Thursday, February 21, 2013

Cycling Advocates: Have You Seen It?

 

That’s right, You! the cycling advocate. Have you seen the new on-line tool to assist you in being a more effective advocate for building cycling infrastructure and developing cyclo-tourism? No, not yet, well, check it out…

Our friends Russ Roca and Laura Crawford of The Path Less Pedaled fame have developed a new on-line resource for cycling advocates. Named Bicycle Tourism and Travel, their new offering will provide information, suggestions, and guidance on developing cycling as an economic development tool for communities.

Drawing upon their knowledge gained in traveling around America and New Zealand, the two seasoned bike travellers will help keep a national dialog going to improve our national bike infrastructure. The new tool also invites you, the advocate, to jump in and throw your two cents worth into the pile and help us all continue to develop best practices around our efforts to enhance cycling on a national level.

So, jump on over to the page and “like” it and bring a few friends with you! Also, look for Russ and Laura at the upcoming 2013 National Bike Summit in Washington, D.C. When you find them, tell’em Zeke sends a big “Western North Carolina HELLO!”

Speaking of Western North Carolina – yes, that was a segue into a couple of additional topics… Today was the latest meeting of the Steering Committee of the Blue Ridge Bike Plan. After many months, the light can be seen shining at the end of the tunnel and a product is close at hand. In our meeting today, representatives from the seven counties in the plan reviewed data gathered at recent community meetings and then narrowed down specific corridors within each county to prioritize for future development. Next up, was setting priorities within sub-regions as to how the various counties would connect. It is gratifying to see this multi-month plan coming together.

For me, the process has now advanced from a single county comprehensive plan development to a multi-county regional plan soon to be inserted into the currently under-development N.C. state-wide plan. It will be interesting and hopefully rewarding to see how the Republican controlled legislature in N.C. reacts to implementing the plan. Many of us are hoping that the current “powers that be” will realize the economic potential of the plan and will let their business sense fund the plans. Time will tell…

Planning for the 2013 Blue Ridge Breakaway is underway. As Ride Director this year, my job is to help our organizing team continue this excellent event into its 4th year. Having received rave reviews from participants the past three years, I sure don’t want the event to backslide on my watch! We have received important rider input especially regarding the “out and back” nature of the Metric Century route and will be developing a new loop route for that particular portion of the Breakaway. We will continue to offer the Century ride along the Blue Ridge Parkway that includes 10,000+ feet of climbing. So, mark your calendars now and come to beautiful Haywood County in Western North Carolina for the August 17th rendition of the Blue Ridge Breakaway. In fact, come early and stay late! There is some excellent riding to be had in my home community!

Now, get on over there and check out The Path Less Pedaled’s new resource!

Until later,

- Zeke

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