I recently attended a Sustainability Conference in Grand Rapids. I came away buzzing, and full of ideas for how to translate that energy into action. This is the first of a few posts, in which I will share my personal highlights from the weekend.
John Bulten’s Workshop on community bike programs inspired me. Bulten is one of the organizers of Boston Square Community Bikes in Grand Rapids. An arm of his neighborhood association, this bike co-op provides workstations and tools for people to work on their bikes, mentoring on bike safety, and a place for bike enthusiasts and neighbors to generally hang out and talk about cycling, and how they get around GR by bike. Members fix up donated bikes for sale to support the co-op.
Bulten shared that becoming a bike friendly community, like Portland, is possible anywhere, when the City puts money into infrastructure that makes bike travel safe and easy, such as lower speed limits, and bicycle boulevards (Division Street, perhaps?). In Portland, they even have bike trains, that make it safe for kids to bike to school, en masse!
Even if we can’t be Portland, bike collectives like this are sprouting up all over the Country, and they inevitably increase bike culture. Throughout this workshop, I kept thinking “We need one of these in Traverse City!” According to Bulten, getting started is easy, if you have a few people “interested in cycling and community development.” We have those aplenty! In fact, in a community that has TART Trails, the Cherry Capital Cycling Club, and popular blogs like My Wheels are Turning and kolo t.c., how is it that we don’t have a bike co-op? Let’s change that by Spring 2013.