I enjoyed the LAB Bike Summit. It gave me the opportunity to put faces to the names of the other university bike programs. I met Tim Potter from Wisconsin, David Takemoto Watts from UC Davis, Ariadne Scott from Stanford and Rich Holt from George Mason. Meeting them really deepened the relationships that we are building and I hope that we can continue to look to them for support. It was tremendously uplifting to hear what the LAB felt about our programs at UMD and of course I got a photo with Andy Clarke.
However, I also came to realize that we have a unique opportunity here at bikeUMD. Our unique built environment here in College Park puts us in a position to show the way to other universities and small communities on the East Coast. The schools that won Platinum and Gold are out west, have great weather and newer built environments. Their programs are truly awesome but in some ways they don’t face our same challenges with changing the hearts and minds of commuters when it comes to choosing to bike.
Some of the conversations I had reminded me of a project I wanted to get started last year but couldn’t. That is the idea of the Cyclovia. A cyclovia is a car-free Sunday program that is internationally recognized.
I also liked the goal I heard, I believe for Greensboro, Where they would like 20% of their poulation to bike 20% of the time. That is what I am always trying to articulate here. We are not asking everyone to stop driving all of the time. We are just asking them to explore the real health, wellness and sustainability benefits that come from developing a community that welcomes cycling.
Anyhow, I believe more great things are to come from these relationships. Next year promises to be better than the last in terms of biking at UMD.
This would be an excellent way to blur the lines between the campus and the community. We are going to start doing that by planning bike valet services for Maryland Day but getting started on plans for a campus Cyclovia would be another great start.
Speaking of Cyclovia, the recognized founder of the idea is coming to our area to speak!
Gil Penalosa started cyclovia in Bogota, Colombia and it has since expanded to 75 miles in the country. He is coming to speak in Colombia Maryland on Thursday April 7th from 7 to 9 pm. To rsvp email event.rsvp@columbiaAssociation.com