January-February 2009 Newsletter
From the President
Strength in Numbers
LBC membership continues to increase. As the season ended we went
over the 1,100 mark. That’s more than double what it was eight years
ago. No doubt the wonderful touring program is the principal reason
most join. But some of the data points to other reasons you might be
interested to learn about.
For example, more than 20 LBC members don't live in Kentucky or
Indiana. A few are members who’ve moved away but have family,
property or sentimental ties to Louisville. Others became members
when they came to ride the Old Kentucky Home Tour and have
kept up their support from year to year. An additional 50 or so Kentucky
and Indiana residents live as far away as Lexington, Owensboro and Indianapolis.
Some of the most interesting data concerns local residents who only rarely show up in the
club statistician’s reports but who join the club and annually re-up their memberships. A
little more than 200 rode a total of less than 100 miles in the 2008 season. Another 350 or
so didn’t record any club miles in 2008. No doubt some of both groups rode on their own
or with friends.
So why has almost half the membership joined if they don’t actively participate in the
club’s core activity? What else do they get from their memberships?
Since donations to LBC are not tax deductible -—we are a non-profit 501(c) 4 social
welfare organization not a charity—- we assume that they were not motivated by
eleemosynary motives. (And Treasurer Jim Tretter confirms that none has asked for their
money back because they mistook LBC for the Louisville Boat Club located on frequently
routed River Road.)
Riders for fitness and fun comprise the greater part of the membership. (A few may join
for the same reasons that gym memberships peak at New Year’s: Good intentions to get in
shape. But that wouldn’t account for the steady, sustained increase in LBC members.)
It’s clear that cycling has tapped into other trends. One is the environmental movement:
Some join because they want to see cycling promoted as an alternative to gasolinepowered
motor vehicles and one way to address the climate change threat.
But I believe that the greatest reason for the increase in membership among all groups of
riders --low-mileage and others-- is the success of our advocacy program.
LBC created the advocacy program in 1995 with the election of the first advocacy VP.
Since then, the program has grown and, especially in the last few years, has forged
relations with the Louisville Metro that have led to visible changes in the city’s cycling
infrastructure and promotion of cycling as emblematic of the progressive city that
Louisville aspires to become.
In the last edition of the Newsletter I wrote that the city’s
efforts were at a crossroad, that a loss of focus put us at risk of
losing the progress that had been made since the Mayor’s first
Bike Summit in 2005, a lack of focus that had led to the
postponement of Bike Summit II, which had been scheduled for
November. I’m glad to say things have improved a lot since
then and the summit is back on track and set for February 12.
The summit can accommodate about 500 people. I hope that all
LBC members who can spend at least a part of that day at the
summit can participate. We’ll start with a review of progress to
date and then look at the criteria that the city will use to
measure its progress towards the silver level bicycle-friendly
designation of the League of American Bicyclists and your
input on the steps that need to be taken to get there. Finally,
we’ll work on mapping routes for signage, lane creation and
other bicycle facilities with the goal of each Louisville resident
being able to bike his/her way to nearby commercial centers
and to the network of arterial roads that will take them
throughout the county.
It is an ambitious program that cannot succeed without
participation of cyclists from all over the city. Mark your
calendars and look for information soon on
http://www.louisvilleky.gov/bikelouisville about how to register.
Helping to make Louisville bicycle-friendly will help make
LBC an even larger organization, which in turn will allow its
members to improve bicycle facilities and programs, which in
turn will increase membership, which...
A vicious cycle only to the cyclophobic.
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web posted: 17 Jan 2009
last updated: 17 Jan 2009