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What’s Up with the Provo Bicycle Collective? Earn-a-Bike Program, Detention Center Course, Mechanics 101, and More

by Heather Skabelund

The Provo Bicycle Collective is aiming to teach bicycle mechanics and maintenance to as many people in our County as possible. Their efforts have expanded in the last year and now include three main education programs.

Bicycle Mechanics 101 is an ongoing class on Tuesday nights at 7PM. Each class lasts 30 minutes and consists of a lecture and demonstration on a specific maintenance skill. Those attending are welcome to stay after to work on their bike or volunteer at the shop.

Earn-A-Bike is bike mechanics course offered for free to anyone ages 6-18. The classes are once a week for 10 weeks. Participants learn self-sufficiency skills including how to change a tire, to adjusting brakes, to taking apart a hub. Adam Khalilullah teaches 10-15 students each week and says, “I get to come here and work with kids after going to [BYU] all day. It’s the best part of my week.” Those who graduate, earn their own bike to take home with them and have skills they’ll keep forever.

At the Slate Canyon Detention Center, three staff members from the Collective teach a 12 week intensive bike mechanics course. The teens that participate receive a free bike voucher when they are released. Austin Taylor, the director of the Provo Collective, is often told that it’s a favorite class: “it’s a good outlet for them to be able to pick up tools and work out things with their hands.”

Learn more about the Provo Bicycle Collective by following their Facebook page here.

Bike-Friendly University Sign Posted at BYU

by Aaron Skabelund

The prominent placement of this sign that I noticed for the first time on my daily ride to work, noting BYU’s designation by the League of American Bicyclists as a Bicycle-Friendly University, on the main entrance road into campus speaks volumes to the university’s increased valuation of bicycling as well as walking (this road no longer serves as a thoroughfare through what is a now much more pedestrian friendly campus) and transit (evidenced by an expanded shuttle system and the administration’s clear support for a robust mass transit system around BYU).

Yes, BYU can do more but it is headed in the right direction thanks strong, forward-thinking leadership and members of the campus community who are concerned about campus and the wider community and the air we all breath. Let’s celebrate these developments and bike, walk, and make sure we create the best transit system possible with the Provo-Orem Transportation Improvement Project.

ACTION ALERT: Please Share Your Bike / Ped Concerns on the 820 North Survey by This Friday

Please take this survey (only about 15 mins) to help our local government know how passionately Provo feels about adequate bicycle and pedestrian access as roads are re-built.

The survey will ask you to rank concerns (including bike and ped safety) about several future road projects. You’ll also get to look at several renderings of how specific roads might be built in the future, including 800 North, 820 North, 620 North, and more.

Do you want to see more bike lanes? Should more pedestrian trails connect to the Provo River Trail? Should bike lanes be protected? Your answers to these questions actually have a pretty major impact on how our local roads get built.

If you see a design that could be improved (i.e. features painted bike lanes when there really should be protected bike lanes, you can also fill-in-the-blanks with your own suggestions. For example:

You can also call the project hotline at 801-805-0258 or email them at 820northprovo@horrocks.com with questions.

These surveys ARE important and they DO impact the outcome of local road decisions. Thanks so much for helping make Provo a safe place for all road users!

Bringing Copenhagen to Utah: Sign Up for the Utah Bike Summit Before This Friday

The Utah Bike Summit is the statewide bicycle conference. The summit brings together everyday riders, bicycle and trail advocates, representatives from Utah’s bicycle industry, planners, engineers, representatives from Utah’s tourism industry and health fields, and local and state government officials in order to make Utah more bicycle friendly. Regardless of your interest in bicycling (transportation, recreation, road, mountain, commuter), the Utah Bike Summit is for you and all are encouraged to attend.

This year’s summit will be held on April 5th at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City and we are bringing Copenhagen to Utah. This year’s keynote speaker is Danish bicycle transportation expert Mikael Colville-Andersen. Here is a link to one of Mikael’s TED Talks. We will also have a closing address from Andy Clarke who served as the president of the League of American Bicyclists for 12 years before stepping down last year. In addition, there will be an update from UDOT Deputy Director Shane Marshall. The remainder of the day will be filled with breakout sessions that cover a wide variety of subjects related to increasing and improving bicycling across Utah.

Register here by Friday March 19th before prices go up or seats run out.

A group from Provo will be headed up and you’re invited to join in the fun. Follow the Provo Bicycle Committee group to meet up with fellow Provoians. This is a fantastic way to start getting more involved, find out what’s planned for Utah, and learn how to become an advocate for bikes in our community.

Provo’s International Women’s Day Ride on Tuesday, March 8th

Come make new friends and enjoy a slow paced 3 mile ride around Provo. Everyone is invited to participate – bring your kids, family and neighbors! The ride will end at Writ & Vision (274 Center St) just in time for the 7:00 pm Art Discussion.

