Washington, D.C. – As bicycling continues to grow in popularity, leaders in cities across the country, like Warsaw and Winona Lake, are embracing the environmental, financial and quality of life benefits that come with a population that likes to ride.
Today, the League of American Bicyclists announced the latest round of Bicycle Friendly Communities and Warsaw and Winona Lake have been named a joint bronze level BFC.
“We are inspired when we see places like Warsaw and Winona Lake making bicycling safer and more convenient,” said Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists. “We know that investment will be returned many times over in the health, environmental, transportation and quality of life benefits of a thriving, attractive community.”
The BFC program is transforming the way communities evaluate their quality of life, sustainability and transportation networks, while allowing them to benchmark their progress toward improving their bicycle-friendliness. With this impressive round, there are now 259 BFCs in 47 states across America. The bronze BFC award recognizes Warsaw and Winona Lake’s commitment to improving conditions for bicycling through investment in bicycling promotion, education programs, infrastructure and pro-bicycling policies.
“This is a great acknowledgement of the progress we’ve made and the momentum that exists in our community. With the Bike/Walk Master Plan complete and projects such as the Krebs Trailhead Park and Winona Avenue underway, there is a clear vision of where we can go from here if we embrace the opportunities we have,” said Warsaw Mayor Dr. Joe Thallemer.
“It is increasingly obvious that bicycle pedestrian assets not only contribute to the quality of life for our residents, they are a magnet for visitors and an attraction for those who are considering a move to our community,” added Thallemer. “Now that we’ve achieved this distinction, we need to continue to push for greater progress by implementing more elements of our Master Plan.”
The BFC program provides a roadmap to building a Bicycle Friendly Community and the application itself has become a rigorous and educational tool. Since its inception, more then 500 distinct communities have applied and the five levels of the award – diamond, platinum, gold, silver and bronze – provide a clear incentive for communities to continuously improve.
A special presentation of the official BFC certificate and badge will be held during the Opening Ceremonies of the Fat & Skinny Tire Fest this weekend. Nancy Tibbett, Executive Director of Bicycle Indiana along with local leaders will be on hand to receive the awards.
About the Bicycle Friendly America Program
The Bicycle Friendly Community, Bicycle Friendly State, Bicycle Friendly Business and Bicycle Friendly University programs are generously supported by program partner Trek Bicycle. To learn more about building a Bicycle Friendly America, visit bikeleague.org.
The League of American Bicyclists promotes bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation, and works through advocacy and education for a bicycle-friendly America. The League represents the interests of America’s 57 million bicyclists, including its 300,000 members and affiliates. For more information or to support the League, visit bikeleague.org.
* Report gathered from official city press release and Stacey Page online.
As we continue our National Bike Month celebration, there are just under three days to go until the midwest’s premiere “all-size-tires shindig” opens. Our ode to celebrating cycling and community, Fat & Skinny Tire Fest 10 coincides with National Bike-to-Work Day as the ride & roll festivities happen May 17 – 19. Here’s a look at the ways you can celebrate through the weekend with us.
Friday, May 17th Activities:
• National Bike-to-Work Day local activities
• Community Kick-off ride featuring mayor Joe Thallemer and Warsaw/Winona Lake Bicycle Patrolmen
• Mad Anthony’s Lake City Taphouse Kick-off party featuring a bmx stunt show, bicycle skills contests, bike videos and live music.
Saturday, May 18th Activities:
• Kosciusko Countryside Tour (19/40/63 mile routes)
• DINO-series Mountain Bike Racing: Round 1 opener
• Family-friendly 4-mile Historical Winona Lake community rides
• Safe Kids bicycle education, rodeo and activities
• BMX stunt shows and vendor expo
• K21 Health Foundation Circuit Road Race
• Over 8 hours of live music and micro brews
Sunday, May 19th Activities:
• Village at Winona Road Criterium
• Kid’s Race (age 4 – 12)
• Ortho Cup Corporate Challenge Beach Cruiser Race
Help us raise awareness and funds for Riley Hospital for Children, Bicycle Indiana, Ride+Walk Warsaw+Winona Lake, the Winona Lake Trails, plus more local health and wellness-related organizations.
