For cyclists, advocacy appears in many incarnations. From the local trailbuilder who toils on their own dime and time for the love of it, to local mountain bike clubs who have the hard conversations with governing bodies to make things happen. With so many people, groups and organisations heralding our cause, who do we choose? After all, advocates are chasing the same simple goal: to develop awareness and progress our sport. With countless outlets nursing the culture of cycling it was difficult to pick a winner for this award because at the end of the day, everyone's intentions are just plain good. Advocacy Group of the Year
People for Bikes
This years Advocacy Award goes to People for Bikes, a US based coalition and Foundation that provides a united front for cycling in the country. Since 1999 the group has leveraged more than $654 million in federal, state, and private funding. They contribute to many national groups and programs to make cycling better for both adults and children and have granted funds to all sorts of developmental projects across the country.
"2014 was a big year for PeopleForBikes," says Kate Powlison, Senior Marketing and Communications Manager at People for Bikes. "After more than four years of outreach to individual bicyclists, we finally reached our goal of one million riders united. We also awarded 36 community grants, leveraging $22.5 million in bike funding. Those grants included a few mountain bike projects, like the Beach and Peach Urban Bike Park in Florida, the Richmond Regional Ride Center in Virginia, and the Andres Bike Park in Chicago. We also helped launch four major-city bike sharing systems and helped catalyze a 4x increase in the number of protected bike lanes since 2010."
And that's really only the surface of it. Allow us to boggle your mind for a moment and look at the numbers that People for Bikes posted in 2014.
• 36 - grants awarded in 2014, a total of $430,340.
• $824,761 – total direct cash support for other national bike nonprofits, grants, and event sponsorships in 2014, including IMBA.
• $22.5 million - bike funding leveraged by our 2014 grants.
• 4x - increase in the number of protected bike lanes since 2010.
• 7 - different ads in our Travel with Care safety campaign.
• 27- states PeopleForBikes events crews visited in 2014, attending more than 70 events and reaching more than 433,000 people.
• 29,000 - trails, paths and lanes built with the federal funding we’ve helped secure.
• $200 million to $800 million - increase in annual federal bike funding since 1999.
• 4 – major-city bike sharing programs we helped launch in 2014.
|We're uniting millions of individuals, thousands of businesses and hundreds of communities to make riding better for everyone. Whether you want to safely ride to work, comfortably cruise around with family, or pedal some trails without driving far from home, we are working to make your ride even better. - Kate Powlison, Senior Marketing and Communications Manager at People for Bikes|
So, when you make that kind of progress in one year, what sort of cycling domination does a group like People for Bikes plan for the future?
In 2015, "We’re working towards our goals of 5x. By 2025, we want the total number of annual bike rides that Americans make to grow from 4 billion (the current figure) to 20 billion. That’s 5X. Better bike infrastructure and safer, more appealing riding conditions will make this happen. As part of that 5X growth, we envision five times the mileage of singletrack riding to be available and a 5X leap in the number of bike parks that provide dirt riding options for kids and kids-at-heart."
The group currently only works state side, but registration is open to anyone around the world who wants to add their name to the movement in support of better riding. To get involved you can check out people for Bikes' mountain bike grants, local groups, bike shops, and other activities in your state at peopleforbikes.org/get-local
. Additionally to stay updated and to get involved in your area add your name for free at PeopleForBikes.org