You can choose to ride home from there or attend the Art Discussion featuring a roundtable panel commemorating the impact of women on the growth of Provo. Learn more about the Art Discussion here.

When: 6:00 pm
Where: The ride will start at the corner of University Ave & Center Street by the Historic County Courthouse

Provo Bicycle Committee Presents to Provo City Council

On January 19, the Provo Bicycle Committee presented to the city council during its work session.

In case you didn’t catch it, the highlights were:

– We thanked the council and administration for their support to make Provo more bicycle friendly.

– We offered to periodically have the committee report to the council and/or to TMAC.

– We emphasized that our efforts to make Provo bicycle friendly are fundamentally about improving the Provo’s quality of life.

– We noted the specific quality of life benefits of being bicycle friendly: reducing air pollution; reducing congestion and parking pressures; calming traffic; boosting economic vibrancy and making it easier for employers to recruit and retain highly educated, tech savvy employees, especially millennials, by providing residents with transportation options; and encouraging active lifestyles that improve the health and happiness of the community.

– We provided an overview of the accomplishments of the bicycle community last year, and encouraged Provo to send a delegation to Fort Collins, a platinum-level bicycle-friendly city that Provo could learn a lot from not just in terms of bicycling, but also in terms of parking, transit (BRT), and other quality of life issues.

– We also encouraged the city to support more tactical urbanist events like the one held in the Joaquin Neighborhood last June.

– Finally, we urged the council to do three specific things to more aggressively implement the Bicycle Master Plan and improve Provo’s quality of life.

1. Adopt complete streets as an official policy in the form of a intent statement.

2. Support the creation of a city bicycle coordinator position. (Fort Collins has had one since 1995, and Salt Lake and Ogden do as well.)

3. Support the allocation of dedicated funding for the construction of bicycling and pedestrian infrastructural improvements. This will help engineering go beyond making small incremental

2016 Canyon Bicycles’ Golden Spoke Winter Bicycle Commuter Award

For the last five years, the Provo Bicycle Committee has recognized a dedicated bicycle commuter with Golden Spoke Award at the annual Mayor’s Bike to Work Day in May. Starting last year, to remind folks that we can commute to work and school by bicycle all year round, even in the dead of winter, the Committee inaugurated the Golden Spoke Winter Bicycle Commuter Award, and Canyon Bicycles has kindly acted as the sponsor for the winter award.

Last year, the committee recognized Lexi Williamson, a BYU student who lives on the west side and commutes to campus year round by bicycle.

This year, we would again like to recognize another west-sider. To introduce his story take a look at this short clip from KSL news that was broadcast last April.

In the report, Stan says “I have fallen in love with bike riding. I ride a lot—good weather, bad weather.” You may have also noticed him wearing Adobe bike shorts.

His wife Becky shared with us the following:

“When he made the goal to lose 100 pounds, he was already in the habit of using Frontrunner to get to work at Adobe, but he started riding his bike to get to the Orem train station and then from the Lehi station up the hill to the Adobe building. At first he biked two or three times a week but before long it was every day. He didn’t commute that first winter but he has ever since. He’s pretty stubborn about riding regardless of the weather.

At first he always rode to the Orem station but after several months changed to the Provo station. It’s a little bit farther and but it’s a safer route because going to Orem he would be on Geneva Road. [BTW, the two roads Stan would like Provo to make safer for bicyclists are Geneva and 900 East.] At first he used the Lehi station exclusively but now he usually rides to the American Fork station at the end of his workday, just to get more miles in (and to lose more weight.) Through most of the summer, he would ride from Lehi all the way home (26 miles) every Friday. In 2015, Stan rode just shy of 7000 miles, both through commuting and recreationally.”

Becky continued by writing, “Adobe pays for their employee’s Frontrunner passes. This made all the difference in his decision to ride his bike to work. Otherwise, it would have been rather expensive, and it’s hard to say if he would’ve developed the habit of using Frontunner. Adobe’s commuter check program–the biking incentive program–pays him $20 per month which is very nice. Stan says he would commute anyway, even without that incentive, because he likes it. I think though, that this commuter check program has had an indirect effect as well: Adobe has a cycling community and that it makes a difference when you have buddies at work that you share bike riding stories with.

In conclusion, Becky wrote, “It is probably not exaggerating to say that bicycle commuting has saved Stan’s life. Losing weight has increased the quality of his life immeasurably. The key to his successful weight loss has been consistency, and that consistency has been facilitated by combining his exercise with his commute to work. He’s in the best shape of his adult life. He loves to get out in the fresh air every single day”—even in the dead of winter.

