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Do you bike, Fresno?
I bought my first adult bicycle from a friend at a yard sale for $40.
It was a vintage Fuji, a bit too small, with one bad tire.
But I loved that bike, and it changed my life.
That's a bit hyperbolic, I know, but getting on a bicycle — or back on — can be a powerful thing. Especially once the weather breaks and springs kicks in.
Here, Famous talks with Ibikefresno.org organizers about Fresno's move to become a full-on bike city.
Last week you held a Revive Your Bike event? How did the event relate back to the overall goal of I Bike Fresno?
The overall goal of The 2010 Bike Fresno Campaign is to get more residents on their bikes for commuting, running errands, enjoying family time, racing or just having fun. The Revive Your Bike event \[was\] intended to assist people in tuning up their dusty, flat-tired bikes sitting in their garages so that they can get out and pedal.
Tell us about organization and Web site.
For the past several years, the City of Fresno has allocated a small amount of funds to promote bicycle safety as part of the national campaign May is Bike Month. This year is a pivotal turning point in moving Fresno towards a more bicycle friendly community, as the Bicycle Master Plan is near completion and will set a path for the utilization of the Measure C funds specifically earmarked for bicycle infrastructure over the next 25 years.
This year, the City of Fresno partnered with the Fresno County Bicycle Coalition to make a bigger splash in the community as we launch a Million Mile Challenge starting May 1. Sacramento launched a similar program a number of years ago, and our goal is to get to a million miles ridden faster than they did.
If the goal is to create a bike friendly community, what's the biggest hurdle?
The biggest hurdle is education and the attitudes of different road users (bicycle riders/car drivers). With more education and infrastructure, we can create a true “share-the-road” experience.
Why is this important? And why now?
You can look to many cities across the country that have implemented bicycle friendly infrastructure and policies, and the City of Fresno is on its way to achieving bicycle-friendly status. Bicycling can have a very positive impact on our area's air quality as well as a positive impact on a person's health and well-being. With obesity on the rise and our air quality continuing to suffer, there is no better time than now to get on a bike.
There are pockets of bike culture in Fresno (serious riders, commuters, BMXers, the Critical Mass types). What is your take on Fresno's bike culture?
Yes, indeed, there are many niches within bike culture, and the goal of ibikefresno is to embrace them all.
What will it take for Fresno to become a true bike city? It seems like we should have a lot going for us (choice routes, good weather, etc.) Are we there? Are we at least on the right path?
We are not there yet, but we believe we are on the right path. The full list of criteria by which the League of American Bicyclists measures a city as bike friendly is “Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, and Evaluation and Planning.” We believe the combination will ultimately lead to more bikes on the road, which is a good thing for every one.
Tell us about national bike month, and how people can get involved locally?
National Bike Month is a long-standing designation for the month of May, and the Fresno County Bicycle Coalition will be taking a leadership role in the local implementation of Bike Month again this year. The best way residents of the Greater Fresno Area can get involved is to sign up for the Million Mile Challenge. All you have to do is create an account at ibikefresno.org and then begin logging all miles you pedal on a bike. Our goal is to get to a million aggregate miles as fast as possible. We think we can do it in a year, but the more people that participate, the faster we'll get there.
Anything else people should know?
Ibikefresno.org is designed to be the hub for all things bicycling in the area. The Web site is a work in progress, but we encourage input and feedback through the contact us page or through the Facebook fan page. As we continue to garner sponsorship support, we will enhance the features on the Web site to ensure it becomes the community hub for bicycling. Also, the Fresno County Bicycle Coalition is a year-round champion of bicycling for commuting, utility trips and recreation.