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March 2012
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Biking Rides into Regional Consciousness

Screen shot from Fred Swegles and The O.C. Register

You know bikes are truly riding their way into the regional consciousness and vernacular when in the span of ten days the San Clemente section of the O.C. Register reports that Charlie Gandy’s “Bike Tour of Long Beach Gives San Clemente Ideas” on 3/15 and then on 3/25 I open the Los Angeles Times to read in the Mind & Body section that Roy M. Wallack is giving readers tips and feedback on the right ride to help “Bike to Work.”

I couldn’t be more thrilled. The times they are challenging yes, but that brings opportunity. Maybe we’re finally ready to face the fact that privileging cars has led to city, town and neighborhood streets with average speeds that aren’t isn’t safe for anyone not in a car to be on many of them. And let’s face it, the more hours we sit driving means the more inches we ad to on our waistlines.

Need a little more persuading that the bike is a smart urban transit tool you might want to reconsider? How about if we throw our Mayor and more financial savvy into the mix? Friday a report from the D.C. Streetsblog called “Why Bicyclists Are Better Customers for Local Businesses” quotes Long Beach’s Mayor Bob Foster “I see parts of the city on my bike that I would never even notice if I was just driving,” he said. “It’s a way for me personally to get closer to the city.”

Long Beach and its groundbreaking “Bike Friendly Business District” program play the central role in the article with support stories from cities around the nation like St. Louis, San Diego, New York and Portland. Yes, that’s right, Portland is playing a supporting role on a bike story that Long Beach has the lead on. The program was originated by Charlie Gandy for Bike Long Beach, and then further developed and successfully run by April Economides of Green Octopus Consulting. The program officially ended on 3/15 but now the business districts themselves are carrying the strategy forward and both Gandy and Economides continue to support and promote the program through their talks and tours.

Kerri Zane - Our Health by Bike Columnist for Women On Bikes SoCal and her portrait from Saturday

Speaking of tours Women On Bikes SoCal had our inaugural group tour ride this past Saturday which we celebrated by having our portraits taken by the very talented Shereef Moustafa. Shereef has captured the images of over 72 bicyclists from around Long Beach for a series of portraits we very much hope will be displayed during the Pro Walk/Pro Bike conference this September. We’re planning easy monthly rides at Women On Bikes for those who want to ease back into (or for the first time) riding, those who want to get to know Long Beach better, and of course any ladies who just want to get out and enjoy making new bike-friendly friends. If you’d like to be kept updated send a note to wobsocal@gmail.com.

 

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