Helping Your Business become Bicycle Friendly

The City of Roanoke’s Bicycle Advisory Committee (in which RIDE Solutions is a participant) is driving – er, biking? – businesses to apply for the League of American Bicyclists’ Bicycle Friendly Business designation.  This is an important part of the City’s continuing effort to improve its standing in the Bicycle Friendly Community rankings.  Our next application is in February of 2012 and we’re hoping to nab a Silver designation this time around.

Applying for the Bicycle Friendly Business designation is free and involves filling out a short online application.  To encourage businesses to apply, RIDE Solutions is offering free technical and other support to any business willing to submit their application.  Support includes:

  • Educational materials on bike safety and cyclists rules and responsibilities that you can provide to your employees.
  • Access to our Guaranteed Ride Home program to offer as a benefit to cyclists.
  • Promotional materials such as posters, brochures, bumper stickers, etc. to encourage your employees or customers to bicycle.
  • Free technical review of your application before you submit it – RIDE Solutions staff will offers edits and suggestions to help you strengthen your application.
  • Development of specialized materials if necessary – we can create educational or promotional materials specific to your staff or customers to that will indicate your support for cycling.
  • Sponsorship and Support opportunities – many businesses can strengthen their applications through financial support of groups like RIDE Solutions, area bike clubs, and special events.  We’ll show you where and when this support could be helpful.
The deadline for the next round of applications is January of 2012.  Get a head start, start your application, and let us know how we can help.  Remember, you don’t have to have employees or customers riding to work or to shop with you – all you need to show is your support for cycling in the community in general.

Being a Bicycle Friendly Driver

We sent out some bits and pieces of information about our new Bicycle Friendly Driver campaign late last week, including the launch of the Being a Bicycle Friendly Driver Facebook page.  By the time I got in the office this morning, we’d had 500 requests for the free bumper sticker.  Over the course of the day, we’ve already doubled that.  Requests are coming in from all over the country and beyond – Russia, Brazil, and Indian bicycle friendly drivers have all sent in requests.

Satisfyingly, many of the requests include some kind of comment in the email.  Often times with these kinds of “free stuff” offers, I would expect to see mostly basic-info submissions:  Name and mailing address only.  However, many people are sharing some short story about their experience – they live on a winding road and make sure to pay special attention to cyclists, they used to bicycle all the time and now can’t, they regularly come to Virginia to bicycle even though they live out of state.  Some of the international requests are more interesting, if only because I don’t speak Portuguese or Russian and so have no idea what the folks are saying, though I’m going to assume its complimentary.

I hope this means we’ve hit a nerve – that we can help show that the vast majority of cyclists and drivers really are watching out for each other, to help give us some perspective when we wade into arguments with those who don’t.

Upcoming Bike Safety Training

From the Virginia Bicycling Federation:

Smart Cycling Traffic Skills 101

Date: Thursday, March 10 & Saturday March 12, 2011
Instructor: Barbara Duerk
Location: Roanoke City Public Library – Main, CYCLOWARD
Fee: 35

The 9 hour vehicular cycling course provides cyclists the confidence needed to ride safely and legally in traffic. Thursday is from 6-9 pm. Saturday is a combination of parking lot and on road positioning drills. The course covers bicycle safety checks, fixing a flat, on-bike skills, parking lot drills, and crash avoidance techniques. A student manual is included in cost. This course offering is for cyclists wanting trainer certification. This fast-paced, nine-hour course prepares cyclists for a full understanding of vehicular cycling.

To Register for this course, contact:

Barbara Duerk
Phone: 540-343-1616
Contact Email:

Signup required in advance?: Y

Special Signup Instructions: Thursday’s class is from 6-9 pm. No bike is necessary for Thursday. Saturday’s session is from 9 am – 4 pm+ This course offering is for experienced cyclists wanting trainer certification.

Equipment Required: Bike in good working condition, clothing appropriate for the weather, lunch and drink. Pin and pencil

Directions: Downtown Roanoke, Virginia From 581, take the Elm Avenue Exit. Turn right on Jefferson Street. Library is on the right.