For additional information, local hotel details, pictures and videos from past festivals, check out the Fat & Skinny Tire Fest 10 website.
The Annual Poker Run and MTB Short Track TT scheduled for April 27 has been postponed until summer to provide more time for Trail Maintenance and clean-up in preparation for the 10th Annual Fat & Skinny Tire Fest.
If you would like to help with the clean up, please meet us at the Winona Lake Trailhead at 9am, or come by any time between 9am – 3pm. Call 574.253.3971 with questions or if you can’t make it at 9am and would like to know where the group is working.
We’ll have the grill fired up and some beverages on hand to make the clean-up more of a get-together.
We will announce later next week on our facebook page what tools you might need to bring.
Looking for a fun family activity this weekend, while making a huge difference for others?
Last year’s event raised over $2500. All proceeds benefit Riley Hospital for Children.
A 4-lane dragstrip is marked off inside the Westfield Powersports shop, and riders “push” their Strider bike towards the finish line. Fastest racers advance for further head-to-head racing.
Entries are capped at 150 racers and it’s free to enter, with 3 classes to compete in; 5 and Under, 6 – 12, and 13+. Bikes will be provided, but you must bring a helmet and gloves for your protection. Oh, and don’t forget your best costume! $150 in gift cards are on the line for kids and adults.
Free food provided by Big Hoffa’s BBQ, along with tons of prize giveaways.
Bring your checkbook for the silent auction, with awesome gift packs from: Yamaha, One Industries, Oakley, Red Bull, The Village at Winona, and many more.
Be sure to say “hi” and “good luck this year” to the Racing for Riley Cycling Team and a huge thank you to Westfield Powersports.
* Strider bikes, also known as “push bikes” are small, kid-sized, 12″ tire bicycles, without the cranks and pedals. These bikes are used for younger kids (2-4) to help them focus on balancing and steering. As they get proficient, and able to “push” themselves along, keeping their balance, they are then ready for a bicycle with pedals, thus eliminating the unnecessary reliance on training wheels. They also make for great laughs, watching larger kids and adults trying to “race” them.
Big Thanks to Jan Spalding and our new friends at RacePlayMichiana, a bimonthly newspaper and resource for those who love sports and fitness in Michiana. Read the February/March 2013 issue here. There’s a great article about Winona Lake and the Metzger Outdoors Adventure Races.
They publish news that matters about things that athletes care about. If you have an idea for a story, or want to help them pay their bills so they can continue offering this great new publication to our area, consider advertising, contact Jan today.
Jan is also looking for distribution partners, so if you’d like to provide a handful of each publication at your office or business location, please let us know. We get a box every issue and distribute them at the following locations. We’d love to add more in Warsaw…
- KCV Cycling Club Monthly Meetings
- Mad Anthony’s Lake City Taphouse
- Cerulean Restaurant
- Stockwood Hair Design
This post came from reports published by our friend Stacey Page. Check her page out online. Thanks for the coverage Stacey!
Last month, the Warsaw City Plan Commission gave its approval for the Ride+Walk Warsaw+Winona Lake Master Plan. Then earlier this month on February 4 it was approved by the Warsaw Common Council.
In the absence of councilman Jeff Grose, the full council agreed to adopt the master plan and begin moving forward with the development of what is expected to be 87 miles of bicycle/pedestrian paths.
With little discussion, the council accepted the final plan to which Mayor Joe Thallemer noted, “Now the work begins.” The vote brought a round of applause from several of the committee members who have worked for nearly a year to develop the plan.
Previously, at the end of January, the Warsaw Common Council, which has the final say on whether the plan moves from a proposal to a final project, was presented with an hour long synopsis of the plan, as presented by Jonathon Mooney of consulting firm RW Armstrong. “One year later, here we sit with a blueprint,” said Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer in introducing Mooney.
