“What Colorado needs is a lot fewer bicyclists on the roads…”
Blissfully naive. That described me ten years ago, heading into my first experience testifying at the state legislature in support of better bicycle laws. Riding bicycles improves people’s health, reduces congestion and helps households save money. Why wouldn’t everyone want more bicycling?
I found out quickly that love for riding bicycles was not a unifying theme in the room, evidenced by the quote above. I sat through uncomfortable moments, supported with unsubstantiated claims. We countered with the facts and, fortunately, the good guys prevailed that day. That experience taught me that we as bicyclists need to stand up and make our case.
Now, ten years later, I still believe in all the benefits bicycling brings to people who ride and to our state, and bicycling advocates in Colorado have adopted our approach. Not everyone automatically understands how getting more people on bicycles will improve their lives. By matching bicycling’s benefits with other issues that people are concerned about, we create a win-win for all involved.
How far have we come? Six years ago, Colorado ranked as the 22nd most Bicycle Friendly State. As I am writing this, I was interrupted for an interview with a national newspaper on how Colorado has steadily risen to the second-best state in the nation.
I have the best job in the world. My days are filled with working with people across Colorado to get more people on bicycles, and teaching safe biking and driving practices.
Riding my bicycle creates a cornerstone for my life. I bicycle to work almost every day. And this year I am excited to experience Ride The Rockies for the second time. One of my earliest bicycle memories is seeing RAGBRAI roll past my boyhood home. I joined the ride when I was 14 and have been hooked on bicycling ever since. Can’t wait to see you on the road!