Riverside, California, Jenson USA’s hometown and business center, has lately began renovating its infrastructure to be more bike friendly. Riverside has been developing new bicycle lanes throughout the city and continues to push for further cycling integration with the support of Rust Bailey, the City’s mayor.
Last year, on a cool Friday morning in May, a small crowd gathered at 6:30am to start their day with a bike ride to work. Sure, this happens all over the country during National Bike Month, but in Riverside California – Jenson USA’s hometown and business center, Mayor Rusty Bailey lead the pack for the annual “Bike to Work with the Mayor” ride.
The group cut through a small residential area on the way down town. There was a good turn out.
Just rolling through downtown, almost to the California Building.
The group of ten commuters, which largely consisted of city employees, leisurely rode in a group through downtown Riverside using the newly widened cycling lanes on Brockton Avenue. Throughout the ride the Mayor casually chatted with his fellow cyclists. He stated, “It’s always a better day when you ride.” Mayor Bailey has had an interest in bikes since he was a child. He continues to ride his modest Trek mountain bike to work at least once a week. The Mayor also keeps a beach cruiser at his office downtown. He uses the bike to travel from his office at City Hall to the other government and municipal offices in the downtown area.
Riverside continues to invest in its infrastructure to be more bike-friendly, recently developing new bicycle lanes throughout the city and being recognized on the League of American Bicyclists rankings of “Bicycle Friendly Communities”.
It was all smiles and good conversation on the way to the Mayor’s office.
The morning ride concluded at City Hall with refreshments provided by Jenson USA, who helped to promote the event throughout the local cycling community, and local business/biking supporter, Augie’s Coffee Roasters.
Donuts are best when they are free. Thanks Rusty!
Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey enjoying some coffee at the end of the ride.
As more cyclists continued to show up at City Hall from their early morning commutes, the atmosphere was casual but buzzed with energy. Many stopped to hang out with the Mayor and Jenson USA staff, where they made new friends and asked questions about planned city renovations.
The crowd of 20 or so cyclists, curious city workers and officials gradually dispersed and headed off to their respective offices for what went on to be a quiet Friday. Before everyone had gone and clocked in, almost everyone had met a new face, mingled with our city’s most prominent elected official, and (with or without knowing it!) advocated for Riverside’s bicycling community.
After the ride was finished, the Mayor hung out with his constituents, chatted about new city plans and what cycling means to him.
At Jenson USA, we’re proud to be a local partner to further the efforts for bicycle advocacy in our community. If you’re interested in promoting cycling in your city, here are 5 ways to get you started:
Do Your Research
Is there a local race or cycling group in your area? If so, hook up with them to see what issues are at the top of their list. These riders have an inside look at the challenges and possibilities for cycling in their city.
Engage with Leadership
Contact your Mayor or City Council member. More often than not, the city wants input from the bicycling community early in the planning process on any bicycle infrastructure changes. If you proactively let them know that this is a passion, you’ll be top-of-mind for feedback when the time is right.
A Little Bit of Tunnel Vision
Focus on where you can really make an impact. It will pay off if you do a few things well rather than many things poorly. Once you’ve honed in on that, be clear about what you’re willing to contribute… volunteer hours, donating or helping to raise funds, and/or putting your name behind something. Those elements are all really powerful, but mean completely different levels of commitment.
You’ve talked the talk, now it’s time to ride the ride. Assuming that while you were doing #1 – #3, plenty of advocacy opportunities popped up. Now take action! Can you get more people to ride to work? Spread the word on ways that your community is succeeding at supporting biking as road map for others?
Celebrate and Evaluate
An attitude of gratitude goes a long way! Be sure to celebrate and thank your partners, neighbors, businesses, and those who are digging in on the same issues you are. Come together to discuss what worked and what didn’t in order to determine other ways you can support cycling as a community.