Bicycle Friendly Community

The League of American Bicyclists is a bicycle advocacy and education organization that dates back (with a few interruptions) to 1880.

With revenue and expenditures of around $2 million, it is one of the most influential, if not the most influential organizations of its kind. What it has become best known for over the past decade or so is its Bicycle Friendly America program, which rates businesses, universities, and communities according to their level of bicycle-friendly engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, and evaluation and planning (the 5 E’s).

There are five different levels for Bicycle Friendly Communities: bronze, silver, gold, platinum, and diamond. Here is what the scorecard looks like:

There are currently 488 recognized Bicycle Friendly Communities, with at least one in every state. In Utah, Park City is the only community that currently has gold status, and I think anyone who has spent time bicycling in Park City would agree with such a distinction! Salt Lake City, Moab, Logan, Grand County, and Provo all have silver status (Provo is optimistic that it will be granted gold status in the upcoming application round). And Ogden, Riverdale, St. George, and Orem have bronze status. In addition, there are 31 bicycle friendly businesses in the state and three bicycle friendly universities (including nearby BYU, which has silver status).

The Hobble Creek Bicycle Association, with assistance from Springville City, recently submitted an application for Springville to be recognized as a Bicycle Friendly Community. We are shooting for bronze status with this first application, with the hopes of being able to move up to silver status in four years (cities must re-apply every four years). The application was long and detailed and took a significant amount of input from city officials to get it done, but it was very eye-opening to the kinds of things that the city and our associations could be doing to make Springville more bicycle friendly. And that is precisely the point of the program: to honor communities, of course, but also to give them ideas on how to improve.

As part of the application process, the League of American Bicyclists has asked us to distribute a survey to everyone to bikes in Springville, regardless of whether they live there or not. THIS IS WHERE YOU COME IN!! Please use the following link to access and complete the survey and tell the League what Springville is doing well and how it can improve: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/app_BFC_Sp2020 .

Thanks!!

Proposed Mountain Bike Skills Park

The Springville Buildings and Grounds department and Parks Committee have begun discussions about a potential mountain bike skills park at a piece of city property near the mouth of Spring Creek Canyon. Here are the approximate boundaries of the property in question:

As you can see it’s a pretty big piece of ground that until recently was slated to become a normal park with grass and a few trees and playground. We certainly agree that it would be much better as a mountain bike skills park, particularly with its proximity to the Bonneville Shoreline Trail!

What we would like to do as an Association is help to plan the park. We will be meeting on Saturday, December 14, at 10:00, at the property to scope it out and start putting pen to paper. Below you can see a few pictures of the property–as you can see most of it is pretty flat, but the hill leading up to 2080 E is quite steep.

Looking north from 400 South at around 1900 East
Looking north from 400 South at around 1950 East. Note the water tanks on the right.
Looking south from 250 South at around 1900 East–this show the flat section of the property quite nicely
There is already a wide trail on this bench area that runs along the northeast side of the property below the steep hill. Unfortunately it ends up running into private property that will soon be houses, but this part will be usable.
A view of the park from the top of the steep dirt bike trail that is visible on the left side of the last picture and on Google Maps (it ends on the Forest Service road). From here you can get a sense of how steep the grade is, but I think there are possibilities of creating a few switchbacking trails–one for uphill riding and one for downhill.

For some ideas of the kinds of features we might want to include in the mountain bike park, here are links to a couple of local parks that are popular: the Draper Bike Park, and the Mountain Ranch Bike Park in Eagle Mountain. So check them out, come to our meeting, and let us know what you want to see here in Springville!

Announcement: Bicycle Maintenance and Repair Clinic

On Saturday, 21 September 2019, the Hobble Creek Bicycle Association will host a maintenance and repair clinic led by our bike repair specialist, Griffin Park. The event will be held from 11:00 to 12:00 at the Civic Center Park (east of the splash pad). Come learn about how to keep your bike clean, lubed, and ready to ride as we head into the Fall season!

Maintain your bike

Bicycle-Friendly Communities and plans for our September Meeting

At our August meeting we listened to a presentation by Aaron Skabelund, one of the pioneers of bicycle advocacy in Provo, who talked about Bicycle-Friendly Communities. This is a designation awarded by the League of American Bicyclists, the country’s oldest and best-known bicycle advocacy organization, to communities who are making concerted efforts to improve cycling. The award has several levels, from honorable mention to platinum, and a few cities in our county have recently been recognized. Provo earned Silver status on their second application after four years at the Bronze level, Orem is now at the Bronze level, and Vineyard received an honorable mention. You can learn more about this award at their website.

We decided at the August meeting to complete the application for Springville, working toward a deadline of February 5, 2020. There are five parts to the application and we have divided the different sections up among those who were in attendance at the meeting to perform an initial assessment and see what types of data we will need to gather from the city and what we can do as an association between now and February to improve our chances of receiving Bronze status (which is probably the highest level we can hope for at this point). Our next meeting to talk about this will be SEPTEMBER 12 at 7:00 at the Snelson PhotoColor Lab. We will also at that meeting be talking about plans to expand the activities of the Hobble Creek Bicycle Association. We hope to see many of you there!

