Celebrating 30 years in business, North Carolina-based Performance Bicycle has awarded 10 grants to bike advocacy organizations around the country, including our own statewide nonprofit, Bike Maryland. The grants will be administered in collaboration with the Alliance for Biking & Walking.
Announced this week, other organizations winning grants include Bike Austin, Bike Utah, Santa Monica Spoke, the Tucson-based Living Streets Alliance, Community Bikes in Charlottesville, Va. and the East Bay Bicycle Coalition in Oakland. Each group received $3,000 to support local efforts to bicycling accessibility.
One catch for receiving a grant was that bicycle accessibility and advocacy efforts needed to be in communities where Performance stores are located — but that actually worked out perfectly for Bike Maryland’s grant application, said executive director Carol Silldorf. She told Baltimore that Bike Maryland will use the grant for future advocacy workshops in four locations, Baltimore City, Columbia, Rockville and Gaithersburg, over the course of the next year — all cities, conveniently, with Performance retail outlets.
“The idea is to train advocates and bring together local businesses, universities and the community,” Silldorf said. “Then they can go out and spread the word.”
Bike Maryland has recently hosted “Bike Friendly Maryland” advocacy-building efforts in Annapolis and Salisbury, but the new grant will be the first to help continue and expand the initiative. Silldorf noted that not long after the Bike Maryland advocacy workshop earlier this year in Salisbury, 60-70 bicycling advocates turned out at a city council meeting there in support of creating more local bike lanes — an effort that won the backing of the mayor and council.
In terms of the new grant, Silldorf added Bike Maryland already focuses much of its attention in Baltimore, and that Columbia, led by the Bicycling Advocates of Howard County, has made great strides recently, in terms of bicycling accessibility. Rockville has a long-active citizen bicycle advisory committee.
According to the League of American Bicyclists’ 2012 “Bicycle Friendly” state rankings, Maryland currently ranks 8th nationally. Washington and Minnesota rank first and second, respectively; New Jersey [against stereotype, perhaps] ranks just ahead of Maryland in 7th place.
Currently, two Maryland communities, Baltimore and Frederick, have earned official League of American Bicyclists’ “Bike Friendly Community” status.
Bike Maryland's largest fundraising event, Tour du Port, is scheduled for Sept. 22. Another Bike Maryland event, Larry's Ride & Run (in honor of Larry Bensky, who was struck and killed while bicycling in Baltimore County), is scheduled for Sept. 30.