The annual Community Bike Ride has become not only a celebrated event in Lawrence, but also an anticipated tradition in Steve Lane’s family.
“On March 21st my son, who is eight years old, came to me so excited,” said Lane. “‘Dad, it’s only four months to the Community Bike Ride!'” Now entering its eight year, the bike ride has been part of his entire life.
The idea for the Community Bike Ride was born in 2009. Lawrence Central Rotary club members met with Marilyn Hall, of Douglas County Community Foundation. The club was looking to discern:
- What do we want to do in this community?
- What do we stand for?
Hall shared that the Foundation had identified that while there was a strong local biking community, it was not accessible to families. Recreational opportunities were geared toward high-end riders.
With support from the Foundation, the Club built RideLawrence.com and had enough funds to manage two years of the ride.
While the activities at the ride and sponsorships and partnerships have increased, the purpose of the ride has remained the same, to promote biking as a fun and healthy activity for families.
Be predictable! Kirsten Yunuba Stephens underlines that advice to all bicyclists and to those who share the road with them.
Stephens volunteers her time to teach “Bicycle Friendly Drivers” in Lawrence on behalf of the Lawrence Bicycle Club. Based on a program developed by the City of Fort Collins, CO, the course briefs drivers of cars and other motorized vehicles about the rules of the road when they encounter bicyclists. The hour-long interactive class is “aimed at educating all drivers on the best and safest ways to share the road with people on bicycles.” Kirsten has incorporated photographs of Lawrence streets to help learners envision problem situations.
Many drivers are surprised to learn that:
- Bicyclists must follow the same rules of the road that cars and other vehicles do.
- Bicyclists can legally “take the lane” and ride in the middle of road.
- It’s okay for two bicyclists to ride side by side.
- Cars should stay at least three feet away from bicyclists.
- Many accidents occur when vehicle drivers making a right-hand turn don’t check for cyclists coming on their right.
Lawrence Central Rotarians braved the cold morning on Saturday, April 7, to fit bicycle helmets for children who attended the Joy Ride sponsored by Gravel Grinders.
The City of Lawrence received great news and Lawrence Central is proud to have helped the city to be able to achieve this designation!
The City of Lawrence has been honored again as a Bronze Rank Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC). The City first received this designation in 2004 from the American League of Bicyclists. There are now 404 communities recognized in the U.S. as Bicycle Friendly Communities; this is Lawrence’s fifth successful application. The Bronze level BFC award recognizes Lawrence’s commitment to improving conditions for bicycling through investment in bicycling promotion, education programs, infrastructure and pro-bicycling policies.
Lawrence-Douglas County Bicycle Advisory Committee members prepared the application utilizing information, such as data collected from bike/pedestrian counts, safety material, outreach efforts, and lane mileage. This year’s application featured Lawrence’s completion of a number of projects that will form the “Lawrence Loop”, a 22-mile paved off-street path around the city, the bicycle education provided by Lawrence’s League Certified Cycling instructors, the on-bicycle safety education at local elementary schools, and the recent commitment in the city budget for bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure improvements. The Lawrence Central Rotary Club’s Community Bike Ride, Safe Kids Douglas County Bicycle Rodeo and Helmet giveaways, the Tour of Lawrence, the Lawrence Mountain Bicycle Club’s partnership with Parks & Recreation for the development and maintenance of the Lawrence River Trails trail, the National Bicycle Challenge, and 100 percentage of buses equipped with bike racks were also highlighted as part of the application process.
By the numbers, Lawrence now has 16 miles of bike lanes, 9 miles of shared-lane markings (sharrows), 39 miles of signed bike routes, and 45 miles of paved shared use paths.
Four Kansas communities have received the Bicycle Friendly designation: Lawrence, Topeka, Manhattan, and Shawnee. Find out more information online at www.bikeleague.org/bfa.
The weather was beautiful and around 100 riders and volunteers came out September 17th for the Lawrence Fall Community Bike Ride organized by Lawrence Central Rotary. “We had everyone from novices and kids on training wheels to local professional riders come out,” said Central Rotary Club President Jim Peters, “our club rallies around these events and it’s great to be able to provide a safe and encouraging event for bike riding.”
Event chair Steve Lane coordinated volunteers and organized the sponsors from all over Lawrence. “Steve’s organization and prep for this function like a Swiss watch,” said club member Tobin Neis, “we wouldn’t be able to do it without him.”
Lawrence / Douglas Country Community Health Planner Charlie Bryan was on hand showing attendees the proposed “Lawrence Loop” bike / multi-use path. LiveWell Lawrence and partners continue to advocate for finishing this 22-mile loop trail around Lawrence everyone could enjoy.
Exciting for both local Rotarians as well as attendees to see was an assembled ShelterBox which Lawrence Central Rotarians have heavily supported over the years. A ShelterBox is a simple and effective solution to deliver the essentials people need to survive and begin to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of a disaster.
ShelterBoxes are tailored for the particular disaster being responded to, but typically includes a disaster relief tent for a family, thermal blankets and groundsheets, water storage and purification equipment, solar lamps, cooking utensils, a basic tool kit, mosquito nets and children’s activity pack.
Thanks to all our sponsors and volunteers who made this happen!