appointed Chair (!!)

May 13

Scoping meeting with the Ohio Department of Transportation and Ohio Department of Health for statewide mode shift campaign

Meeting to discuss plans for Tour de Brew

May 14

Year of Yay! ride with MURALS theme

May 15

Meeting to discuss bike hub security solutions with Glenn Mueller, City of Columbus Security Manager, Department of Finance & Management

May 16

Smart City Challenge Roundtable with USDOT Secretary Anthony Foxx & City of Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther, among others

Meeting to discuss bike hub security solutions with Homeport's Director of Security

Yay Bikes! board meeting

May 17

Ride the Elevator

May 18

Annual membership meeting of Community Shares of Mid Ohio

Central Ohio Ride of Silence

WOSU Public Media: Columbus Cyclists Ride Silently for Road Safety

May 19

Bike the Cbus planning meeting

May 20

Bike to Work Day Dayton pancake breakfast celebration, plus meeting with Five Rivers MetroParks bike hub operators

Columbus' Bike to Work Day celebration

Yay Valet! at Columbus' Bike to Work Day celebration

May 24

Submitted application to Create Columbus Commission for a new Winter Night Rides series

May 25

Ohio Active Transportation Plan meeting

Regular meeting of the City of Columbus Bicycle Working Group, on which our Executive Director serves

May 26

Regular meeting of the Columbus Green Team Built Environment & Transportation Infrastructure working group

May 28

Heritage Cycles Grand Opening

May 31

Pinchflat bike raffle drawing @ Lineage Brewing

Our Executive Director speaking as a panelist on the "Get up to Speed on Ohio Transportation" panel hosted by Franklin County Young Dems and Upper Arlington Progressive Action alongside Elissa Snider of Transit Columbus and JM Rayburn of the City of Dublin  

A new sign in town

Catherine Girves, Yay Bikes! Executive Director

Catherine Girves, Yay Bikes! Executive Director

There is a phenomenon (if it has a name I don't know what it is) where the instant something changes, it's been that way forever. The long slog to achieve the change is forgotten: onward! But let's pause for a sec, and do this thing proper. We are in a moment that's very special, and I want to honor all the dedication, responsiveness, hard work and care that's brought us to this point. Specifically, to the point at which I witnessed these glorious signs on a recent Near East Side commute:

Columbus, there's a new sign in town!

Columbus, there's a new sign in town!

That's right! Columbus recently posted their first Bicycles May Use Full Lane signs on Long Street and Mt Vernon Avenue! Going forward, these will be installed where protocols would have called for Share the Road signs—like where new sharrows are laid; the ever-lovely Department of Public Service is updating its protocols to guide distribution (THANKS, FOLKS!). Share the Road signs are still up, but the practice of placing new ones is officially dead. Time to rejoice!

This is a M-A-S-S-I-V-E victory for local cyclists. The "Share the Road" message is loathed, for great reason. But Columbus had invested heavily in it, and it's to their credit that they listened to people who ride bikes and changed course. It's to our credit as well. The advocacy of Yay Bikes! members, delivered with kindness and respect, can be heard. Our influence can make things happen where others', employing anger and condescension, can not. 

You are among the advocates who get things done. Fund the long slog and Yay Bikes! will put your resources to good use. Staffing endless meetings. Writing original content and curating the best social media has to offer. Speaking truth to power with respect and kindness and effecting change, like we do. Until one day, when this moment, the work and Yay Bikes! itself is forgotten—because this work, and the work of our many fabulous partners, has made our streets complete. May that day come sooner than later.

Let's ride!
-Catherine

'Murals' ride recap

Everyone poses in front of the mural, but a few goofballs steal the show! Photo credit: Kathleen O'Dowd

Everyone poses in front of the mural, but a few goofballs steal the show! Photo credit: Kathleen O'Dowd

By guest writer Shyra Allen, May's Year of Yay! ride co-leader

For more than 5 years, Yay Bikes! has designed rides to help cyclists enjoy our city from the seat of their bicycle—one of the best ways to see Columbus. I was given the opportunity to lead Year of Yay! May 2016. Setting out on my 17th YOY ride, I was 50% kid, with the wind in my face and my heart pumping Kool Aid. At my side was co-lead Shirley Droney, followed by a long trail of old friends, first-time riders and even moms and dads with double trailers. Check out the route we took!

The crew awaits their turn.

The crew awaits their turn.

Our first stop was in Easton Town Center where we attempted to interpret the “Getting From Here to There” mural. Despite our best efforts to collectively interpret its meaning, our pondering was drowned out by the unexpected arrival of what I’ve now termed “the green tractor” puffing smoke and noise and refusing to go away. However, it gave us the opportunity to hydrate and prepare for ride to the Golf Depot mural. 

Stylin'!

Stylin'!

Against the backdrop of Saturday’s hustle and bustle traffic on stretches, long winding roads and climbs of Stelzer, Columbus Metropolitan Airport, Hamilton Rd and Tech Center Dr, we peddled our way up to Golf Depot—the highest point in Franklin County, 8 miles from downtown Columbus—and its breathtaking view of Columbus’ skyline. There we were met by Steve Renaker, Director of Golf & Hospitality Assets. He said that he “couldn’t believe that people really go look at murals on bikes,” which translates roughly into “Yay Bikes! is boss!” Steve talked about how amazed he was to watch the artist paint the mural by himself in three days. He was awed that throughout the Golf Depot Mural there were groupings of color that ensured a mixture of levels and shapes that increased the visual impact of the mural. Most importantly it captured the beauty of golf that Steve loves, plus his co-founders’ passion for trains.

The Golf Depot mural

The Golf Depot mural

Our shortcut to Gahanna’s Rocky Fork Vista on the Big Walnut Creek Trail was a welcome change as we descended to the heart of Gahanna’s downtown. Warmly greeting us at the Gahanna History Mural was another community partner, Zac Guthrie of Gahanna Parks & Recreation. The overcast day could not dim Zac’s pride in the mural or our delight at the ivory tones accented by chocolate browns and black lines that reflected the natural light of the mural’s Southern exposure—exuding a feeling of warmth through color, texture and dimension. We were also grateful for his shout out to YayBikes! for the bike valet that we provide for Gahanna’s annual Creekside Blues and Jazz Festival.

Our crew with this incredible mural.

Our crew with this incredible mural.

And a close-up! How beautiful

And a close-up! How beautiful

Wrapping it up, we grabbed a snack and water from our saddlebags, preparing for our last stretch with only one destination in mind: Whole Foods. We splashed in shallow water puddles, jumped over twigs in the road and sped down a hill with the wind in our hair. Suddenly I was 100% kid. But never, not once, was I at all bored.

Headed home!

Headed home!

Thanks to everyone who braved the threat of rain to join our ride. See you next month! Until then, check out this audio profile of the ride from the fabulous Darrell McGrath: