Yay Bikes! bridges the gap with city engineers (no pun intended)

City Engineers and cycling advocates don’t often see eye-to-eye. Brent Warren of Columbus Underground writes how Yay Bikes! and the City have overcome the the differences in perspective.

Brent writes: “Although tough choices about new street designs and bike lanes mean that cycling advocates and traffic engineers are often pitted against each other, a new collaboration between the City of Columbus and Yay Bikes has the two groups working – and riding – together…”                Read the entire article.

Bike the Cbus 2014 report

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When you support Yay Bikes!  >>  Bike the Cbus happens!

1 new beer garden
4 major sponsors
8 rest stops
21 neighborhoods
69 volunteers
86 raffle prizes (from 30 businesses)
544 riders
$1,000 for cyclist education
$1,000 for other Near East Side nonprofits

Yay Bikes! acquired Bike the Cbus from the Long Street Businessman’s Association in 2014, and we couldn’t be more excited to steward this gem of a ride. Now in its 7th year, Bike the Cbus is Columbus’ premier annual neighborhood ride and a must-have experience, dear to us for all it creates in the world: vibrancy in struggling neighborhoods… funding for cyclist safety education on the Near East side… support for small local businesses… experiences of joyfulness and adventure… and the advancement of our mission to increase trips by bike. Please consider an end-of-year gift to help Yay Bikes! expand our impact through Bike the Cbus and other programming next year. 

Online donation system by ClickandPledge 

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.   

~ From all of us at Yay Bikes! ~

So about those blank envelopes….

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Funny story.

{Time machine music}

The year is 2012. The season is winter holidays. Our anti-hero, Meredith Joy — YB’s founder and former Executive Director — is deep in the woods as the organization’s sole full-time volunteer-ish staff person. Yet she desires above all else to write an annual report for members detailing all the progress they’d made possible that year. She buys envelopes and postage and sparkly star stickers and a red holiday stamp so that it’s an experience to receive the report in the mail. An honor! She preps the envelopes with care (well actually her trusty sidekick Ken Cohen does)… but then! Our poor Meredith is stricken with the dread writer’s block and can’t finish the report in time to mail it, so she emails it instead. And the stamped, addressed envelopes languish in the office for 2 lonely years.

{Time machine music}

The year is 2014. It’s a new day at Yay Bikes!, with a new Director (yay Catherine Girves!) and an actual administrative staff member (yay Kathleen Watkins!)!  And they are lean, mean cost-cutting machines. They take a look at those envelopes and say to one another “hey, so uh, I think we can trade these in at the post office and get money back for the unused stamps”. And thus they do. And thus the geniuses at the post office refund them for the stamps but somehow 3 weeks thereafter become confused and mail them all out anyway, empty and unsealed, right at the precise time that Kathleen had mailed awesome letters to our current members with free Chipotle burrito cards. Which, of course, confused the hell out of everyone.

And thus Meredith summoned all that was in her to write this here blog post to shout to the world that “dammit, that $83.79 was totally worth it…. right?!”, in the hopes that YB! will somehow, some way triumph over this desperate crisis. And the day was (probably? hopefully?) saved.

{And scene}

CBus contributes $200,000 to help CoGo Bike Share expand

“CoGo Bike Share will stretch farther from Downtown next year. The city plans to buy eight more docking stations and 80 more bicycles as it readies a plan to expand the system for the first time since it launched in 2013 with 30 stations and 300 bikes.”

CoGo“Wherever the expansion happens is going to be good,” said Catherine Girves, executive director of Yay Bikes, an advocacy group. “There’s more need than there is resource right now. When you look at the systems in other parts of the country, it’s true (that) if you build it, they will come.”  Read the entire article here.

A Very Merry 2014 Year of Yay!

Cyclists rock the handlebars at ReStore, a stop on July’s ride.
When you support Yay Bikes!  >>  Year of Yay! happens!
12 months, 12 rides
31 cash bombs
35 volunteers
56 stops
213 unique riders
538 total riders

Throughout 2014, Yay Bikes! continued to offer Central Ohio’s premier backstage pass with our monthly themed Year of Yay! rides. These urban adventure rides provide a low-stakes way for inexperienced cyclists to gain confidence riding city streets, and give all riders new mental maps of workable routes for their everyday trips. They also support local organizations and businesses with ‘cash bombs’ from our riders, helping create a vibrant community full of cool places to ride! And the rides, which have been created and supported by a dedicated crew of volunteers, are one of the key ways we are developing leaders within the bicycle community who manifest our core values of kindness, integrity and excellence. Please consider an end-of-year gift to help Yay Bikes! expand our impact through Year of Yay! and other programming next year. 

Online donation system by ClickandPledge

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
~ From all of us at Yay Bikes! ~

This Saturday we’ll be shopping local crafts for the holidays. 

