The Georgia Bikes Blog

Earn-A-Bike Programs

 

Georgia Bikes promotes bicycling across the state through our efforts to create Complete Streets policies, support building local advocacy organizations, and provide bike safety education among many other functions.  Our educational efforts are broadened and higher impact through collaborations. We are highlighting activities that are done in part with those we collaborate with during the year. This is to not only identify their good work and to share learning experiences, but to issue a challenge to communities to take up one of these featured  activities in your area. We also encourage those who do host many of these same activities and classes to talk back and let us know what you are doing and how it goes. Sharing is caring and the more ways of doing things the better we will facilitate our growing bicycle community state-wide.

 

In March 2018, we co-hosted a Earn A Bike class with Decatur Active Living and the staff at Ebster Community Center in the city of Decatur, GA.  In case you’re unfamiliar with Earn A Bike, it is a low-key, hands on, learning environment to learn bicycle safety, bike handling skills, and basic maintenance and by completing the process, the individual earns a bicycle.  It definitely creates relationships, if you have any questions about Earn A Bike program development, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .  

 

Must haves for a successful Earn A Bike:

  1. Enthusiasm

  2. Tools that support learning.  Basic is okay! Our Tweens Guide to Bicycling is easy.  

  3. Working bicycles

  4. A supportive team

  5. Basic tools- bicycle pump with an air pressure gage, multi-tool, lights, bike lock

 

Learning tips:

  1. Create a program that best fits your goal, resources, and needs of the community.

  2. When working with children and young people, it is good to have at least two adults to teach, demonstrate and support.  We had four to five students participate and there were two adults. If kids are working in groups or pairs, up to eight students with two adults works well.  One to share the material and the other to float between the two groups to facilitate learning. Over eight, add an additional adult. This becomes more important when on the road, practicing a group ride.

  3. Having visuals or using the environment will help with communication.  Remember most young people do not understand the principles of driving so practice and demonstration creates pathways to learning.

  4. Providing children with written information and reviewing the principles will support their use of that tool and increase the likelihood that they will use it again in the future.

  5. Allow youth to demonstrate their knowledge and skill.  Additionally, have them to take turns leading the group.  Provide a review their skills. This feedback gives them both confidence and the opportunity to see what they did well and what need to improve.

 

We asked Staff at Decatur Active Living (DAL) and Ebster Community Center (ECC) a few questions about why they wanted to host this class and here are their responses!

 

Why did DAL/ ECC decide to host this program?
We wanted to provide a fun, educational opportunity for at risk youth to learn about bike safety and earn a bike that so many of the participants don't have. This is a new program to Decatur Active Living. We had several bikes and citizens donated some
bikes so we thought it was the perfect opportunity.

What does an earn a bike program do, provide, solve?
Earn a bike provides participating youth the opportunity to learn bike safety, the proper way to take care of their bike and for many of them; the chance to have their own bike once they complete the program. From observing bike behavior around the Ebster center, most children and teens have never been taught the rules of the road,  their importance of respecting cars and how to ride safely. Earn a bike program teaches that in a small group setting for kids to really understand the responsibility of having a bike. This program makes a difference for kids that participate and lifelong bike lessons are taught.

What do you hope this provides for the community?
Earn a bike will start a new trend in the Ebster community. Earn a bike graduates will show off their cool bikes, they will share with their friends what they've learned and their ridership will keep the bike culture diverse in Decatur. The more kids we have graduate form this program, the better chances of Decatur having safe, smart bike riders around the city.

What are upcoming kid focused bicycle-related programs at DAL?
Our annual bike camp is June 11-June 15th. This camp for kids 8-12 years old dives deeper into bike safety, proper bike handling, bike maintenance and rules of the road. The weeklong camp makes cycling fun and encourages campers to ride more often to school and with their families. The city is also offering  a Bike Rodeo event on Thursday April 5the during spring break. Our bike rodeo for kids offers bike maintenance checks, helmet fitting and a fun bike safety obstacle course. We also offer bike registration in case a bike is lost or stolen, its registered with Decatur Police department and if found, can be returned to owner.

