Support Yay Bikes! by visiting RIDEhome

Kris and Heidi Anderson have generously contributed their store, RIDEhome, and their hard work to benefit Yay Bikes!  Thanks goes out to Kris and Heidi as well as Roger Beck, Jay and Mary Cheplowitz, Keith Lugs and Ken Cohen.  The Andersons’ hard work created an outstanding window for the holidays that can pay off for Yay Bikes! but your vote is needed.   A vote is cast by placing a dollar in the voting box, just inside the door. Here we witness NS Olah, laying a five spot for the cause. Way to go NIck.   NS Olah All the funds collected on December 28th go to Yay Bikes! Show your support by stopping into RIDEhome.  Don’t forget to vote and to say hi.

Year of Yay, November 2015, biology class was never so fun

1November’s “Biology Class” ride was a great success! Thanks in part to the nice weather (sunny and fairly warm for this time of year) we had a strong turnout with an estimated 59 riders. Participants on the ride were able to visit two destinations involved in biological research and preservation and make use of two pieces of bike infrastructure — one of which is closely tied to the biological theme.

Our first stop was The Wilma H. Schiermeier Olentangy River Wetland Research Park, where riders were hosted by volunteers from the facility. We were given an overview of 4their mission, which includes education and research about environmental sustainability as well as community outreach. We were also given a guided tour of the research park, including the wetlands themselves (which are not generally accessible to the public).

After departing the wetlands, the group made their way downtown via Summit Street, where riders had the opportunity to ride the newly-3completed protected bike lanes between Hudson Street and 11th Avenue.

Our lunch stop was Cafe Brioso, a bike-friendly destination familiar to Year of Yay riders.

The ride’s final stop was the Scioto Audubon Metro Park, where riders had an opportunity to tour the Audubon Society’s facility as well as the grounds8 themselves, which function as a a fragile oasis, a tiny jewel, a haven for wildlife,  This park is unique in its proximity to a large city.  

Finally, riders made use of the beautiful Scioto Greenway, which had been officially 5opened just a few days prior.  The greenway project is the result of a returning of the Scioto River to a more natural state as well as creating 33 acres of greenspace downtown. The ride went along the riverfront park downtown before continuing north and back to Whole Foods.

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

“My feet were moving. I forgot there were cars.” – Jamilah’s story

Riding with Yay Bikes! helped Jamilah see the roads differently.
Riding with Yay Bikes! helped Jamilah see the roads differently.

Name: Jamilah Tucker
Lives in: Hilliard
Works in: Downtown Columbus

“I only went where the sidewalks could take me.”

A co-worker was championing Ride Buddy, a program Yay Bikes! hosted to teach downtown workers to ride bikes instead of drive. Jamilah was curious. “People were doing it and I was like ‘oh, that looks fun!’”

But she hadn’t been on a bike since junior high and she was scared, never having traveled by bike anywhere besides the sidewalk. “There are all these reasons not to get on a bike. I was nervous about getting hit by a car,” she said. Jamilah needed direction before she felt comfortable riding a bike on her own. Determined, she asked co-worker after co-worker to join her on a downtown bike ride with Yay Bikes!. Finally, a friend agreed.

“Building up to it was the worst,” Jamilah said. She was sweaty and shaking as she tried to remember the mechanics of working the pedals. She climbed upon the seat of a CoGo bike and moved with as much ease as she could muster. “A few minutes into it, my feet were moving. I forgot there were cars.”

“We feel comfortable to ride our bikes at home.”

Soon after, Jamilah found a bike at a garage sale. For $15 she bought it, cleaned it up and made it her own. She rides it regularly with her 11-year-old daughter on her own bike just ahead. They ride the road, mostly to and from the park or around the neighborhood. “It was a good thing to be in that group and to gain education so we feel comfortable to ride our bikes at home,” Jamilah said.

The biggest change was her awareness of bicyclists on the road which she shared with her husband. “We didn’t used to pay attention to bicyclists,” Jamilah said.