Using a Powerpoint program, Mooney summed up the 67-page master plan with an hour-long review. He told why the bicycle and pedestrian plan was born – to provide mobility and increase the quality of life initiative – how data was gathered for the project, and ultimately how creating 87 miles of bicycle/pedestrian paths can be made possible.
During the planning and development stages of the master plan, the public was asked to complete an online survey of 28 questions. A dozen questions focused on walking, 12 on biking and the remaining four were basic questions.
Thallemer credited the efforts of the KCV Cycling Club and the bicycle advisory committee for their tireless work in preparing the master plan and recognized the committee individually. The committee includes Staci Young, chair; Brad Bishop, Bill Crane, Greg Demopoulos, Mark Dobson, Denny Duncan, Fred Helfrich, Robin Mitchell, Steve Riffe, Ron Robinson, Greg Schroeder, David Taylor and Troy Turley.
We will continue to work with the Ride+Walk Warsaw+Winona Lake advisory committee and our community government leaders to begin evaluating and prioritizing the first 3 years of infrastructure improvements and updating ordinances to follow Complete Streets standards, as well as utilizing the “5 E’s” report card from the League of American Bicyclists to ensure we’re also focusing on things like Education, Enforcement and Encouragement.
Furthermore, we’ll submit again this month, our bid for Bicycle Friendly Community to the League of American Bicyclists and continue to work together to offer great opportunities for people to get involved with bicycling and pedestrian activities in our community.
Please join us. We can always use more volunteers to spread the word, help out at events and serve on subcommittees. Together, we can help make our community a better place to live, work and play!
You can find a link to the Ride+Walk Warsaw+Winona Lake Master Plan here.
Yes, we know, we’re going into March, but it’s better late than never to take a look back at 2012 and celebrate the many accomplishments and efforts in helping to make our community a better place to live, work and play through bicycling (and walking/running). Thanks to everyone that lent a hand and is behind these efforts. It takes all of us to make a difference. Take a look at what we can celebrate…
- Over 35 cycling events available in the county
- Record numbers for attendance and participation at Fat & Skinny Tire Festival, Downtown Classic Criterium, Poverty Cycle Challenge and other cycling events in the community
- 3-5 weekly group rides provided (on average Spring through Fall)
- Monthly family-friendly First Friday Fun rides (May – October)
- Ride+Walk Warsaw+Winona Lake Advisory Committee started
- Application for Bicycle Friendly Community submitted
- Indiana Department of Health Grant Awarded – provided funds for the now passed Ride+Walk Master Plan
- K21 and Kosciusko Community Foundation Grants received for Bike Lane, Sharrow and other Bicycling-related infrastructure signage and paint, as well as funds for a safer event entrance to the Winona Lake Trails
- First Community League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructor – with others in process
- Maintain-A-Mile program formed for the upkeep of the Winona Lake Trails – over 30 regular volunteers and many more for Trail Maintenance Days logging nearly 1000 hours
- Increase in Bike-to-Work Week/Day participation
- Master Plan Committee work includes significant time in the field and public open houses for community discussions
- First Bike Lanes, Sharrows and Signed Bike Routes in town created
- DePuy becomes first area Bicycle Friendly Business | Biomet and others in process as well
- Multiple wins and podium finishes throughout the midwest for the Racing for Riley/KCV Team
- Community cyclists and events that helped to raise thousands of dollars for charitable partners including Riley Children’s Hospital, Fellowship Missions, 2nd Mile Missions, Kiwanis, American Diabetes Association, Cystic Fibrosis, With Love Left Over, Grace College Military Fund, IU Cancer Center, Combined Community Services, Optimist Club, Rotary and many more.
As we jump into 2013, our goals will continue to focus on raising awareness, building access and providing events for bicycling in our community. We are convinced that a Bicycle Friendly Community is a better community! Join us. We can all pitch in a hand somewhere – from volunteering, raising money or just having a conversation with someone unaware of the benefits that cycling provides personally and to the community.