 

 

2018 Georgia Bike Summit Bid for Proposals

Georgia Bikes Request for Bids: 

2018 Georgia Bike Summit Host City

Event Date: Fall 2018, date TBD

Applications due: Friday, March 23, 2018 @ 5PM to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Summary

Georgia Bikes is the voice for a bicycle friendly Georgia. Our mission is to promote bicycling and to improve bicycling conditions throughout the state. We see the bicycle as both a sensible means of transportation and an enjoyable form of recreation. By creating friendlier conditions for cycling, we will improve traffic congestion, air quality, public health, and the overall livability of our communities. For more about the organization and its programs, visit http://GeorgiaBikes.org.

 

To share best practices and disseminate information about creating bicycle friendly communities, Georgia Bikes hosts the Georgia Bike Summit every Fall. The purpose of the Summit is to bring together a diverse group of stakeholders  - bicycle advocates, cycling enthusiasts, bicycle retailers, elected officials, law enforcement, transportation planners and engineers as well as representatives from the fields of public health and tourism – to collaborate in building a bicycle friendly Georgia. A secondary purpose of the Summit is to the showcase the bicycle culture and amenities of communities throughout the state. Toward that end, the Summit is hosted in a different city each year.

 

Previous Summit locations:

·        2010 – Savannah

·        2011 – Athens

·        2012 – Augusta

·        2013 – Roswell

·        2014 – Columbus

·        2015 – Milledgeville

·        2016 – Jekyll Island

·        2017 – Macon       

 

For photos and information about previous Georgia Bike Summits, visit: http://georgiabikes.org/index.php/events/38-bikesummit

 

Host City Representative: Scope of Work and Responsibilities

The host city shall provide an individual representative to serve as the primary liaison between Georgia Bikes and the host city for the 2018 Georgia Bike Summit. The host city representative will be expected to:

  1. Work with Georgia Bikes’ Executive Director to develop a six month timeline that corresponds to the Scope of Work and by which to manage and implement the planning and coordination of the 2018 Georgia Bike Summit;
  2. In collaboration with the Executive Director, establish a 2018 Georgia Bike Summit Committee comprised of local bicycle advocacy organization leaders/staff,  local bicycle retailers, and, if appropriate, representatives from public health agencies, CVBs, and local government;
  3. Attend 2018 Georgia Bike Summit Committee teleconference and in-person meetings as scheduled by the Executive Director;
  4. Coordinate local event sponsorship solicitations, lodging discounts, publicity, media outreach, and invitations to elected leaders and transportation officials

Outlined tasks above may be modified and other tasks relevant to the development of the 2018 Georgia Bike Summit may be assigned as needed, based upon mutual agreement of the ED and Host City Representative.

 

Qualifications for Host City

The 2018 Georgia Bike Summit Host City will be an accessible, safe, and welcoming venue for a multi-day conference focused on bicycling issues in Georgia.

 

Required qualifications include:

  • Presence of an active local non-profit advocacy organization with a mission focused on on-road/paved trail bicycle safety and advocacy
    • Local advocacy organization must be able to provide 6-8 volunteers for logistical needs
    • Local advocacy organization must coordinate Summit social event(s) and group bike ride(s) for Summit participants
  • Conference facilities that can accommodate up to 200 Summit participants and attendees
    • Facilities must include a plenary session room with seating for up to 200 individuals, plus at least four breakout workshop session rooms that can seat up to 65 individuals each
    • Facilities must be safely accessible by bicycle to and from lodging options
  • Lodging options that are safely accessible by bicycle to and from Summit facilities and event locations
  • Facilities for pre- and post-Summit social events that can accommodate up to 250 Summit participants and attendees
    • Facilities must allow for food and beverage service
  • Catering options for social events and conference meals/ snacks
    • Caterers must be able to accommodate a full range of dietary needs, including vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free meal options
    •  

Preferred qualifications include:

·        “Bicycle Friendly Community” designation or active pursuit of such designation

·        Bicycle rental or bike share opportunities for Summit participants

·        Free or subsidized conference facilities

·        Opportunities for mobile workshops

·        Vocal support for the 2018 Georgia Bike Summit from local elected officials

 

 

 

Application Process

Interested communities are invited to send their bid via email only to Elliott Caldwell, Executive Director, Georgia Bikes, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Applications will be accepted until 5:00 PM EST on Friday, March 23, 2018.

