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!