Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fresh Blood in Jax Bicycle Advocacy.

I was once told the definition of insanity is beating ones head against a wall and enjoying it. For four years now I have been plugging away with Bike Jax. 40% of the time I find it very satisfying, those are the times I deal directly with the public and others that use their bicycles for transportation and utilitarian reasons.

The other 60% of time is sitting in meetings about planning and infrastructure along with dealing with planners and politics. Those times are like the insanity definition described above. The meetings and conversations take a lot out of a person and frankly I can only beat my head on the preverbal wall for so long before I gotta stop and reassess what and why I'm doing what it is I'm doing. That's what has happen to me and bike Jax over the last year or so. I just got tired and burned out. I have begged and pleaded with other cyclists to help and get involved and with the exception of one guy who after two years of his own head banging called it quits completely repulsed by city and state officials and the system within which they work. It is impossible for me to put into words how frustrating and isolating it is to live in city of a million people and to be made to feel like you're the only who gives a shit. The only one that is willing to put in the time and effort it takes to make this city a better place for a specific group. So instead of blogging, I continued my focus on the Bike Valet program where I could physically see and enjoy the difference we were making for cycling in the city. Each year I saw more bikes parking, more bikes with panniers, baskets and trailers. More people telling me how they are now using their bike full time or for those little trips they were once conditioned to use their cars for.

My attitude towards bicycle advocacy has slowly been changed towards the positive again with the start of this years Bike Valet at Riverside Arts Market. Since Day one outstanding people have been showing up and giving of their time to help park bikes. And it hasn't stopped there, within the last couple of months when the core group of a Riverside social cycling group that call themselves The Skidmarks along with those new Bike Valet Volunteers came to me and asked what they could to do to get more involved. I nearly cried right there and then. My answer was a simple one, Go to the meetings and get involved. Make your voice heard. Well you should have seen the faces on the 8 or so people that make the board of local BPAC (Bicycle Pedestrian Action Committee) as around 25 new faces filed into the meeting that first month and 40 something at the next.

Since then things have moved fast within that new energized group which quickly formed a Facebook group, and just as quick a Website. I am happy to announce the formation of Jacksonville Bicycle Coalition (JBC). They have their mission and seem to be moving with a full head of steam toward the wall of insanity that is bicycle advocacy in Jacksonville with every intent of breaking through.

Jacksonville Bicycle Coalition meets twice a month and all meetings are open to the public and welcoming of anyone that wants to get involved.

Sunday directly prior to the 1st Thursday of Each Month
Time: 3:00 pm
Location: Three Layers Coffee House

3rd Saturday Of the Month
Time: 12:00 pm
Location: At Bike Valet during the Riverside Arts Market


Jennifer Kubicki said...

One of our JBC Brainstorms is held on the Sunday directly prior to the first Thursday of each month, 2:30pm till whenever, at Three Layers Bakery in Springfield. Be there at least by 2:30 if not earlier to revel in Goliath Flores’ mesmerizing musical reverberations. Meeting starts promptly at 3:00pm. We meet directly prior to the first Thursday of each month so that our brainstorm sessions are still fresh in our minds before the City Council BPAC meetings, which are held on… you guessed it… the first Thursday of each month.

Another JBC Brainstorm will be held every third Saturday of the month at the bike valet during the Riverside Arts Market. Strive to get there at around 12:00pm and allow the discussion to linger as long as needed.

For more information, contact Jenny Kubicki at [email protected]

Abhishek said...

Well written. Thanks for the plug.

JohnnyK said...

This has got to be the greatest. I cannot wait. BTW how do you become a member of JBC? Is there some kind of formal process?

Katie Smith said...

Johnny, look up the JBC page on facebook if you're on there to stay up on meetings, events and efforts. Also, you can email [email protected] to tell us how you'd like to get involved.