It’s easy to assume that with fewer bicyclists on the roads Bike Cleveland might slow down when the temperature drops. In fact, the cycling advocacy group is in the midst of a busy month with its 2018 Strategic Summit and Cranksgiving Cleveland events.
Held every five years, the Summit took place on Sunday, November 11, at the newly-restored LaSalle Arts and Media Center in Collinwood. The results of Bike Cleveland's recent Strategic Plan Survey were a focal point of conversation—such as the desire for more protected bike lanes and bike/pedestrian-friendly policies.
“The Strategic Summit brings folks together to hear...what they would like to see Bike Cleveland do to elevate biking in the community,” explains Executive Director Jacob VanSickle. “The Summit is very process-oriented, giving people the opportunity to share their worries of biking in Cleveland and ideas of actions we can take to improve the experience.”
According to VanSickle, the choice of venue was intentional, with hopes of attracting more east siders to weigh in. “The east side has larger amounts of residents who don’t have access to automobiles," he shares. "We think our work can have a big impact over there, so we wanted to make it accessible to folks on the east side to come.”
The group's momentum will continue this Saturday, November 17, with plans to give back to the community in another way: the 7th annual Cranksgiving. This year's event will be held in Euclid—inviting cyclists to bike around the city and buy groceries at local stores as part of a two-wheeled food drive to benefit the Euclid Hunger Center.
While the event had humble beginnings—around 30 people attended the first—last year saw around 100 riders collect about $4,000 worth of food donated to an area hunger center.
“For a lot of people, it’s one of their favorite events of the year, especially since people really enjoy giving back around the holidays,” says VanSickle of the event’s growth. “Being able to ride around with some friends, do some grocery shopping, donate some food and hear from the Hunger Center how impactful this is—especially right around Thanksgiving—I think it means a lot to the people that come out.”
This spirit of giving back to the community seems to be the backbone of Bike Cleveland’s vision for Cleveland. They’re even looking into how walking intersects with biking.
“Our work really goes beyond biking,” says VanSickle. “Having your street be redesigned so it’s safe isn’t just good for bikes, but it’s good for walkability and community connectivity as a whole. It improves general overall quality of life.”
To learn more about how to get involved in this weekend's Cranksgiving event, click here.