Bike Month will be different this year, but we will make the most if it!

Bike Month will be different this year, but we will make the most if it!

May is National Bike Month, promoted by the League of American Bicyclists and celebrated in communities from coast to coast. Established in 1956, National Bike Month is a chance to showcase the many benefits of bicycling — and encourage more folks to giving biking a try. This National Bike Month will necessarily be different, with a focus on well-being and connection.

The National Bike Challenge, which coincides with Bike Month is a great way to stay connected with friends and co-workers, while encouraging each other to get out and ride individually. You can search for groups in your community or company, or even start your own. We would be honored if you also joined the Georgia Bikes! group. (You can belong to multiple groups).

Haven’t been on your bike in awhile or concerned about cycling during the coronavirus pandemic? We have assembled information on best practices for health and safety to go along with our pocket guides and other publications. Want to teach younger family members to ride safely? We’ve got you covered there, too, with resources for teaching bike safety at home. In addition, we’ve curated a full calendar of cycling webinars, education programs, and other online events.

Stay tuned for announcements on Bike Month events next week, including webinars and a virtual advocacy happy hour! Stay safe and give extra support and ❤️ to essential workers and essential riders who are most at risk right now.

Bike Walk Golden Isles seeks input through priorities survey

Over the last year Georgia Bikes been working with residents in Glynn and other coastal counties to launch a bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organization for the region. The pandemic has slowed progress, but Bike Walk Golden Isles is continuing to discuss how to move forward. If you live in Glynn, Camden, Liberty of McIntosh County, please consider completing this short survey to help the organization identify priorities and gauge interest. 

Bike Walk Golden Isles will also join Georgia Bikes at the Justice for Ahmaud Community Bike Ride in Brunswick on Oct. 31.

 

2020 Georgia Bike Summit recordings and presentations now available

If you missed a session at this year’s virtual Georgia Bike Summit or simply want to review a session, selected recordings and presentations are now available on the Georgia Bike Summit website. We also invite you to provide feedback on this year’s summit to help us plan for our 2021 event. 

Don’t forget, the virtual summit season continues with the Georgia Walk Summit, Oct. 22-23, and the Georgia Trail Summit, Nov. 9-10.

New League Cycling Instructors are ready to roll

LCI Seminar Participants in Athens
LCI Seminar Participants in Savannah

Georgia Bikes hosted a League Cycling Instructor Seminar Sept. 11-13 with all candidates successfully completing the rigorous training required by the League of America Bicyclists.

League Cycling Instructors are, “ambassadors for better biking through education. After earning certification through a three-day, League Coach-led seminar, LCIs teach Smart Cycling classes to children as well as adults. Their goal is to help people feel more secure about getting on a bike, to create a mindset that bikes are treated as vehicles, and to ensure that people on bikes know how to ride safely and legally.”

The newly certified LCIs are:

  • Jason Perry (Athens)
  • Joshua Crawford (Columbus)
  • Caila Brown (Savannah)
  • Irene Ivie (Athens)
  • Liz Solomon (Athens)
  • Scott Long (Athens)
  • Patti Sistrunk (St. Simons Island)
  • Carmen Kuan (Raleigh-Durham, N.C.)

The seminar was originally scheduled to be held in Macon, but the pandemic required modification of the program’s format. Instruction was delivered by LCI Coach Jenni Laurita through videoconferencing, with candidates meeting at BikeAthens and Bike Walk Savannah for on-bike course modules facilitated by League Cycling Instructors Steven Cousins, John Bennett, and Christopher Mojock. All participants at the Athens and Savannah sites followed strict COVID protocols, including mask wearing at all times. This is only the second LCI Seminar to use the online/in-person hybrid model developed to offer LCI training during the pandemic. 

For more information on Georgia Bikes’ safety education programs, contact John Bennett. 

Tour de Georgia 2020: Exploring multi-use paths in the Peach State

By Maria Borowik

My spring and summer plans disappeared without saying goodbye. The big trip across the pond for my best friend’s wedding, the backyard birthday parties, the large social bicycle rides, every single one was cancelled. But despair not, Georgia is full of beautiful places to go on outdoor adventures. If you want to explore local, I promise you, the Peach State will not disappoint.

