As a cyclist living in any metropolitan area, you learn to be pretty savvy when it comes to navigating crowded roads by bike. Call it survival of the fittest or call it part of a changing infrastructure, it’s clear that cycling is easier in some areas than others. We all want it to be carefree and safe to ride bikes where we live, but some areas cause us to be more alert than others, requiring a constant eye on the lookout for potholes, train tracks, turning drivers, car doors, buses that might pinch you off the road, not to mention all of the other riders you may encounter along the way. And yet these obstacles are not confined to cities or commuters, but really anyone who spends a good deal of time on the road around the world – including the Pros. As cycling continues to grow as a sport and means of transportation, Strava wants to help ensure that the support and infrastructure do too.
We are working together with PeopleForBikes to help raise awareness for the programs and organizations that support the development of safe cycling in the United States. This is a first step towards a global effort; we want to help figure out a way to widen those lanes in London and beyond. Making bicycling better isn’t just about building new and safe places to ride—it’s also about changing the way all road users behave.
The Green Lane Project is just one example of how PeopleForBikes works with cities to build better bike lanes and create low-stress streets. They provide funding, inspiration and positive publicity towards widening, protecting and making bike routes visible in some recognizable locations like the San Francisco “Wiggle” and Chicago’s Dearborn Street. From when the project launched in 2012 to the end of 2013, the number of protected bike lanes in the U.S. grew from 80 to 142, nearly doubling over the two-year period.
With Strava Metro we can now provide insights into how cyclists are currently navigating a location and help advocacy groups and departments of transportation make informed and effective decisions when planning, maintaining and upgrading cycling corridors. This includes many of the groups supported by People for Bikes, including Active Trans and CDOT who are directly involved with the upcoming Ride on Chicago.
Ride on Chicago
In one week, starting on May 29th, a group of twenty-two of us will be taking to the road to advocate for PeopleForBikes. Each of us with varied backgrounds will contribute a different element to the conversation as we meet with local legislation, advocacy groups and athletes along the way, contributing to our commitment to raise awareness for a better cycling future everywhere.
The Ride on Chicago, formerly known as the Ride on Washington, was started in 2011 by Strava Pro Tim Johnson. This year, we’re joining the ride and bringing our Strava Sprinter van along to support. Leaving from Kansas City, we’ll make our way West to St. Louis and arrive in Chicago on June 2nd for a big bash with World Bicycle Relief and Active Trans.
Join Us Along the Route
- Thursday May 29th at 7am, Kansas City Kickoff Ride (5 miles)
- Friday May 30th at 7pm, St. Louis Party
- Monday June 2nd from 8am-1pm, Chicago Ride in to Town with Us (10-50 miles)
We might be starting in Kansas City, but the message and lessons we have to share go far beyond the United States borders. As we lobby for more bike lanes and safer roads, we should all consider our reputation on the road. Blowing through stop signs or giving drivers the finger doesn’t do us any good, especially when we’re trying to advocate for cycling. This is why we encourage both drivers and riders to obey the rules of the road and, most importantly, travel with compassion.
Help Make it a Movement
1. Join the conversation and share stories with us on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #RideOnChicago.
2. Make your voice heard and help People for Bikes reach 1 million pledges to support improved bicycling. It’s free to do so and right now, they have about 800,000 people who’ve joined.
3. If you’re feeling generous, donations are put to good use at PeopleForBikes.