All posts by

Out & About with Yay Bikes! — November 2015

Yay Bikes! rides with City of Columbus engineers to preview the new protected bike lanes on 4th Street. Photo credit: Tiffany Dixon

Welcome to the monthly feature in which we round up all our events, earned media, program delivery, meetings and speaking engagements for the month. Representation and outreach like this is what you fund with your membership dollars and major gifts, folks! Behold, November:

November 2

Regular meeting of MORPC’s Community Advisory Council, on which Catherine serves

November 4

Inaugural meeting of the Safe Routes to School National Conference Program Committee, on which Catherine serves

November 5

Regular meeting of the Mayor’s Green Team Transportation Committee, on which Catherine serves

Connect Columbus “Tactical Urbanism” event featuring temporary protected bike lanes, which was attended by 12 Yay Bikes! members

Continue reading Out & About with Yay Bikes! — November 2015

Bike Life 101: Dressing for weather

Shirley Droney is ready for any weather on the October Year of Yay! ride. Photo credit: Keith Lugs

When considering how to ride comfortably though all of Ohio’s wild weather, two truisms bear repeating—first: “There is no bad weather, only bad wardrobe,” and second: “Layer, layer, layer”.  But when it comes to the particulars of outfitting for rainy, snowy or just plain frigid rides, there are a couple schools of thought:


The minimalist view is expressed here and here, and with the following quote:

“When people ask me for tips on winter bicycling, I have very simple advice: Wear what you would have worn if you were going to walk outside in the winter. If it’s wet, throw on some water-proof pants on top of your regular pants, and that’s it. It’s very simple.”

The argument from this camp is basically that people (i.e., marketers and hardcore cyclists) overcomplicate dressing for weather, causing the average person or fair-weather cyclist to balk at the expense of acquiring all the required gear, and/or the stigma of looking too much like a whack-a-doo. They claim that most weather-appropriate cycling gear is already in your closet, and that a trip to the thrift store for wool layers and the like should suffice to get you through most weather conditions—stylishly! 

Cue photo of an adorable Dutch cyclist riding her sexy self through a whiteout:

She’s… so… beautiful…

Also, though not explicitly in any article I could find, this side of the aisle gives nod to the “invisible cyclists” among us, who ride all year long regardless of their ability to afford special gear. Clearly not everyone can afford the luxury of fabrics that wick!

Continue reading Bike Life 101: Dressing for weather

Bike Life 101: Planning for contingencies

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 11.16.53 AM
Cyclists on our May 2015 Year of Yay! ride learn how to put bikes on COTA bus racks.

An oft-stated concern among those who exclusively drive to work is that they need access to their vehicle in case of an emergency. But several local services—and a touch of gumption—can help you handle the unexpected when your car isn’t at the ready. Employ several of the following strategies to really ease your mind and finally make it possible to ride-not-drive to work!


Guaranteed Ride Home / Taxis

MORPC’s Guaranteed Ride Home program allows anyone who carpools or vanpools, walks, bikes or rides the bus to work a 90% (!) taxi fair reimbursement in the event of an emergency that requires them to leave work quickly, or after hours. Register for free in advance (using the link above), keep the reimbursement voucher on hand and use the service up to 4 times per year!

Bike & Bus

Bike + Bus = COTA’s Bike & Bus! What it lacks in speed, COTA busses makes up for in safety and reliability. Buses are there for you in terrible weather and when you need help to extend an almost-but-not-quite bikeable journey.

Continue reading Bike Life 101: Planning for contingencies

Bike Life 101: Recovering a stolen bicycle

Lock it up! Even in your garage!

While the chance of recovering a stolen bike is slim, it’s not as unlikely as you might think. Here are the strategies we suggest for getting it back:


It is challenging to (lawfully) retrieve a stolen bicycle, even one you know is yours, without having the serial number that proves you owned it. Write this number down, snap some pictures of your bike and stash both away in case of unfortunate circumstances such as this. Do it NOW! If you’re in Columbus, you can store this information online through the Bug Your Bike service, which also provides a free RFID chip for your bike that City of Columbus, OSU and COTA officials can scan to help reunite it with you. If it’s already too late for you, check with the shop where you bought the bike to see if they have a record of it; your purchase receipt may also help.

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 12.11.45 PM
This is a real before and after shot of a bike stolen in Columbus and recovered by the kind folks at Revolution Cycles. Without a serial number, no way could this have been recovered.