“The road was created for moving people.”

Now Jamilah and her husband are aware of the need to share the road. “Not everyone has a car. The road was created for moving people; we have to respect each other.”

She’s grateful for the experience to learn a new approach to getting around downtown every day. While she does not commute to work by bike, Jamilah hopes to start integrating CoGo bike rides into her lunch hour, inviting friends and co-workers along when she can. “My mentality about getting around and paying attention to roads has changed. I wouldn’t have gotten back on a bike without the Yay Bikes! experience.”

Do you see the roads differently after riding with Yay Bikes!? Tell us about it by emailing

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

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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

“Biking gives me freedom.” — Cassie’s story

“That wasn’t working for me.”

Cassie's social life is full since she found Yay Bikes! Here she is riding in the annual Columbus Tweed Ride.
Cassie’s social life is full since she found Yay Bikes! Here she is riding in the annual Columbus Tweed Ride.

Cassie was feeling dissatisfied. She had moved to Columbus from Southern California in 2007 for graduate school and was spending most of her time working. “I was kind of at a point in my life where I was bogged down in work,” she says. She spent the little free time she had cuddled on the couch, watching T.V. in an effort to clear her mind. “That wasn’t working for me. I needed something to change so I could feel happier.” Trolling Facebook in early 2014, she came across a post about Year of Yay! ride. She gave it some thought. “It looked like you could just show up, so I went…by myself.”

“I felt like I did something.”

Cassie arrived to her first Year of Yay! ride in July of 2014 on a new bike she had purchased just a month before. Previously, she had commuted three miles on the Olentangy bike path to OSU, rarely on the road. Though she felt hesitant about jumping into a new experience without anyone she knew, Cassie is a self-described social butterfly so she embraced the discomfort and was excited to try something new.

The group welcomed Cassie with open arms, making sure she never felt alone during her first ride. Many miles later, she was pleased. “When I got home I felt like I did something I wanted to do. My body felt good!”

Cassie’s free time shifted. She ditched the T.V. for a more social kind of relaxation. “I liked going on the ride because it was an easy way to be with a group, but I didn’t have to orchestrate anything.”  She immediately decided to become a Yay Bikes! member.

“It’s easier than driving!”

Riding with Yay Bikes! expanded Cassie’s knowledge of hand signals, traffic laws and bike safety, but it also gave her a nudge to be more adventurous on her bike. “It made riding on the road part of the experience and helped me to be more brave to try new routes.” Most importantly, it helped her to feel comfortable to commute the streets of Columbus by bike multiple days a week. “Now I drive only on the weekends.” Without the hassle of managing her car, searching for parking, paying for parking, Cassie’s mornings are stress-free. For her, biking is much easier than driving.

“It’s our duty to teach others.”

Cassie feels confident in her new lifestyle. Soon after her introduction to Yay Bikes!, she was asked to become an ambassador for our How We Roll program. She gleefully accepted the opportunity to teach college students to ride bikes. With ease, Cassie transitioned into a role that has her leading new bicyclists through the streets of Columbus like ducklings following their mother. In the two hours they ride with her, the students’ demeanor goes from stressed and scared to calm and confident. She adores it.  “To see someone walk away with something they didn’t have before is really cool”

Armed with her heightened awareness, deep knowledge and passion for bicycle commuting, Cassie takes her role as an educator to the next level. “It almost feels like a duty to teach others how to interact with us [bicyclists] and to know what to expect.”

“I feel like I’m doing something for myself without doing something extra.”

Bicycling has brought a sense of community and a new purpose to Cassie’s life that didn’t exist before. Instead of spending her time watching T.V. at home, she needs to schedule time to herself. “It feels like biking gives me a lot more freedom. I have options.”

In this community of bicyclists, she has made countless friends with whom she explores the city, she has learned new skills that she is sharing with others, she has come to love Columbus and she thinks of it as home. “I’ve built a good life for myself.”

