Bikes represent freedom. We all knew that the first time we hopped on a Huffy with a sandwich and a canteen in our backpack to pedal to parts unknown (apologies to those born after the Xbox invention). You’ll never see an unhappy kid who’s shouting “Look Ma, no hands!” But that’s not exactly why there are adults all over the world calling on their governments to make room for bikes.

Bikes make people happy

Sure, that crazy kid feeling could be pretty good for the public welfare. Free cookies would be nice too, but bicycles are proven to have some far-flung affects on society. Bike riders travel at a speed that makes them take greater notice of their neighborhood. That stimulates civic pride. The city of Hamburg’s got that. They turned the tables on the Wildpinklers who were peeing around town. It’s no coincidence that Hamburg is #14 on the list of bike-friendly cities worldwide.

Hamburg is a top bike-friendly city

Bikes help build equity and inclusion for our most under-served communities. Twice as many low income youth walk or bike than their affluent counterparts. A good bike infrastructure helps create economical transportation, which means access to jobs, parks and better coffee shops. That’s freedom.

While we’re making roads safer for bikes, we’re doing the same for pedestrians and people with disabilities. It’s pretty amazing what happens when urban planners re-think how to design the places we live.

Women Bike Advocates

Last week we wrangled our way into the League of American Bicyclists’ big gathering in Washington, DC. The 2015 Summit and National Forum on Women & Bicycling looked at changing the equation for bike advocacy, with the theme of Bikes+.

We had a pop-up at the National Forum on Women & Bicycling where we pedaled our rain capes (N.B. we always have a special deal for advocates here). It’s heartening for us to meet all these great advocates from across the US and other wonderful, clever woman-owned bike businesses.

RI Bike Advocates and Senator Whitehouse

Matt Moritz, RI Bike Coalition; Eric Weiss, E.C. Greenway; Alex Krogh-Grabbe, Urban Planner; Jen Walsh, RIBike.org; US Sen. Whitehouse; John C., Cleverhood; Bari George, Bike Newport; Liza Burkin, Bike Newport.

We also marched on Washington. More specially down the halls of our US Senate and Representative offices. We tagged along with Rhode Island’s team of first-rate advocates to meet our 2 Senators and 2 Congressmen. We’re lucky; our politicians get it about bikes. (Never heard how our Oklahoma colleagues fared with Senator Inhofe the snowball guy.)

That’s ok if people think that bikes are just about fun and games. But it’s good to know that people are taking that very seriously.