BOULDER, CO (BRAIN)—The Bikes Belong Foundation has awarded four grants through the Paul David Clark Fund. Awards of $10,000 will go to four exemplary organizations that are supporting their communities through bicycling, establishing innovative bike programs for young riders and setting—and raising—the bicycle-advocacy bar.
Clark was an avid cyclist and outdoorsman who was struck and killed by a vehicle while riding his bike in 2005. Many of his friends and colleagues—within and outside of the cycling world—contributed funds to our Foundation in Paul's memory. Bikes Belong is honored to invest in the future of bicycling by awarding grants for best practices in bicycle advocacy, safety and youth programming in his name.
The four organizations are listed below:
Community Cycling Center—Portland, OR
Community Cycling Center believes, first and foremost, that the bicycle is a tool for empowerment and a vehicle for change. The group brings this principle to everything it does, ranging from earn-a-bike programs for low-income youth and adults to bike safety classes and camps for anyone interested in building bike-related skills. Its volunteer bike-recycling program promotes sustainability while building a healthy community.
Community Cycling Center serves as a stellar model for established and aspiring bike-advocacy groups that are working to create and enhance community bike programs across the country. Additionally, the group's research and collaboration with the Portland-based Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation helps to establish best practices in bicycle commuting—particularly with regard to low-income and minority populations. Through all of its broad-reaching efforts and initiatives, Community Cycling Center makes bicycling accessible to Portlanders of all abilities, ages, and incomes.
Freiker—which stands for Frequent Biker and rhymes with the latter—is an incentive program that promotes healthier, happier children, and a cleaner environment, by encouraging kids to ride their bikes and walk to school. The program began in 2004 at Crest View Elementary School in Boulder, Colorado. Participants are tracked by the Freikometer when they arrive at school, and each child receives points and awards for trips taken on foot or by bike. Schools report that their bike racks are full on even the chilliest days—nothing keeps Freikers from spinning and striding to school. The Boulder program has grown to include five elementary schools as well one in neighboring Longmont.
Freiker has helped children (and their accompanying parents) log nearly 100,000 foot and bicycle trips to school—trips that would have otherwise been made by car. Those trips have covered more than 150,000 miles (which is six times around the world) and burned more than 3.5 million calories. Additionally, these children have saved the nation nearly 8,000 gallons of gas and prevented more than 150,000 tons of CO2 emissions by choosing active transportation. The Freiker program expanded this past fall to include schools in Eugene, Oregon; Madison, Wisconsin; Los Altos, California; and Ontario, Canada; and expects continued growth.
NorCal High School Mountain Bike League—California/National
NorCal High School Mountain Bike League has been promoting and developing youth mountain-bike teams at public high schools in northern California since 2001. Matt Fritzinger, director of the League since its inception, believes that "mountain biking is the T-Ball of our sport." Many NorCal athletes go on to succeed in collegiate cycling and professional road racing—and all of these riders will continue to enjoy cycling as a life-long sport.
High school mountain bike programs keep teens active and engaged, and help them to grow as part of a team while developing individual leadership skills. The programs the League has established in northern California are being replicated across the country, most notably in southern California, where more than 10 schools are launching the SoCal High School Mountain Bike League this spring.
Transportation Alternatives—New York, New York
New York City's Transportation Alternatives (TA) is one of the most influential bike-advocacy groups in the country. Through events, campaigns, and programs, TA works to reclaim New York City's streets for the best transportation alternatives: bicycling, walking, and public transit.
The group's influence—bolstered by 7,000 members and 20,000 activists—has won scores of miles of new bicycle lanes, including innovative traffic-protected facilities on Manhattan's 9th Avenue and Grand Street. TA has also gained more car-free hours in Central and Prospect Parks—two of the city's prime bicycle destinations. In 2009, TA is working to achieve a citywide "bikes in buildings" policy that will meet New York's growing demand for bike parking and encourage more bike commuting in the city. TA's role in affecting change in NYC, and inspiring bike-advocates nationwide, adds tremendous strength to the bicycling movement.