This is Chuck Welch and this is my last post as “BikeLakeland.”
I wrote my first post about biking in Lakeland in 2006. By 2010, we had started BikeLakeland. Our first goal was to raise funds and place bike racks in Downtown Lakeland. Accomplishing that we set our sights on getting the city recognized as a Bicycle Friendly City by the the League of American Bicyclists.
We reached that goal last year. Then we worked to establish monthly social rides and a yearly BikeBash. Both goals were met.
Through all that, we worked with the city to advocate improved conditions for bicyclists. That’s a never-ending process.
I leave Lakeland next week. To continue the work of BikeLakeland we’ve put together our inaugural board:
Julie Townsend, Tammy Wright, Mary Crowe, Abhishek Mukherjee, Rick Perez and Ron Tomlin.
Each person on the board has extensive experience in cycling and community organization.
I will serve on the board via email and social media until the group reaches their next major goal: to set BikeLakeland as a 501c3 organization.
With your help, BikeLakeland will continue to work hard to improve bicycling conditions and opportunities for all any cyclists.
Thank you for your help these past few years. I promise you nothing we accomplished would have been possible without your support.
Today, BikeLakeland released their familiar blue-and-white logo under a Creative Commons copyright. “This means any person or entity may use the logo to promote biking in Lakeland,” said Chuck Welch, BikeLakeland’s Director. “We just request anyone using the logo online to provide a link to BikeLakeland.com”
Welch stated that area bike shops and Governmental entities could use the logo to promote biking in Lakeland. Organizations could affix the logo to bike racks or bicycle-friendly businesses. “Bike Lakeland isn’t just an advocacy organization; it’s a plea, a promise and a paean to a lifestyle choice in our community.”
Welch added that he hoped area businesses and artists would find creative ways to mix the logo into their work, “After all, we have the same goal — advocating for more bikes, more cyclists and the best infrastructure.”
The next time you see the Bike Lakeland logo, we hope it serves as a reminder that there is no better way to see Lakeland than to bike Lakeland.
The BikeLakeland logo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
The four downtown bike racks are the “sons and daughters” of Cindi the Cyclist and her partner BikeLakeland. Cindi is the artistic bike rack located in Munn Park across from Nathan’s Mens Store. To make the downtown racks easier to find, they’re all painted yellow. Playfully named like Cindi, the racks are “Gigi” (Kentucky at Traders Alley), “Celso” (Lemon at Kentucky), “Haru” (Tennessee at Main), and “Sophie” (Pine at Tennessee).
Today “Frances” joined her brothers and sisters to help cyclists find a place to park. Like the others, Frances is a 3′ tall yellow metal culicues bike racks sponsored by the BikeLakeland initiative. Unlike her siblings, Frances is not based on a street corner in the merchant district. She was placed across from the Amtrak Train Station on Main Street by the Frances Langford Promenade. She is set to serve recreational cyclists coming downtown to ride Lake Mirror or walk the promenade. She also stands as a bike-friendly beacon for visitors arriving by train.
Update: We left out a huge thank you to the City of Lakeland Public Works and Parks & Recreation staff for donating their labor and materials to install Frances!
Lakeland has been designated a Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Community by The League of American Bicyclists (LAB). Recognized on their first application to the League, Lakeland received kudos for their education efforts. The city now joins eight other Florida communities and over 200 communities nationwide to receive the designation by the League. Other than “bragging rights”, cities designated as bicycle friendly are provided “incentives, hands-on assistance, and award recognition” by the LAB. In addition to improving conditions for commuter and recreational cyclists, bicycle-friendly cities attract biking tourists and are a selling point for prospective business relocation.
What does it take to be named a bicycle-friendly community? A city must excel in five categories: Education, Engineering, Enforcement. Encouragement and Evaluation.
Education: Does the community have systems in place to train children and adult cyclists?
Engineering: Are bicyclists included in the city’s transportation plan?
Enforcement: Do police officers understand and enforce bicyclists’ rights and responsibilities?
Encouragement: Does the community participate in Bike Month, offer bike rodeos, host community bike rides, or otherwise encourage cycling?
Evaluation: Does the community have methods in place to ensure their bicyclist programs are making a difference? — League of American Bicyclists
The designation process began in March when BikeLakeland made a formal request to the City of Lakeland to spearhead the effort to apply for the Bicycle Friendly Community designation.
The BFC application process can assist and focus city bicycling efforts, provide a valuable measurement of results over time and a comparison with other communities. BikeLakeland has already started the process to gather data for the BFC application. However, a successful submission needs the City of Lakeland to serve as the prime applicant. We request your support of the BFC application and ask that you designate someone from Community Development as the city’s Bicycle Program Manager and application coordinator — BikeLakeland to Tony Delgado, March 19, 2012
The Lakeland City Commission issued a proclamation on May 21st directing staff to submit an application. While many city staff contributed to the effort, it was spearheaded by Richard Perez, a Senior Planner in the Community Development department. BikeLakeland worked with Perez to help prepare the application for the July deadline.
BikeLakeland appreciates the strong effort by city staff to improve Lakeland’s commitment to bicycling. Promoting bike lanes, improving bike trails and other initiatives make cycling easier, safer and more inclusive for all Lakeland’s citizens.
However, there is much more work to do. Being designated a Bicycle Friendly Community is not a permanent award. The designation is good for four years and must be renewed. Combine that with Lakeland’s Bronze designation, and it means we still have improvements to make. The LAB will help us identify areas in need of improvement, but we must work together as citizens and city staff to ensure improvements are made. In 2016 we can reapply and look forward to receiving an even higher designation.
Ranked 21st in the nation, Florida has nine communities designated as Bicycle Friendly. They’re listed on the League of American Bicyclists website:
In case of inclement weather, you can call the number to see if the ride has been cancelled. Since the weather changes so fast in Lakeland, we recommend calling about two hours before the ride.
We look forward to seeing you for our next ride!