Mission Statement: “Asheville on Bikes cultivates the culture of urban and commuter cycling through advocacy & celebration. We believe that cycling has a direct impact on the health of our community.”
Breaking down the Mission Statement:
“Asheville on Bikes” means that we are a group, and we stick up for each other and are interested in any planning decision that impacts our diverse membership. When we speak about an issue publicly, we are not just 1 point of input in a public hearing process; we are hundreds of members speaking with one voice about something that matters to all of us. To fit yourself within the phrase, “Asheville on Bikes,” you should join Asheville on Bikes.
“cultivates the culture of urban and commuter cycling” means that we are about a much broader set of goals than what many people think of when they think “cyclist.” Our membership and fans include many accomplished cyclists, in that fast, confident, spandex, sense of the word. But we also represent many people who you might only think of as your neighbor. We are four year olds learning to ride, we’re moms, we’re bosses, we are programmers, we are front-of-house, we are husbands, we are church members, we are hula-hoopers, we are beer drinkers and we are tee-totallers. What unites us is that we want to go about our lives on a bike or on foot, safely, while contributing to the cultural fabric of Asheville. An “Urban Cyclist” includes someone who rides once a year; it also includes a generation of riders who have not yet ventured out on Asheville’s streets and roads because they feel unsafe or haven’t been born yet.
“through advocacy” means that we expect to work to convince other people to take actions that we want them to take, to build better transit, better roads, and better public places. That’s advocacy. As an organization, we don’t believe that we can continue riding bikes without also seeking changes to our roads, greenways, and public spaces.
“& celebration.” We also believe biking should bring joy. Riding a bike means smiling. Close your eyes and imagine the first day you learned to ride a bike on your own. That feeling, that smile, that pride, that overflowing desire to tell your friends the story, and that confidence are all emotions that we actively work to create more of in the world. Our first events were rolling costumed rides that ended in great parties. We still throw the parties, and we still host fun rides that are open to all. We do these things because cycling, feelings of joy and friendship, and good parties all go hand in hand. We celebrate all of that.
“We believe” means that we have a particular position and beliefs. It’s ok to believe different things than we do. We like you just the way you are, but we make no apologies for the things we have found to be true and important.
“that cycling” means that we are fundamentally interested in life that happens on, near, because of, and through the riding of bicycles. Because riding a bike ties into other modes of transit, like walking, riding a bus, visiting our airport, getting your kids to school, carpooling, and even car driving, we also spend time advocating for better multi-modal transit.
“has a direct impact on the health of our community” means that we believe that increases in cycling and better multi-modal transit are good for each person that makes up the greater Asheville community. If we biked more we would live several years longer at full health, spend less on medical expenses, spend less on automobiles, pollute less, have more disposable income, see more customers, have homes that are worth more, and outperform similar sized cities as we grow. Even car drivers would benefit from increased cycling because commute times, traffic jams, and collisions involving cars decrease as cycling and multi-modal transit options improve. In short, there are no downsides to increases in cycling.
How do we do it?
- We educate:
- We teach kids to ride in our after school programs in Asheville elementary schools.
- We teach classes for anyone who wants to learn how to ride more safely in an urban setting and we assist with a ticket diversion program for cyclists.
- We educate planners, government staffers, politicians and others about the benefits of cycling and better multi-modal infrastructure for safer cycling.
- We host candidate forums and debates during our local election cycles.
- We advocate:
- We take public positions on transit issues.
- We comment in public hearings that matter to our Mission.
- We attempt to persuade people to build better roads, transit, and public spaces. This often includes pushing for more bike infrastructure.
- We build our own projects to highlight our case, using the philosophy of Tactical Urbanism.
- We celebrate:
- We host good parties. We do the work, you relax and make new friends.
- We have group rides that are fun, free and suitable for riders of almost any level. The almost part includes kids who just learned to ride – best to just put them in a bike seat.