November’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 their 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-completed 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 grounds 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 opened 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.
The Ohio Environmental Education Fund (OEEF) awards grants targeting environmental issues in Ohio around which there is a significant need for more education and awareness. In 2015, the Ohio EPA determined, due to significant environmental impacts in our state, an immediate need for education to reduce air emissions. And so, OEEF sought to fund innovative projects that would provide citizens with the skills to make informed decisions and take responsible actions in this area, foremost by promoting alternative modes of transportation.
Enter our bicycle corrals, aka “Pedal Instead”. As you likely know, Pedal Instead provides free, secure bicycle parking for cyclists at festivals and other events. And while the program serves obviously serves cyclists, it is unique within the bicycle community in that it interfaces with thousands of diverse non- bicycling members of the general public, who might not enter a bike shop or go on a ride but will request information from volunteers as they pass a corral. Yay Bikes! therefore requested that OEEF help us maximize Pedal Instead’s educational potential by making our corrals more visible, attractive and engaging to cyclists, “bike curious” members of the general public and others attending community events and festivals in Central Ohio. We are thrilled to announce that Yay Bikes! has received an OEEF grant to accomplish the following:
Expand awareness of the Pedal Instead service, encouraging more people to ride to events
Increase the extent to which Pedal Instead provides actionable information to event attendees regarding transportation bicycling
Link event attendees to the on-road educational experiences available through Yay Bikes!, to increase their cycling knowledge and confidence
With OEEF’s support, we now have the ability to expand the purview of our bicycle corrals such that they become mobile community education spaces actively helping people integrate transportation bicycling into their everyday lives. WOW. What an incredible opportunity!
If you have thoughts about how to make this happen and wish to participate in our corral redesign process (during July 2015), please contact Meredith.
We are excited to announce that this fall, in conjunction with the launch of bike share on campus, Yay Bikes! will once again provide bicycle safety education to members of the OSU community. We will be delivering information sessions on bicycle commuting, an educational poster and our traditional How We Roll rides to both the academic and the medical center’s students, faculty and staff. The academic audience will be introduced to riding the streets from campus to downtown, taking in the sites of the city, while those affiliated with the medical center will be taught to use bike share for rides between the various medical buildings.
This summer, we began delivering our part of the program with an info session and 8 How We Roll rides for 34 OSU First Year Peer students. When we asked them to evaluate their experience, this is what we heard:
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.
Our own Catherine Girves took the time and made the commitment to become and League Cycling Instructor. Having just completed a three-day training seminar in Princeton, New Jersey, she has become Columbus’s Newest LCI. She is pictured here with others who took the seminar.
The League writes: “League Cycling Instructors (LCIs) are certified by the League of American Bicyclists to teach the Smart Cycling classes…Their goal is to help people feel more secure about getting on a bike, to create a mindset that bikes are treated as a vehicle, and to ensure that people on bikes know how to ride safely and legally.” This is one instructor who will remain active within the cycling community. Congratulations to Catherine on this latest accomplishment.
The numbers are in! From our many generous supporters, Yay Bikes! received $3,420 in pledges through the workplace giving campaigns organized by Community Shares of Mid Ohio. Big ups and endless gratitude to all who gave this year!
About Community Shares of Mid Ohio
Community Shares of Mid Ohiois a coalition of locally based, non-profit organizations collaboratively participating in workplace giving campaigns. Since 1993, Community Shares has grown to more than 60 member charities that use funds from these campaigns to address wide-ranging community issues by providing long-term solutions geared toward prevention, fairness, and equality. Community Share’s workplace giving campaigns facilitate convenient giving through automatic payroll deductions. Donors can specify Yay Bikes! as the recipient of their annual donation or contribute to a general fund that gets split among all the participating organizations.
Does your employer offer Community Shares of Mid Ohio as an option for employee giving? Check the list of participating workplaces and, if yours is not included, contact us to get connected.
Community Shares also now offers Give Cards as a unique gift idea for special occasions! Give Cards allow you to designate a dollar amount for your recipient to then give to the member charity of their choice. Cards are available in any denomination and can be emailed or printed. You can also give directly to Yay Bikes! using this link.