With Memorial Day weekend coming up, I drummed up my very own Tour de Georgia. This was not meant to be a revival of the acclaimed professional cycling stage race or an ambitious bicycle ride across Georgia. The premise was to ride my bicycle on as many multi-use paved paths I could find through-out the state in three days. Let me tell you, we have many more than just the Silver Comet Trail or the path to Stone Mountain and one could fill many weekends exploring them. Every single one of these paths can be easily accessed and enjoyed by bicyclists, runners, walkers, wheelchair users and four legged friends of all ages.

Tour de Georgia Day 1:

1. The Carrolton GreenBelt: One of the newest paths in the state, the 18-mile loop connects neighborhoods, shops and the University of West Georgia. It currently boasts the title of “the largest paved loop trail system in Georgia.”

2. Chattahoochee Riverwalk: 15 miles filled with historic landmarks, the largest urban whitewater and kayak course in the world and although I didn’t see any alligators there are signs alerting you to their presence.

3. Fort Benning Recreation Trails: located at the southern end of the Chattahoochee Riverwalk you will see signs and a connector path to Fort Benning. I highly recommend you visit and ride through the 102-year United States Army post. Don’t miss the thee jump towers and nose art on Eubanks Field.

4. Columbus Fall Trace Line: this 11-mile rail-trail is not just a phenomenal fitness and recreational path but also has the potential to become a transit corridor connecting northern residential areas with downtown Columbus and the Metra bus system.

Tour de Georgia Day 2:

5. Ocmulgee Heritage Trail: sections of the 11-mile path in Macon are currently closed due to flooding and construction work including bike path access to the Ocmulgee Mounds Historical Park and National Monument. The open sections still allow for a selfie in front of the famous Luther Williams Field baseball stadium and home of the Macon Bacon.

6. Clayton Connects: the 6 miles connecting the International Park to Lake Spivey Golf Club are just a taste of what is to come. Clayton Connects’ progressive master plan may one day make Jonesboro and surrounding cities the envy of the state with 112 miles of multi-use paths connecting Clayton county to the airport and the Atlanta BeltLine.

7. Michelle Obama Trail: originally the South River Trail in southern Decatur and now the first trail in the country named after the former First Lady. Lined with hundreds of wild blackberry patches, this 3.8- mile path rides by the Barack Obama’s magnet school and ends at the Atlanta Radio Club Field.

Tour de Georgia Day 3:

8. – 11. Suwanee Creek Greenway + Brushy Creek Greenway + Ivy Creek Greenway + George Pierce Park Trails: ride one of them or ride them all together for a longer 20-mile bike ride. Under the care of the award-winning Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation department, these paths feature wildlife viewing, boardwalks, swampy lakes and even disc golf. The detour to Town Park Center in downtown city of Suwannee is a must for a quick bite, live music and sidewalk art.

12. Big Creek Greenway: Spanning 19.7 miles connecting Roswell, Alpharetta and Cumming. This family friendly path may look flat like a pancake but beware of the infamous Sawtooth Pass on the northern end of the path in Forsyth County for a heart thumping rollercoaster.

My impromptu “Tour de Georgia” added up to 172 miles over 3 days. I shared the paths with many tiny tot bike riders and kids who are growing up with access to formerly unused infrastructure that has now been reshaped for public good. I’m excited about the trails that are in the works in so many counties across Georgia, some being built today and others in planning stages. They are going to make some epic follow up editions of my Tour de Georgia.

Maria Borowik is an Argentinean/Canadian who has made Georgia her home for the last decade. She loves the outdoors, traveling and recently completed a traverse of the entire US east coast using human powered mobility. When she isn’t working at Hagen Rosskopf/Bike Law GA she is out riding her bicycle or training for ultramarathons.

 

Coastal Regional Commission approves regional bicycle and pedestrian plan

The Coastal Regional Commission Council approved a regional bicycle and pedestrian plan (Aug. 12, 2020) designed to help our local governments improve connectivity, establish a long-term vision, and ensure safety for people walking and bicycling.

The plan, Bike + Walk Coastal Georgia (BWCG), provides a framework to create a connected system of bicycling and pedestrian facilities that serve the needs of Coastal Georgia’s residents and visitors. BWCG is an update to the 2005 Coastal Georgia Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan and will be used to guide land use and transportation planning decisions to provide a safer, more accessible region. More information.

