When and why did you decide to become a Bike Austin member?
I joined Bike Austin 3 years ago at the suggestion of good friend and former Bike Austin board member Dave Sullivan. I’ve always admired Dave’s passion for community involvement and I thought Bike Austin might be a great opportunity for me to explore community activism on a topic that’s interesting to me: bicycling safety and transportation infrastructure.
What benefits or positive outcomes have you enjoyed as a Bike Austin member?
As a Bike Austin member, I’ve met a lot of very cool people, re-established some old friendships, and made plenty of new friends. Most of all, being a part of Bike Austin has helped me feel much more involved in Austin transportation issues and city politics. I now understand how to effectively organize to make positive changes on issues that are important to me.
Why is Bike Austin important to the Austin cycling community?
Bike Austin is THE organization city (and state) leaders look to for help on cycling issues. I firmly believe Bike Austin’s political activism made a huge impact on the city council elections earlier this year by mobilizing support for bicycling friendly candidates. The results are clear – we replaced two council members who were very unfriendly to bicycling issues. Bike Austin will play an important role as Austin’s leaders continue to explore transportation alternatives.
What cycling story do you want to share?
I’ve had so many great cycling experiences over the past few years, it’s hard to narrow it down to one story. I feel so fortunate for all the friendships I’ve made and solidified thru cycling. I’m a WarmShowers host. I know this sounds kinky, but WarmShowers is essentially a “couchsurfing” service for cyclists touring the USA. I’ve been fortunate to host 10-15 different guests over the past 3 years. I clearly remember hosting Tom from France. Tom had been really looking forward to seeing Austin on his bike tour across North and South America. He’s a big music fan and I offered to show him a couple of clubs and record stores. One Friday evening as Tom and I were getting ready to bicycle downtown, Tom started receiving a flurry or text messages from friends back home. He was getting the first reports of the Bataclan terrorist attack in Paris. I could tell Tom was very concerned, he told me he went there many times and was worried friends might have been inside. Surprisingly, he still wanted to explore the Austin music scene. With that somber cloud hanging over our heads, we visited a couple of clubs and I could see him relaxing a little. I clearly remember as we rode home, we passed the French flag super-imposed on the Long Center. Tom stopped to take a picture and send it to his friends back home, and he said to me in his very thick French accent, “This Austin is a very good place”.
Anything personalized or fun about your experience as a cyclist and why Bike Austin has made this more possible, empowering, safe, groovy, etc.
Being part of Bike Austin has helped me feel more connected to the cycling community. I just love pedaling around town on my commute to work or on my way to an event and I’ll inevitably run into another cyclist I know and we’ll have a nice conversation.