LCI Certification Seminar

Date: Friday, April 08 through Sunday, April 10, 2011

Instructor: Barbara Duerk

Location: Roanoke City Public Library — Main

Fee: $200

The LCI training seminar is normally one evening and two full days. The registration fee is $200 and includes the League Guide to Safe and Enjoyable Cycling book, Enjoy the Ride DVD and Smart Cycling trainer materials. All registration information and payment MUST be received at least 30 days prior to the seminar. There must be a minimum of 10 instructor candidates in each seminar. REQUIRED:League of American bicyclist membership and successful completion of Traffic Skills 101. *Applicants, if authorized, can schedule a TS 101 class between application for seminar and seminar date.

To Register for this course, contact: Barbara Norris Duerk, local contact. Glen Harrison, instructor
Phone: 540-343-1616; c: 540-580-1621
Contact Email:
Website: League of American Bicyclists website

Signup required in advance?: Y

Special Signup Instructions: DEADLINE for seminar registration is March 7th. All registration information and payment MUST be received at least 30 days prior to the seminar. There must be a minimum of 10 trainer candidates in each seminar. Required: League of American Bicyclists membership and successful completion of Traffic Skills 101. *Applicants, if authorized, can schedule a TS 101 class between application for seminar and seminar date. TS 101 is scheduled in Roanoke for March 10 and March 12. If you have a concern about completing a TS 101 class, please inquire before completing LAB registration for the seminar.

Equipment Required: Bike in good working order, clothing appropriate for the weather, favorite snacks and non-alcoholic drink for sharing, equipment for teaching assignment, and a desire to learn and share.

Directions: Roanoke City Public Library auditorium. From #581, take the Elm Ave exit toward the hospital. Turn right on Jefferson St. The Library is on the right. Use the Bullitt Street entrance. Parking is on street.

NOTE: The deadline to register for the LCI Seminar is March 7, which is before the TS 101 course will be conducted. With advance permission, you may register for the LCI Seminar in advance of having taken the TS 101 class, but you must satisfactorily complete the TS 101 course before attending the LCI Seminar.

There is also an open book pre-test that must be completed prior to the seminar. After you register for the seminar, these materials are sent to you in the month prior to the seminar.


Roanoke Designated Bicycle Friendly

Penelope and Mayor Bowers

My daughter, Penelope, with Mayor David Bowers

Congratulations to the City of Roanoke for being designated a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists!  The announcement was made at the Mayor’s Ride this morning, from which I have just returned, and the City sent out a press release, which you can read below.

RIDE Solutions is proud to have participated in the Encouragement subcommittee of the City’s Bicycle Advisory Committee.  I hope the great Bike Month events we have lined up this year will help catapult us to the next level when the City makes its next application.


Roanoke, VA – The League of American Bicyclists announced today that it has honored the City of Roanoke with its prestigious Bicycle Friendly  Community award.  Roanoke joins Alexandria, Arlington and Charlottesville as Virginia’s only Bicycle Friendly Communities.  Bicycle Friendly Communities are designated twice each year based on feedback from cyclists in the community and an extensive application that audits a  community’s efforts to provide a more bicycle friendly environment. The audit reviews engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement and evaluation and planning efforts for bicycling. Roanoke’s application was prepared by its volunteer Bicycle Advisory Committee made up of bicyclists, driving educators, transportation professionals, concerned parents, engineers, and regional planners, in consultation with city staff.

“Roanoke is a great place for biking, with its combination of smooth greenways, challenging hills and trails, and low traffic, bike friendly neighborhood streets,” said Mayor David Bowers. “Our biking community has worked hard to achieve this award. We thank the League for recognizing the efforts the city has taken to improve the quality of life for our citizens by supporting safer biking, walking and running. Our  expanding greenways and off road trails, and our bicycling and running events are making Roanoke one of the best outdoor cities in the country.  This designation is exciting and puts Roanoke on the national biking map.”

David Harrison, who chairs the city’s Bicycle Advisory Committee said: “This is an enormous honor for Roanoke.  It will help the region’s economic development efforts.  Increasingly, employers and workers look for recreational opportunities in deciding where to locate.  Bicycling is also a family activity that encourages an active, healthy lifestyle.  We now need to capitalize on  the momentum from this award by increasing our efforts  to improve our bicycle facilities and to educate the public about how cars and bikes can safely share our streets, so that more people feel comfortable riding a bicycle to work or school, and to shop, as well as for recreation.”