 

Proposal Guidelines

Bids should include the following:

  1. Name and contact information for Host City Representative;
  2. Contact information for local advocacy organization in host city;
  3. Narrative explaining why the community is the best host city for the 2016 Georgia Bike Summit with specific reference to required and preferred qualifications outlined above;
  4. List of three most recent comparable events or conferences held in the community.

 

Questions? Contact Elliott Caldwell at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

Safe Routes to Schools Staff Highlight

 

 

Georgia Bikes is a statewide organization that works across Georgia to support communities in creating environments that are appropriate for smart bicycling.  Our work requires collaborations with many organizations and individuals who are local and involved to see this vision accomplished.  Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Resource Center in Georgia works in five regions across the state; North, Southwest, Metro Atlanta, Coastal, and East Central, with a dedicate staff member in these areas.  There are a number of available resources and services communities are about to receive free of charge to make their school communities a safer, fun, and well designed environments for everyone to have the option to bicycle.  

Here is an interview with the newest member to the team, Marielena Gutierrez, she works in Metro Atlanta, covering Clayton, DeKalb, and Fulton.  She works in the position formerly held by Nichole Hollis.  If your school community is looking to get students walking and biking to school or different ways to increase physical activity during the school, this interview will cover the services offered and how to make contact with SRTS Georgia.

What is your position with SRTS?  What do you do?

I am Marielena Gutierrez and am an Outreach Coordinator with SRTS in Metro Atlanta serving Clayton, DeKalb, and Fulton counties.  I encourage students and schools to walk or bike in a safe way.  Our project is based on the Six Es which are:

Engineering

Encouragement

Education

Evaluation

Enforcement

Equity

I coordinate events like International Walk to School Day or “I Walk”, help schools coordinate making safe routes with planners, engineers, and schools to increase safety, provide materials and resources free to partner schools, attend career days, visit after-school programs and libraries, and give the “Crossing Award” to crossing guards.  Additionally I work closely with School Champions who are either staff, parents or school liasion, who coordinate events in schools.  

 

What do you find most rewarding about your role?

Working directly with children is the most rewarding.  When I am out and able to teach something, seeing them enjoy learning makes me happy!  I enjoy serving communities regardless of status and getting parents involved.  The goal is to build a new generation and we are planting the seeds for that growth towards more active lifestyles.

 

What parts of your role do you feel add the most value to the school community?

Everything is important!  Education however is the key.  Events can be adopted on a weekly or monthly basis, it all depends on the school’s commitment level to making progress.  It is exciting and schools benefit more when they are more engaged in the events and more active.

 

What are ways you think school communities must change to make them safer environments for students to walk or ride a bike?

This is also a combination of everything!  Children must be educated to have knowledge about safety.  Drivers also need more information because many are not aware of the dangers.  Speed control which is a design and engineering issue must also be addressed.  Without any changes, there will be more crashes on school campuses.  All the pieces together are important.

 

How can schools get involved with SRTS?

It is easy!  Schools, parents, teachers may contact the Resource Center by calling, emailing; all the information is on the website.  http://saferoutesga.org/content/georgia-regions

 

What are some successes you’ve had this year?

There was a high number of participants and participating schools in “I Walk/” International Walk to School Day this year.  A total of 61 schools in DeKalb, Clayton, and Fulton in both elementary and middle school.  The City of Decatur had a high participation and Westchester Elementary had a total of 77% students participate in “Walk and Roll”, their version of “I Walk”. That made them won the “Golden Shoe Award”.  We are also reaching the Hispanic community.  This year I was able to provide information in Spanish to students in assemblies and classes about safety.

 

What do you do when not working?

I like to go to the gym, to cook, eating, hanging out going to concerts, festivals and being with friends and family!

Be Savvy During Your Winter Rides!

  

Winter finally hit Georgia with sub-freezing temperatures and a wintery mix of rain!  This change in weather does not mean one must give up bicycling, however, it does mean casual summer rides are over. There are many lists of “to-do” and gear suggestions, here is a list of “to-do” and a few sites to follow up for more information.