Congratulations to Stan Paulson, the recipient of the 2016 Canyon Bicycles’ Golden Spoke Winter Commuter Award! I hope Provo residents will emulate Stan, and employers—including Provo City—will emulate Adobe by offering their employees incentives to use active transportation and improve their health and lives. It is a pleasure to present this award to Stan today, which happens to his and Becky’s 25th wedding anniversary. Congratulations!

Check out more about Stan from the Adobe blog.

A Look Back: “2015 The Best Year for Bicycling in Provo (Yet)”

from Aaron Skabelund, Provo Bicycle Committee Chair

When the Provo Bicycle Committee came up with the slogan, “2015: The Best Year for Bicycling in Provo (Yet),” we had no idea it would be such a good year. Here is a look back (with links) of how 2015 exceeded all expectations and advanced the goal of making Provo a more bicycle-friendly community and great bike town.

After several years of presenting a Mad Dog Bicycle’s Cycles’ Bicycle Commuter Golden Spoke Award at the Mayor’s Bike to Work Ride in May, the Committee presented its first ever Canyon Bicycles’ Winter Bicycle Commuter Golden Spoke Award to Lexi Williamson at a city council meeting in January. Look for this 2016 honoree later this month.

In the months that followed the Committee arranged for Provo School District to obtain Mountainland Association of Government funding to receive consulting from Alta Planning + Design of how to make the new schools it is building bicycle and pedestrian friendly.

In May, Provo hosted the Utah Bike Summit (and mountain bike pioneer and keynote speaker Gary Fisher) for the first time ever. The summit had its biggest turnout ever. Check out this news broadcast video and the mayor’s welcome video to summit attendees.

Early that month, Provo also hosted 50 transportation planners and engineers from along the Wasatch Front for a Bike Utah Mobility Active Transportation Tour and showed off Provo’s (and BYU’s) bikeways.

The Committee expanded what was once Bike to Work Day and Bike to Work Week into Bike Month for the first time in 2015. In addition to the Mayor’s Bike to Work Event, we helped organize multiple rides, the third-annual Bike Prom sponsored by the Department of Recreation, the Mayor’s Provo Bike Challenge, and the International Ride of Silence and Douglas Crow Memorial Dedication to honor bicyclists who have killed or injured including one of our own in 2013. (In November, Committee members played a central role in organizing a Ride of Silence for Stacy Bown, an Orem bicyclist who died after she and her husband were struck by a car while crossing University Parkway. That ride has led to formation of the Orem Bicycle Committee in 2016.)

Rainstorm after rainstorm delayed another event that was to be held in May–the Complete the Street 200 East Tactical Urbanism Party. But residents of the Joaquin Neighborhood who took the lead in organizing the event could not be denied. In early June, they made temporary changes to three blocks of the street, included bike sharrow markings and other traffic calming elements, to build support for its transformation into a Neighborhood Greenway that will run from 800 North to 600 South. Watch for another such event somewhere else in Provo in 2016.

On July 4th, the Committee was honored to bicycle with Mayor Curtis down University Avenue in the Freedom Festival Parade.

In August, Mayor Curtis made the epic announcement that protected bike lanes are coming to Bulldog Boulevard. The project–planned for 2017–will not only transform what is now one of the most dangerous streets for bicyclists (and pedestrians), but it will also build support for similar changes elsewhere in Provo.

Even more unexpected was the mayor’s announcement in September that bike lanes would be included on downtown University Avenue as part of the construction of Bus Rapid Transit, for which work will start this spring. Thanks to Mayor Curtis in his negotiations with UDOT for reviving a goal that the Committee had fought hard for years ago and given up on, and ensuring that this stretch of the downtown will become a complete, multi-modal street.

Also in September, the Committee organized the Fifth Annual Bike to School Week encouraging hundreds of K-12 students to get to and from school using the most efficient form of locomotion. This year Rock Canyon Elementary had the greatest number of bicyclists and received the Rad Rider’s Award from Mayor Curtis. Thanks to all of Provo’s bike shops for their support of Bike to School Week. We could not do it without them.

In October, the League of American Bicyclists recognized BYU as a bronze-level bicycle friendly university, which led the administration to turn what had been an ad hoc, unofficial Campus Bicycle Committee into an official university committee from 2016.

In November, Provo residents elected David Harding, a year-round bicycle commuter (from the Dixon Neighborhood to his workplace in Orem) whom the Mayor presented the Golden Spoke Award in 2014, and David Knecht and George Stewart, who have also indicated their support for a more bicycle-friendly community, to the city council, and passed a RAP tax, which will help fund dramatic improvements to the Provo River Trail, the city’s most popular park, starting this year.

And all year long, the Provo Bicycle Collective has served as an invaluable resource for the bicycling community. Thanks to the efforts of its new manager Austin Taylor and many volunteers, the Collective is thriving as never before.

Wow, what a great year! 2015 was the best year for bicycling yet. Even better things are to come. Please join us in helping them come to pass.