Category Archives: org news


How We Roll – Connect Columbus

150717MJandTeamBeforeTakeoffTwenty-six people gathered to explore and learn to ride the roads of the Northland neighborhoods by bike last Friday, July 17, 2015. Some were transportation planners and engineers. Some were members of the general public. Some were experienced bicyclists learning to navigate roads they have not felt safe navigating on their own. Some were well trained Yay Bikes! leaders and sweeps, there to facilitate a moment of experiential learning. It was a blast!

We started at the Franklin County Board of Elections at 1700 Morse Road where our eight ride leaders and sweeps divided everyone into small groups. Each team of Yay Bikes! How We Roll ride leaders started by sharing rules of the road for bicyclists and teaching participants the importance of being visible and predictable when riding roads. Team leaders explained that in How We Roll rides participants travel single file in small groups riding the roads silently. Our goal is to help create an experience where small group instruction happens, and participants encounter something similar to riding roads alone.

Each How We Roll ride teaches participants to ride roads safely, but also includes an additional component that is of interest to the group. Our secondary focus on this ride was bicycle infrastructure, what works, what doesn’t work, and why. We traveled over well placed bicycle infrastructure, confusing bicycle infrastructure, and well intended but dangerous infrastructure. We traveled roads that had no bike infrastructure that were perfectly pleasant ones that were a bit more scary. We traveled well paved roads with clear markings and roads that desperately needed resurfacing – experiencing first hand that a good road surface is an absolutely key component of a bike friendly community.

While traveling we heard bird song and children playing. While stopped at a red light, we saw and talked to giggling young adults in a car with a baby kitten in a basket. We smelled pizza cooking and the body lotion of a pedestrian passing us. We felt air temperature fall on Maize Road as the trees breathed and the creek flowed, and felt it raise on Morse Road where nine lanes of asphalt baked in the afternoon sun.

At each of our six stops (one at the beginning, four on the road, and one at the end), well trained Yay Bikes! leaders and sweeps encouraged participants to describe what they noticed and how they felt. Our leaders shared resources and helped folks figure out how to have the best experience possible on any type of road. Our sweeps corrected people engaging in dangerous behaviors and watched as riders competence increased.

150717CGandTeamAtReturnIn 8.5 miles, we traveled through neighborhood streets, neighborhood arterials, and major arterials. We passed three Interstate 71 exit ramps and one entrance ramp. We needed to merge with car traffic several times on Karl, on Maize, and on Morse to get to our destination. We traveled a section of road that was nine travel lanes wide and included cars, trucks, motorcycles, COTA buses and people on bikes. On Morse Road, we left the bike lane and crossed four travel lanes to make a left to reach our final destination. We were bad asses!

Bad asses, just like every other person who lives in that neighborhood that doesn’t own a car and has to figure out how to get to employment, school, the library, the grocer, the laundry mat, the recreation center, all the places people go in their daily lives.

We want thank the City of Columbus and the consults at Nelson Nygaurd who prioritized and resourced this experience, and CoGo for providing bikes to participants who did not have one. Yay Everyone!

Pedal Instead receives Ohio EPA grant to upgrade corral

Watch for the transformation of this uninspired space into a vibrant educational wonderland, just in time for OSU Football season!

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:

  1. Expand awareness of the Pedal Instead service, encouraging more people to ride to events
  2. Increase the extent to which Pedal Instead provides actionable information to event attendees regarding transportation bicycling
  3. 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.

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} Continue reading So about those blank envelopes….

Lookie here…who just became a League of American Bicyclists Instructor.

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 Catherinebecome 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 onecongrats instructor who will remain active within the cycling community. Congratulations to Catherine on this latest accomplishment.

Community Shares of Mid Ohio sustains our work

2014 Yay Bikes! pledges a la Community Shares

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 Ohio is 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.

Give Cards

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.