July Meeting and Other Thoughts

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer and finding time to ride. The weather has been beautiful and I’ve noticed lots of people in Springville and Mapleton riding around town on a wide assortment of bikes–e-bikes, road bikes, mountain bikes, kids’ bikes, bikes with trailers, etc. The more of us there are, the safer we will all be, so keep riding!

This month’s meeting is going to be held on July 30 at 6:30pm. We will meet as a group at the Hobble Creek Trail trailhead park at the intersection of 1700E and Canyon Road. This is a small green space with parking for both cars and bikes, picnic tables, and a bicycle maintenance station. We will then be taken on a guided tour by one of our members, Kurtt Boucher, who a few days ago gave the Springville city council a presentation of his plan to connect the eastside Hobble Creek Trail (which ends at the trailhead where we are meeting) to the westside Hobble Creek Trail. We’ll have a chance to ride his proposed route and provide feedback on how it might be improved. Don’t miss this chance to meet new people and ride through the city as a group!

Next, I’d like to give a big shout out to Springville resident and hopefully soon-to-be member of the Hobble Creek Bicycle Association, Griffin Park. Griffin is the owner/operator of Jolly Circle, a mobile bicycle-repair company. He is an expert bike mechanic who can fix your bikes at his place or yours, and he charges very reasonable rates. Yesterday and today he fixed up two of my bikes–a cruiser and a mountain bike–and I’m very satisfied with the whole experience.

Griffin Park at work on my 1996 Schwinn MTB

Last thought of the day: I just read a nice summary of arguments made by people who oppose bicycle infrastructure and rebuttals to those arguments. The immediate context for the article is the UK, but I think the principles are universal. Check it out and see what you think!

Bike Parking!

The past week or so (minus a few days floating down the Green River) I’ve been working on a bike map for Springville, which you can now find on this website. It’s still preliminary because I know there are a number of bike racks that I have missed, but I wanted to share a few initial impressions from riding around town.

Continue reading “Bike Parking!”

A few more observations from London

Last week I went to the Museum of Science in London and found a couple of old bicycles on display. The first ones here are from 1867 (the larger one in the back–called the “boneshaker” or “pennyfarthing”) and 1871 (the smaller one in front). Note that both of them have the pedals attached directly to the front hub and imagine what that must have been like.

Now check out this next one, built in 1885 and called the “safety bicycle.” It was lower to the ground and used a chain to drive the rear wheel, which turned out to be a much safer combination. You’ll see that the basic geometry of the standard bicycle hasn’t really changed in 135 years. Now that’s what I call some solid engineering!

You can read more about the history of the bicycle in this article.

There sure are lots of cyclists here in London! Traffic is often congested, and so those on 2 wheels often go much faster than those on 4. There are several bike share programs in town and lots of bike-and-pedestrian infrastructure to help protect those who don’t enjoy thousands of pounds of steel around them. But most of all what I’ve noticed is a culture of driving with respect for bicyclists and pedestrians. I’m sure there are exceptions, but I think because there are so many more cyclists here people have gotten used to them and have learned to live with them on the roads. (And of course many motorists are themselves cyclists.) In Springville and throughout Utah we will benefit as cyclists when there are more bikes on the road. So let’s choose the bike rather than the car and encourage others to do likewise. Here’s a parting shot–look at all the bikes being stored in covered parking in the Marylebone train station!

A Few Pictures from London

I got to London a few days ago and imagine my surprise when I greeted by this advertisement on my first transfer on the London underground (this station was above ground).

Pretty cool message and it’s something that I definitely feel when I’m riding in a group or just passing another cyclist on the road. We share for that moment a commitment to healthy bodies, cleaner air, less traffic, and a more enjoyable way of life. Even if there are few of us on the roads, you have to remember that “you are not an island. You’re a push for change.” Well done, British Cycling and HSBC.

Although London is certainly not as bike-crazy as some other European cities that I’ve been to, there are a lot of cyclists around. Young people, old people, commuters, and recreational riders. They’re riding on the road, in bicycle lines, and on off-road trails. Here is a great example of how biking infrastructure should work:

Bikes are kept separate from pedestrians and both are protected from cars by a nice garden strip. These are the types of improvements that make streets safe and enjoyable for all users. Where in Springville could we build something like this?

April Meeting Recap

This past Thursday we had a productive meeting at Mike Snelson’s photography business. The big news that he shared was that the city council approved our proposal for connecting bike lanes in a few spots and allocated funding for them in the 2019-20 budget. Nice to see our time and effort is paying off! Much of the rest of the meeting was spent discussing future plans, especially the Bike with the Mayor ride on May 18. Carrie Bennett successfully lobbied the city for approval to set up a booth and so we talked about how to get people interested in biking more often and in joinging our association. One thing that came up as we thought about this was our lack of a logo, and fortunately Mike volunteered to design one. A few days later it was ready to go. Pretty cool, right?

With a logo like this we are surely destined for great things! After Bike with the Mayor we will be looking to organize a few rides and service projects and also intend to apply for Bicycle-friendly Community status with the League of American Bicyclists, hopefully for both Springville and Mapleton. This distinction will recognize work being done to promote cycling in our communities and help city administrators see what else can be done. So it should be a busy summer.

As for me personally, I am going to be in Europe for the next eight weeks and in addition to my research on historical prison systems will be looking for interesting ways of integrating bicycle infrastructure into the urban/suburban environment. So check back here over the coming months for a few posts from across the pond! Happy cycling!