Report the thefts of your bike to the police using their online system. They likely won’t find it, but if anyone else does, you’ll want that police report on file. If you do locate your bike, call the police to escort you as you attempt to retrieve it. The internet is replete with stories of people who pretend to buy their stolen bikes only to sprint away on them, but this is a very dangerous practice and not recommended.

Continue reading Bike Life 101: Recovering a stolen bicycle

Bike Life 101: Planning a route

Would that the best route were always so clear!

Whether you’re headed to work or the grocery store, your goal is to plan a route that maximizes both safety and sanity. To that end, here are some strategies we suggest:


Assuming you had the knowledge and confidence to ride any street, which features would you prioritize? Some cyclists prefer the most direct path, while others are more sensitive to factors including traffic volume and speed, terrain, presence of bicycle infrastructure, levels of (or perceived levels of) neighborhood crime and more. Sometimes the same cyclist will prioritize different features on different days, depending on how they feel! So, not to leap straight from “planning a route” to “planning multiple routes in both directions”, BUT if you can find not one but several routes to/from your destination you’ll have options when it comes time to hop on the bike.


There are numerous options for mapping a route online and in the app store, but the best for transportation cycling remains trusty ‘ole Google Maps. Select the bike icon, type in your start/end points—remembering to route the reverse trip as well—and you will be given several good route possibilities. Keep in mind that these are good suggestions but likely not perfect suggestions! Google doesn’t account for your personal preferences, of course, nor does it note factors such as construction detours. Consider its results more a jumping off point than the final word.


If all the routes available to you seem impossible, it may be time to expand your notion of an accessible road. Because when you know the rules and how to safely negotiate traffic by bike, many routes you thought impossible suddenly aren’t. You’ll be amazed at the roads you can ride comfortably when you know what you’re doing!

Continue reading Bike Life 101: Planning a route

Out & About with Yay Bikes! — October 2015

Catherine hobnobs with Columbus Recreation and Parks’ Tony Collins, MORPC’s Thea Walsh, OSU’s Beth Kelley-Snoke and City of Hilliard’s Letty Schamp at the WTS Fall Luncheon.

Welcome to the monthly feature in which we round up all our events, earned media, program delivery, meetings and speaking engagements for the month. Representation and outreach like this is what you fund with your membership dollars and major gifts, folks! Behold, October:

October 2

Two presentations at MORPC’s Summit on Sustainability: “Safer Streets & More Trails for a Healthier, More Active Region”, Yay Bikes! Director Catherine Girves with Jordan Whisler of MORPC, Darren Hurley of the City of Worthington and Kjirsten Frank Hoppe of MVRPC; and “Driving by Yourself is Lame; We Give SOV a Bad Name”,  Yay Bikes! Director Catherine Girves with Cleve Ricksecker of Capital Crossroads SID and Bilin Aksun Guvenc of OSU

October 7

Presentation at WTS Fall Luncheon: “All About Biking”, Yay Bikes! Director Catherine Girves with Tony Collins of City of Columbus, Beth Snoke of OSU, Letty Schamp of City of Hillard, and Thea Walsh of MORPC

Route vetting ride for October’s Year of Yay!

October 8

Regular meeting of Mayor Coleman’s Green Team

Continue reading Out & About with Yay Bikes! — October 2015

Out & About with Yay Bikes! — September 2015

Columbus Mayoral candidate Andy Ginther drops by Bike the Cbus for a chat with local cyclists

Welcome to the monthly feature in which we round up all our events, earned media, program delivery, meetings and speaking engagements for the month. Representation and outreach like this is what you fund with your membership dollars and major gifts, folks! Behold, September:

September 2

Bread Breaking grand opening event at Whole Foods Easton, at which we were announced as the Q4 wooden nickel donation recipients

Launch event for OSU’s Bike Share program

September 4

Registration and packet pick-up Bike the Cbus and Bike the Cbus+

Columbus Dispatch: “Columbus hopeful for state funds to rebuild 3rd Avenue railroad bridge” 

September 5

WBNS 10-TV: “Best Bets: Things To Do Around Central Ohio This Weekend”

Bike the Cbus and Bike the Cbus+

Pedal Instead @ Bike the Cbus and Bike the Cbus+

Continue reading Out & About with Yay Bikes! — September 2015

Out & About with Yay Bikes! — August 2015

Jeff Gove and Catherine Girves with Grove City Mayor Ike Stage at his inaugural “Bike with Mayor Ike” ride

Welcome to the monthly feature in which we round up all our events, earned media, program delivery, meetings and speaking engagements for the month. Representation and outreach like this is what you fund with your membership dollars and major gifts, folks! Behold, August:

August 1

Ohio State Fair helmet fit for 400 children

August 3

Wrap meeting for the 2015 Ride of Silence planning committee

August 4

Leading the 5th x NW National Night Out neighborhood ride

August 5

Route vetting ride for Bike the Cbus

August 6

Participation in ‘The Courage to Lead’@ Columbus Foundation, a professional development opportunity for select local nonprofit executives 

Continue reading Out & About with Yay Bikes! — August 2015

Year of Yay! September 2015 recap: Architechtouring!