Do you have a story about how Yay Bikes! has helped you travel your community by bike? Share it with us! Email

“My bicycle saved me.” — John’s Story

John was hit by a motorist while riding his bike near the airport three years ago today. He plans to bike to work on the anniversary.

Name: John Bannon
Resides in: Old Town East
Works in: Easton Town Center @ Trader Joe’s

“My bicycle saved me.”

One morning in 2010 John jumped in his old beat up truck, but this time it wouldn’t start. Rushing to get to work on time, he unburied an old mountain bike from its hiding place in the basement. He hadn’t ridden a bike in years except for a short trip here and there. That day he rode from Old Town East to Easton. “It’s 9 miles to work, not a short jaunt.”

John couldn’t afford to have his truck fixed for two more weeks. His best solution – continue commuting by bike. “I experienced this revelation, I don’t need my car. My bicycle saved me.”

“Every time you’re on a bike, something weird can happen.”

John knew he wanted to continue biking, so he started searching for guidance on safe bicycle commuting. “I came across Yay Bikes! stuff that said it will teach me to ride the road.” He soon found himself at the first ever Year of Yay! ride in 2011 on a snowy, slushy January day. Despite the weather, John was hopeful the ride would still go on. “I think these people still ride in the snow,” he thought. And they did.

He participated in the first Year of Yay! ride skeptically. On the second ride in February he considered quitting all together. He remembers the weather was freezing. “At one point I thought I was going to throw up.” But, he made a friend who gave him tips to a more comfortable ride and encouraged him to keep pedaling. “Yay Bikes! came along and it’s like, I can do anything on my bike,” John says. That year he ended up riding 1200 miles. He also made many new friends who would end up being his support system in a time of need.

“I don’t remember getting hit.”

Three years ago today, John’s regular route was under construction. He was traveling home from work, biking through roads at the airport after 10pm on a Sunday night.  His last memory was glancing behind him while stopped at a traffic light, the red blinking light attached to his seat flickering on the road. “The good news is I don’t remember getting hit.”

Somewhere near the long-term parking lot entrance, a motorist clipped John’s rear wheel. It sent him spinning. He landed, head first, into the pavement. His helmet cracked in half. “I woke up on my back with my feet facing the curb. I’d done a half turn.”

The rest of his memories are a little fuzzy. What he can remember is the people who were by his bedside when he came to at the hospital. Many of those people he hadn’t met until just a year before when he found himself in the midst Columbus’ bike community.

“That’s the thing about the bike community…”

Following his accident, John posted a photo to his Facebook page from the hospital. Only a few hours later, the first person to visit was a fellow Yay Bikes! member who had also been struck by a motorist less than three months prior. “That’s the thing about the bike community, you know everyone. We all talk to each other.”

The outpouring of support John received from his fellow cyclists was humbling. They helped him get in and out of the hospital, they helped him navigate the legal proceedings and insurance, they helped him get his bike fixed, they helped him get to and from if he needed it. Two weeks later, he needed it. His truck, the same truck that made him a bicyclist, broke down again. Still weary of riding, his Yay Bikes! friends drove John and his bike to work. “I had to ride home,” he says.

“I’m not scared.”

Since his crash in 2012 John has steadily increased his bike mileage each year. Physical limitations from the accident prevent him from commuting as much as he did before, but he does it. He rides to the grocery store, to coffee dates, to meetings around his neighborhood. “I’m skeptical [of motorists] but I’m not scared.”

Frustrated by the frequency of bicycle related crashed and deaths, John knew he needed to do something. Last year he joined the planning committee for Ride of Silence, a silent promenade of cyclists in tribute to riders who have been injured or killed in crashes. “There’s this idea that only cars belong on the road.” He wants to change that. Ride of Silence is a way to pay tribute while educating motorists about the need to share the road. “This whole thing means something.”

Do you have a story about how Yay Bikes! has helped you travel your community by bike? Share it with us! Email


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.

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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