Learn more about the ride and register now!


Year of Yay - Yay Bikes!
Learn more about Year of Yay! rides with this video from über-intern Brian Ferenchik

Communitywide Five-Year Sustainability Plan Released for Final Comment and Review

The Mayor’s Office of Environmental Stewardship is seeking public review and feedback of the next five-year sustainability plan.  The plan can be reviewed and comments submitted until December 17 online at www.Columbus.gov/SpeakUp<http://www.Columbus.gov/SpeakUp>.

“For the first time, this plan is not just an internal city document,” said Mayor Michael B. Coleman. “It was crafted for the community, by the community because it will take all of us working together to fully realize our vision for a green community that is beautiful, healthy and prosperous.”

For the past year, the Mayor’s Office of Environmental Stewardship has been crafting the plan with the help of the community. Ideas were solicited for the plan at events, focus groups and via online survey.  The Mayor’s Green Team developed the plan’s vision statement, focus areas and prioritized action items.

“Columbus is a national leader in environmental stewardship and sustainability,” said Councilmember Michelle M. Mills, chair of the Environment Committee. “By continuing to work together on initiatives like the five-year plan, we can create a greener, healthier community.”

Mayor Michael B. Coleman released the city’s first five-year plan for sustainability in 2005 to strategically reduce the impact of city operations on the environment.  In 2010, a follow-up plan was released.  The initiative’s most notable accomplishments include the development of the popular residential recycling service, removal of the Fifth Avenue low head dam and subsequent river restoration, installation of a large-scale solar array, conversion of city fleet to cleaner burning fuels and launch of CoGo Bike Share.

“Mayor Coleman has elevated the environment as an issue of top importance,” said Aparna Dial, Director of Sustainability at The Ohio State University and Chair of the Mayor’s Green Team.  “As a result, environmental protection is a core value of our community and we are all invested in seeing that the actions spelled out in this plan come to fruition.”

The final version of the document is scheduled to be released at the Columbus Metropolitan Club on Jan.y 9.

Review OSU’s bicycle accommodation plan and we’ll pass along your comments

OSU’s map of proposed bicycle infrastructure

As recently reported on Columbus Underground, OSU has released a draft of its Comprehensive Transportation and Parking Plan. Yay Bikes! will be meeting with OSU planners and staff during the week of December 8 to provide input on the plan, and we are excited to pass on the genius thoughts of our community members. Continue reading

Winning at safer streets, and at life: Our 2014 Advocacy in Review

Our new street plan evaluation rides transformed the designs for 4th & 3rd/Summit.
When you support Yay Bikes!  >>>  Advocacy happens!
1 law passed
5 transportation committees served
2 street plan evaluation rides
31 local advocates engaged
29 news stories
11 speaking engagements

Yay Bikes! has a long history of bicycle advocacy, but in 2014 we upped our game by shepherding a 3′ Passing Law in the City of Columbus and partnering with the Department of Public Service to help its engineers design better bicycle infrastructure. Our new street plan evaluation rides have transformed plans for 4th and 3rd/Summit Streets and provided a solid template for similar rides going forward. This month we’ll be providing commentary regarding OSU’s bicycle accommodations plan and we’re in conversations about training engineers in other municipalities statewide. Please consider an end-of-year gift to help Yay Bikes! expand our impact through advocacy initiatives and other programming next year. 

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.   

~ From all of us at Yay Bikes! ~

Gordon Biersch rocks more than just beer

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Catherine takes to the bar to share what’s up with YB! these days

Gordon Biersch chose Yay Bikes! as the recipient of its October Tapping Party, at which we got a first taste of Master Brewer Keith Jackson’s American Style Red Ale and heard from Catherine about Yay Bikes!’ new infrastructure advocacy initiatives. 10% of bar sales that night benefitted our work. So (drumroll please…) the final tally was … $300 from Gordon Biersch and $365 from our raffle. YAY for y’alls generosity!


Announcing 2015′s Year of Yay! themes & button artist

A taste of our new button designs!
2015′s themes
Mark your calendars for 2nd Saturdays throughout 2015! Our themes will be:
  • Jan = Winter Comforts, led by Catherine Girves
  • Feb = Valentines, led by Jen Cowley & Kathleen Koechlin
  • Mar = Underground Railroad, led by John Wyman
  • Apr = Up & Coming, led by OSU City & Regional Planning students
  • May = Bike to Work, led by Julie Walcoff
  • Jun = Oddities, led by Craig Clark
  • Jul = Cool It, led by Kathleen O’Dowd
  • Aug = Food Incubators, led by John Cresencia
  • Sep = Architecture, led by David Curran
  • Oct = Get Out the Vote, led by Bambo Sanusi
  • Nov = Biology Class, led by Rick Ucker
  • Dec = Giving, led by Trace Hendricks

Continue reading