The Year of Yay! crew during their tour of MAPFRE Stadium

[Ed note: Special thanks to September’s ride leader and special guest blog contributor David Curran!]

First of all – a big thank to the almost 70 riders who showed up for the September Year of Yay! ride! I hope everyone enjoyed themselves.  I thought the ride went well despite it going long and having what I was told was a record number of flat tires and maintenance issues. This was not a record that I had hoped to break.

A big thank you to Molly Patterson and Columbus Architectural Salvage for hosting the first stop on our ride.  It was great seeing so many bicycles scattered all over the front lawn.  Some of my favorite comments were “I had no idea Columbus had something like this” and “Discovering this place is going to cost my husband and I a lot of money”. This shop is really unique and I wish more people in Columbus were aware of it.

Maddy Davis was our guide for the tour of MAPFRE Stadium. Another big thank you to Maddy for cheerfully leading a group that was almost double the size I guessed it would be. It was an interesting experience to be in the stadium without the crowds and the noise of a game day. Getting to tour the locker rooms and stand on the pitch was a real bonus. Since the tour went long, some opted to head back after this stop.

One funny highlight of the ride for me was on our next leg through east campus.  While going down 11th Ave, we passed a pre-football game college party on the front lawn of a house. They saw us coming and several came to the streetside and jokingly held out their red solo cups as an impromptu beverage station for the bike tour going by.

The ride got longer as we had more maintenance issues on the next leg of the ride and had an extended stop on Michigan Ave.  Kudos to everyone who helped out with maintenance. Additional thanks to everyone for their patience as we worked to get going again. Since the ride’s progress was slow at this point, more opted to head back after this impromptu stop as well.

Once we got going, the final 12 continued to the Toledo & Ohio Central Railroad Station at Broad and Starling. This is the last remaining downtown station in Columbus. Since we weren’t able to tour the inside, I would encourage everyone to visit it if they are ever downtown during the day and have a few minutes to walk in. It’s been well taken care of and the main waiting room has the original ticket windows and some railroad memorabilia and photographs.

The final 7-mile leg back to Whole Foods was without incident and was quickly followed by a well-deserved refreshment.  Thanks to everyone who helped out as leads and sweeps and to Ken for planning a great route!

YB! leads professional development ride with ODOT safety team

ODOT ride
ODOT’s safety team on a professional development ride led by Yay Bikes! Photo credit: Steve Puhl Jr

On July 21, 2015, Yay Bikes! ride leaders Catherine Girves and Meredith Joy, along with trusty sweeps Steve Puhl Jr and Julie Walcoff, led a group of 8 Ohio Department of Transportation professionals on a tour of bicycle facilities on Columbus’ South and East sides. This group represented the Safety Team, aka the folks determining which safety projects — including bicycle infrastructure projects — throughout the state will receive funding. Most of them had ridden trails but not roads, and a couple hadn’t ridden a bike since childhood, so this ride proved the first urban riding experience for our group.

An uncomfortably pregnant Meredith Joy preps the group for departure at Grange Audubon Center. Photo credit: Julie Walcoff

Split into 2 groups of 4, the cyclists rode a challenging 10-mile (or 12-mile, if they were in the accidental wrong-way group!) route beginning at the Grange Audubon Center and hitting the following streets: Front, Main, Grant, Town, Parsons, Livingston, Ohio and Champion, Oak, Washington, Gay, Broad, 3rd, Fulton, High and Whittier. Along the way, they got to experience sharrows, bike lanes to nowhere, bike lanes in door zones, unmarked narrow lanes, freeway on- and off-ramps, multi-lane one-ways and more. As well as the overwhelming heat of the day and, of course, the typical sights, smells & sounds that make bicycling so damn lovely. Everyone was heroic! Everyone was also very very hungry when we sat down to share our delicious post-ride meal at El Arepazo.

Here’s some of our early feedback from the ride:

Continue reading YB! leads professional development ride with ODOT safety team