The Bicycle Friendly Community program includes five designations: Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze, and honorable mention. Roanoke was granted the bronze-level designation for four years. The League of American Bicyclists will provide the city with feedback on how the city can become more bicycle-friendly and eventually receive those higher designations. Currently, there are only two Platinum cities: Davis, California and Portland, Oregon.  The League will present the award, and a highway-quality road sign, at a local ceremony in the near future.  More information on the Bicycle Friendly Community program can be found at the City of Roanoke’s web site, and at the League of American Bicyclists web site,  Roanoke’s application is on file with the city’s Planning Building and Development Department, where you can find more information about bicycling in Roanoke. For information about the City of Roanoke’s designation, please contact Tom Carr, Director of Planning, Building, and Development, at 853-1730.

A Good Day for Bikes

Yesterday was a great day for cyclists, both nationally and locally.

In that order:  Google announced at the annual National Bike Summit that bike routing directions have now been integrated into its trip planning service through Google Maps.  So, not only can you get driving directions and transit route information, but you can find out the best way to get where you’re going by bicycle.  Some Facebook folks were playing around with the trip planner yesterday and were surprised to discover how smart it was – it apparently mapped Ron McCorkle’s commute route exactly, down through an alley he cuts through each day, and someone else had the same experience – pointing out that the bike route even had the rider going the wrong way down a one-way street for a short distance.  Now, I’m not advocating breaking the law, but it’s amazing that Google has the level of detail to suggest this route might be the best one for a cyclist to take.

For Roanoke, the most important feature may well be that Google apparently tries to route the rider around hills.  I’ve often thought that one of the major barriers to riding in Roanoke is a topographical one – there are just too many hills for the average out-of-shape, first time bike commuter to navigate easily.  It appears that Google has tried to take that into account.

So, visit Google Maps and give it a shot.  If you discover anything interesting – or even just plain wrong – post it below.

And speaking of Ron McCorkle, I’m also excited to share that has been awarded a Bicycle Friendly Business designation from the League of American Bicyclists at the Silver level.  The text of the press release is below.  Ron and Sharebike join the Regional Commission as the only Bicycle Friendly Businesses in the Valley.  Fortunately, we’re not greedy; one of the things we’ll be doing during Bike Month is hosting a Bicycle Friendly Business workshop to show businesses how the application works and the kinds of programs, policies, and incentives they can put into place to get the designation on their own.  The workshop is free and we’ll even supply a light lunch.  Visit the Bike Roanoke event page for more info and registration information.

Washington, DC – March 9, 2010 – The League of American Bicyclists is proud to announce as a silver award level Bicycle

Friendly Business (BFB), in an impressive group of 51 new BFBs. The official announcement was made at the 10th Anniversary National Bike Summit in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, March 9. The announcement, the fourth time BFB winners have been named since the program’s inception in 2008, marks the ongoing success of the program and continued momentum amongst businesses to provide a more bike-friendly environment. “The League is especially excited to recognize as a 2010 winter BFB winner at the 10th Anniversary National Bike Summit. is making simple changes to their transportation policies to encourage biking to work. They are setting a community-wide example,” said Andy Clarke.

Businesses that apply for the award are contributing to a more bicycle-friendly lifestyle for their employees. serves as an example for best practices and innovations in bicycle friendliness at the workplace. makes bicycling an easy option for transportation and provides amenities such as easy access to bike routes and incentives such as bicycle parking and changing areas.

“This Bicycle Friendly Business is making a difference for employees, customers, and communities,” said Bill Nesper, Director of the Bicycle Friendly America Program. “ promotes bicycling as a viable form of transportation and gives their employees choices and options that make biking to work easy and fun.”

There are a lot of very simple, effective and creative ways that companies are finding to get people back on their bikes, and the League is proud to recognize the efforts of working America to make our nation a more bike-friendly place. Companies across the country are realizing that getting their employees biking – either to or from work, in course of work, or even in their own time – is good for business. When bicycling is infused in a company’s culture, great things happen: reduced health care costs; more productive employees; improved worker and customer satisfaction; smaller carbon footprint; and increased corporate social responsibility.

Applying for BFB recognition is easy and free. Applicants receive technical assistance from the League staff as well as tools to evaluate and assess their bicycle friendliness through the application process. The BFB application is available online at

The Bicycle Friendly Community and Bicycle Friendly Business programs are generously supported by program partners Bikes Belong and Trek Bicycle’s One World, Two Wheels Campaign.