Fun and Purposeful BikeWalk North Carolina Bike Summit

I became a BikeWalkNC (BWNC) board member last December to represent the Hickory area. BWNC is a non-profit, statewide organization dedicated to improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists and, by extension, safety for all road users.

Although I attended the BWNC bike traffic safety course at the start of last year's Bike Summit as a non-board member, this year was the first time I attended the full-blown annual event. And I'm glad I did - and thanks very much to all in our professional BWNC group and those in Salisbury, NC, who pulled it off beautifully! 

On Friday, more than 200 people from across the state and from different backgrounds and areas of expertise got together on the spectacularly gorgeous Catawba College campus in Salisbury to learn about:

  • "Vision Zero" (the ideal of zero road deaths) and much-need change in road behavior to shoot toward that vision and improve safety for all
  • Progress in NC related to our statewide "Year of the Trail" initiative
  • Transportation Demand Management, its hurdles and funding resources
  • Trips for Kids - improving cycling access specifically to underserved youth populations
  • Partnering with libraries to expand familiarity with bike and pedestrian infrastructure and opportunities within local communities

Our keynote speaker: Erick Cendeño, "the bike nomad",...

...treated us to spirited, engaging talks about his life-affecting experiences riding a bike across different parts of the country on roads in various states of repair (or not), marked and unmarked trails, and how bike transportation has made historical differences, like the 1900 mile, 41 day bike trek by the multiracial Civil War Black Buffalo Soldiers that he retraced by bike. Killer effort!

We capped off Friday with a social event at The Pedal Factory in downtown Salisbury. The Pedal Factory is much than a regular bike shop. It's a community hub that, sure, sells and services bikes but also has an "Earn a Bike" program and refurbishes old bikes to make biking more accessible to disadvantaged riders. 

And, yes, we did get to hop on the bike to ride on some gorgeous Salisbury roads and trails - led by Mary and Todd Rosser from The Pedal Factory - but not until Saturday. Ha! This young man was twitching to get on the bike on an equally gorgeous Friday. After all, the underlying sentiment of the Bike Summit was and is the thrill of spinning over two manpowered wheels - just like I saw these kids do (yes, sadly without helmets) as I was heading out of town back home. Now, that was a smile and perfect exclamation point to the whole summit!

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