The wheels are turning for a group of residents interested in forming a local chapter of Bike Cleveland, an advocacy group promoting bicycling and safe transportation.
Resident and cyclist Chris Brasdovich led a meeting last week at the North Royalton Branch of Cuyahoga County Public Library to introduce his focus, exchange ideas with those gathered and discuss what it takes to sign on with Bike Cleveland. Since its formation in 2011, Bike Cleveland has worked to improve policy, infrastructure and legislation that makes roads more sustainable and equitable for people commuting with two wheels rather than four. Local chapters have sprouted in Brecksville, Parma, Lakewood, Euclid and Chagrin Valley.
According to Bike Cleveland’s website, “chapters use their firsthand knowledge of their city and neighborhood to identify local bicycle and pedestrian issues and come up with local solutions. Local chapters are well-placed to cultivate community support through their connections with local residents, leaders and merchants. Local chapters raise bicycle awareness in their areas by hosting rides and fun events, advocating for better infrastructure and more bicycle parking, urging their city councils to create or update their bicycle master plans, hosting safety courses, and a lot more.”
To form a local chapter, three official advocates are required – a president, secretary and finance/treasurer. The would-be group already has two of the three positions filled with Brasdovich as president and resident Julie Hlavka as secretary. Local chapters leverage Bike Cleveland as a parent organization and receive a myriad of benefits including advocacy training, financial support, printing/mailing services, a voice at regional meetings and other resources.
A Bike Cleveland membership is $35/individual, $60/household, $20/student and $300 for a supporting business. There are drop-down Internet menu options to select a chapter option. In neighboring Brecksville, 50 percent of Bike Brecksville dues are reserved for advocacy and programming in Brecksville. Members receive discounts to Bike Cleveland events, invitations to social events and discounts/offers with local business members.
To kick things off and gauge the potential for a Bike North Royalton local chapter, Brasdovich is initially proposing a 30-minute group ride once warmer temperatures arrive. For updates, interested residents can follow and connect with the group via their Facebook page at Bike North Royalton.
Throughout the meeting, Brasdovich communicated his ideas and goals for the group which include regular social rides along North Royalton’s slice of the Cleveland Metroparks Valley Parkway, the addition of bike signage and bicycle racks throughout the city, bicycle safety programs for children, family bike rodeos, bicycle repair and safety clinics and educational programs for adults and children – all local and hosted in North Royalton. Council President Paul Marnecheck, an avid cyclist who regularly bikes to City Hall, attended the introductory meeting and voiced his personal support of the group.
“I want to begin building a social group of North Royalton residents who love to ride and start bringing ideas to the table that will strengthen and bring more cycling to our city,” Brasdovich said.
Brasdovich noted that even if forming an official local chapter of Bike Cleveland falls flat, he’ll still be satisfied in simply getting together for scheduled social rides with residents who enjoy biking. And there’s always the promise of a meal afterwards at a local eatery, he said with a smile.
Contributing Writer