Online public input sessions scheduled for state outdoor recreation plan

Lots of people ride bicycles in our state for transportation as well as fun outdoor recreation with their friends and family.

Details below about the Department of Natural Resources updating their statewide outdoor recreation plan — let them know you want to ride bicycles (of all kinds!) in state parks and to include bicycles in statewide recreation plans!

DNR will host two online interactive webinars to engage the public in the planning process and assess the public’s demand for outdoor recreation on Aug. 20 and 27. The meetings will include a short presentation, informal survey and opportunity for public comment. Written comments can also be submitted through Aug. 31. 

Links to meetings and more information are available on the DNR website.

We are planning the 2020 Georgia Bike Summit and need your input

We are planning the 2020 Georgia Bike Summit
and need your input

We made the decision to move our 2020 Georgia Bike Summit to a virtual format and we need input from you and your organization, club, event, and the broad bicycle community to help shape how we organize the Summit!

How many days should we do virtual sessions, how long should they be, what times of the day work best, and more. We’d also like suggestions on content and topics to be covered by speakers and presenters.

Please fill out this form and share with your networks, including members and volunteers as well as community organizations, neighborhood leaders, elected officials, local and regional government staff, and anyone else who might be interested in attending bike summit sessions.

Reach out with questions, suggestions, or concerns any time by emailing info@georgiabikes.org

 

Bike Month Advocacy Organization Profile: U Create Macon Bike Team

Throughout May we are celebrating National Bike Month 2020 by sharing information on bicycle advocacy organizations around the state that are working to improve conditions for people who ride bikes in their communities. We’ll learn more about the cities they serve, their missions and goals, and how they are adapting their efforts during the pandemic. To learn more about bicycle advocacy groups in Georgia, visit our directory.

Bike Month Advocacy Organization Profile: U Create Macon Bike Teams

Tell us about your organization, your mission, and your community. 

The U Create Macon Bike Team is a very unique program. U Create Macon houses several cycling programs that maximize our opportunities to give our youth the best opportunity to have outdoor adventures. We are the only youth chapter of the Major Taylor Association (Major Taylor  – Middle Georgia Chapter), The Middle Georgia Composite Team (Mountain Biking), Trips for Kids (Trips for Kids Middle Georgia), soon we will be a Free Bikes for Kids program (Summer 2020). We are looking at bringing Little Bellas by 2021. Our goal is to continue to cultivate a relationship with US Cycling and Velodrome organizations to round out our programs.

Before the pandemic, what were your major goals, events, or initiatives for 2020?

Our major goal is to get more kids on bikes. Our strategic plan for 2020 is to have more kids on bikes (safely as possible) in the history of Macon and Middle Georgia. COVID-19 has changed our approach but the mission is still the same. We use the Georgia Bikes pocket guides and our Bike Rodeo with Georgia Bikes and OCMA Dream Team was the largest ever in Middle Georgia. It was a catalyst for our program. Without that youth bike rodeo, there would be no program like we have today. 
 

How have you adapted your plans to continue amid the pandemic?

We have incorporated more virtual opportunities and because so many races have been canceled, we are creating some local outdoor adventures. Working with Dublin OCMA Dream Team, Coach Chris is spearheading a youth-only, six-day event. We are grateful to our U Create Macon core adult volunteers — Coach Lisa Doughtery, Coach Janet Grier, Coach Sam Macfie, Coach Tommy Neaves, Coach Fred Simonelli, Coach Brian Robertson, Coach Diane Fowler, Coach Nathan Robertson, Coach Wesley Altram, Coach Chris Johnson, Coach Daylon Martin, Coach Tom Glover, Coach “in training” Michael Robinson, Victor Chatfield and Ms. Gigi Weaver — for keeping our programs moving forward.
 

How has your community changed during the pandemic? Do you see more people biking, walking, and rolling for recreation and transportation? 

COVID-19 has changed our community forever but I do see more people walking, biking, and practicing self-care. Macon has a high number of preventable diseases (obesity, diabetes, etc.) and we are hoping that U Create Macon can be a community partner to help our community get healthier. Our program is award winning. We just won the Safe Routes to School Friend Partner of the Year for the East/Central Georgia region.
 
 
 

Charise Stephens, U Create Macon Founder 

For more information visit the U Create Macon Bike Team Facebook Page or contact them via email