We all hop on our bicycles for different reasons. Some race. Some ride. Some commute. And some just toodle around here and there when they get the notion. But whatever our reasons, we’re all in the same pickle when it comes to poor infrastructure and ignorant drivers and bicyclists. We can be doing everything right, but if a motorist or cyclist does something screwy, it could be us that pays the price. Or if we’re pedaling along on a beautiful bike lane, and the lane suddenly disappears leaving us trapped on a skinny bridge with barely space for the motor vehicles trying to pass each other let alone our so vulnerable selves, it doesn’t matter why we’re on our bikes, all that matters is that we’re screwed.
That’s why, no matter what type of cyclist we are, we need to join together with one voice. We need to help educate our fellow residents about the rules of the road (and make sure we’re clear on them ourselves). We need to advocate with the city and the county for better infrastructure for bicyclists and pedestrians. We need to step up and be counted; and here in Fort Collins, there’s a way for us to do exactly that.
Bike Fort Collins
– advocating for safe and enjoyable bicycling in Fort Collins
Bike Fort Collins is our local bicycling advocacy organization. They recently started a membership option, basically to enable exactly what I’m talking about here. We can’t all be bicycle education instructors. We can’t all attend city council meetings or advocacy events. We can’t all do it all. But we can join together through a single organization to unite our voices as one.
There are various membership levels. And because this is a new program, I’ve found that membership benefits are evolving over time. (Read on to the end to find out about one benefit in particular that’s available to members this weekend.) There are varying levels of membership:
1. Individual Annual Membership ($30)
2. Family Annual Membership ($50)
3. Student/Senior Annual Membership ($15)
4. Patron ($100)
5. Lifetime Loyalty Membership ($500)
I signed my whole family up. As you may have picked up from previous articles, I’m all about the average Jane or Joe being able to ride comfortably and safely on Fort Collins streets. And who could I want that for more than my own family?
Bike Fort Collins is not run by the City, but it does have a couple of partnerships with the Fort Collins, namely the Bicycle Library and the Safe Routes to School program. Both of these programs are helping to educate people about safe cycling practices as well as to encourage bicycling as an enjoyable way to get around town. Bike Fort Collins also has an advocacy arm that works with the City and County to promote safe infrastructure (bike lanes, signage, curb cuts/ramps for entry and exit from the street, etc.) for cyclists.
By joining Bike Fort Collins, you’re helping to support these educational and advocacy programs. And the more members join the organization, the clearer it is that Bike Fort Collins isn’t just supporting one kind of cyclist or another, but it stands for all. There’s power in having a united voice for cycling in Fort Collins and Larimer County. Join your voice to those in Bike Fort Collins. Become a member.
One perk to becoming a member of Bike Fort Collins is that you get special deals when the organization holds events. This weekend is Bikes ‘n Ales and while the general public will be paying $20 for three beers and a pint glass, members get four beers for the same price. We also got free admission to Bike Prom a few weeks ago. Like I said earlier, membership perks are evolving. But so far they’ve been pretty sweet deals.
If you’ve never heard of Bikes ‘n Ales, or you’ve heard of it but you’re still not sure what it’s all about, I wrote an explanation recently that I posted to social media. I’m pasting it here in case you didn’t see it earlier.
If you haven’t done Bikes ‘n Ales yet, it’s a totally laid back way to go out with friends, grab some beers, and support our local bicycle advocacy organization — Bike Fort Collins.
Here’s how it works: You show up at the Downtown Artery this Friday or Saturday night between 4-7pm. You pay either $15 for 3 beer tokens, or $20 for 3 beer tokens plus a collectable Bikes ‘n Ales pint glass. (If you’re a Bike Fort Collins member, you get 4 tokens instead of 3 for the exact sameprices. Read “free beer.”)
Your tokens are good at four different places around town:
1. The Downtown Artery. And you’re already there picking up your tokens, so it’s a good place to get your first beer and figure out how it all works.
2. Pour Brothers Community Tavern, just down Linden Street.
3. PinBall Jones, just a little bit further down Linden Street.
and 4. CooperSmith’s Pub & Brewing, which backs up onto Linden.
So, and this is key, it’s important to know that you don’t have to drink all 3 (or 4 if you’re one of Bike Fort Collins rockin’ members) beers in one evening. It’s OK to grab one beer Friday, one Saturday, and one Sunday. There’s no right way to go about this. (But there is a wrong way. DUI’s can still be handed out even if you’re on a bicycle. So if you’re not safe to drive, then you’re not safe to ride. Call a cab and pick up your bike another day.)
The sponsors are all DONATING these beers. So be sure to give them a HUGE thank you. And don’t forget to still tip your server.
The first Bikes ‘n Ales I participated in was this past summer and it was a great way to visit some breweries that I’d never been to before. So grab some beers, meet some new brewers, and support bicycle advocating and education this weekend through Bikes ‘n Ales!
A few extra items of note:
Chris Johnson, the new Executive Director of Bike Fort Collins, will be hanging out at the Artery Friday and Saturday night. So this is a great opportunity to introduce yourself, share your favorite bike route, talk rides or infrastructure or advocacy, whatever. At the very least, come say hello.
Also, you theoretically can sign up in advance for Bikes ‘n Ales through a Paypal button on the Bike Fort Collins website. But last I tried it, it wasn’t working right. No worries, though. There’s no limit to the number of people that get involved. So just show up Friday or Saturday and buy your tokens then.
Disclaimer: I’m a member of Bike Fort Collins, and I help out on both the Marketing/Communications committee and the Advocacy committee. But no one asked me to write this plug for BFC membership. I’m doing it because I believe in what I’m saying. We can all gripe and complain to our friends when there’s a man hole cover askew in the bike lane, or there’s a bike lane that abruptly ends, or (grrrrrr!) construction signs in the bike lane (personal pet peeve), but it’s never going to make a difference until we start joining those voices together. We need to let the City and County know not only what improvements we’d like to see, but we need to be patting them on the back when they do a job well done (like the Remington Greenway). We’re all in this together, and by joining BFC, you’re actually making a statement that that’s true. United we ride.