From the Presidentby Earl Jones
"Advocacy: Sitting at the Big Table"
No one would disagree that our touring program is the very heart of the Club. Whether you like to amble along and enjoy the sights or hammer to achieve a fitness goal, what brings us together is the common love of riding our bicycles.
Everywhere I go I tell people about the wonderful variety of riding that we have in the Louisville area. A great parks system, laid-back urban routes through graceful neighborhoods, an expanding network of off-street bike paths, including RiverWalk along the Ohio, nearby open spaces and easily reached country back roads.
But we're losing it fast.
Riders are being challenged for riding on the right in the vehicular lane on the Cherokee Park Scenic Loop. River Road, a place we practically owned for many years, is becoming a high-speed, high-stress corridor where cyclists are increasingly uncomfortable.
Then there's the downside of the prosperity we've enjoyed over the last 10 years--uncontrolled growth that is gobbling up open spaces and threatening the tranquility we've enjoyed for years.
Club members have been talking about this on rides and on the listserve. The Executive Committee discussed our shrinking riding environment at the August 6 meeting. At the end of the discussion we reached consensus that our advocacy program--fighting for cycling facilities and inclusion of cyclists' needs into transportation plans-is not just another Club program but is essential to a healthy touring program. Unless we can protect our access to safe and enjoyable places to ride we won't have a touring program.
We owe a lot to the Club leaders who had the foresight to establish an advocacy program in 1992, one of the few such programs in a U.S. recreational cycling club. Unlike the touring program, which we all see and understand, the hard work of advocacy usually happens off the bicycle, often at interminable meetings, sometimes with people who love to hear themselves talk.
Cheryl Brawner, our energetic VP Advocacy, leads the Club's program with the support of a dedicated Advocacy Committee, whose members include Emily Boone, Pennie DuBarry, Jackie Green, Ian Schill, Kathy Schmidt, Heidi Solarz, Penn Waggoner and Barry Zalph.
So what about you? What should you be doing? Of course, share with Cheryl and the committee ideas about needed improvements to roads and riding conditions. But everybody must become a bicycle advocate. Think of volunteering for an advocacy project. It's just as important as volunteering to be a ride captain. Otherwise you might find yourself all dressed for a ride with no place to go.
Copyright ©2000 Louisville Wheelmen. All rights reserved.
Web posted: 1 September 2000
last updated: 3 September 2000
by Duc M. Do