 

  1.  Basic layering skills with the idea to maintain core body heat is a must as well as finding gloves and shoes that will both insulate and keep the extremities dry!   
  2. Staying hydrated is always a must even when the sun lies lower on the horizon.  Insulate beverages to maintain heat and retard being frozen.
  3. Light your bike up!  With longer nights and more inclement weather, lights keep one visible.  Ride bright and with joy!
  4. Carry extra gear, including clothing socks and gloves, tube and patches, lights and heat packs, for yourself or a friend.
  5.  

Find winter clothing suggestions are bountiful!  There is a hack for every price point.  Here are some key suggestions for any wallet.

  1. Wool is your friend. Cotton is not.  Keep a base layer closest to your body that wicks away moisture.  Add various layers of thickness both on top and bottom.  And an outer shell that is water resistant. 
  2. Gloves can also be layered and non-sport specific.  In other words, find a pair of wool gloves and layer under a more water-resistant glove.
  3. Keep your head covered, 40-45% of body heat escapes through our heads! 
  4.  

Bike riding position and bike maintenance will keep your riding throughout the year.  Winter bicycling conditions are different than in warmer and dryer weather.  With the addition of water, snow and accumulated slush, taking the lane and not riding near the curb will keep you up-right and riding more predictably.  Bicycle maintenance in winter means after every ride, clean the drive train (i.e. chain rings, cassette, chain) and free it of moisture, dirt, and debris.  After cleaning, grease the chain with lube.  And finally wipe off your brakes, brake pads and tire rim.

 

Winter riding can be fun!  Finding out what works for you and your bike is the start to enjoying bicycling throughout the year.  Here are a few sites for more information and suggestions.  What are your winter biking tips for either the commuter or recreational rider?

https://www.bicycling.com/training/tips/9-dos-and-donts-of-winter-cycling/slide/10

https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/winter-bicycling.html

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/winter.html

Recent Inquiries on Bicycle Safety

The choice to ride a bicycle is being made by more and more people across the state of Georgia. People are riding for a multitude of reasons: daily commuting and transportation, health and wellness, recreation and tourism, as well as to be social with their friend, neighbors, and community. Many of these riders are coming back after a long time off a bicycle and others are first-timers.

With these parameters, the need for bicycle education is important for both those on bicycles and those driving. Roadway safety is an evergreen topic! A few commonly unknown or misunderstood laws are described below.

On way to center bicycling is to recognize that “Bicycles are vehicles and have the same rights and responsibilities on public roads as motor vehicles” [40-1-1(15, 75)].

This changed since many of us were children on bicycles. “Bicycles must travel in the same direction as motor vehicle traffic, even when in a designated bike lane” [40-6-294(f)].

As things go, cycling is social, “Bicyclists may lawfully ride two-abreast” [40-6-294].

When it comes to use of bike lanes, “Bicycle lanes are set aside for preferential use by bicyclists. Bicyclists are not required to ride in a bike lane just because it exists. In general, use a bike lane when it is safe and convenient to do so based on your destination.”

 For motorized vehicles drivers (cars, trucks, transport trucks, etc.) there are several that maybe unfamiliar to you as they address how to drive with a bicycle present on the road. “Obstructing a bike lane or multi-use path is a misdemeanor [16-11-43]. Working in conjunction, “aggressive driving is considered a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature in Georgia.” When passing a person on a bicycle, there is a right and wrong way to pass. “The operator of a motor vehicle, when overtaking and passing a bicycle that is proceeding in the same direction on the roadway, shall leave a safe distance between such vehicle and the bicycle and shall maintain such clearance until safely passed the overtaken bicycle. The term ‘safe distance; means not less than three feet” [40-6-56]. To achieve distance of three feet, “cars may cross a solid yellow centerline to pass a cyclist if the oncoming lane is clear and it is safe to pass” [40-6-46(c)].

And finally, cyclists who violate traffic laws will be subject to the same penalties as drivers of motor vehicles, except that no penalty shall be assessed against a cyclist’s motor vehicle driver’s license.

Keep these in mind as they address most situations, however, there are more laws and standards of bicycling that any rider will be held accountable of. To find out more about laws, expectations and safe bicycling practices, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a copy of our Bicyclist Pocket Guide. We will ship the amount of copies requested. Be smart and have fun!

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