Focus on Philanthropy: Removing Barriers to Biking with Yay Bikes!
For the “bike curious,” commuting to work without a car comes with a range of barriers. Whether it’s finding a bike-friendly route to work, navigating poor road infrastructure, or working through safety concerns, people come up with plenty of reasons to stick to four wheels. Local non-profit Yay Bikes! seeks to remove biking barriers by engaging with people one on one and connecting their concerns to city leaders that can facilitate change.
As a result, Catherine Girves, Yay Bikes! Executive Director, spends a lot of her days in meetings. But, they’re not your typical conference room gathering. They’re bike rides with engineers, city planners, mayors and other elected officials, law enforcement, judges and reporters — “anyone who has the ability to change the environment in a way that serves people using bikes for transportation.”
The meetings cover these barriers that the bike curious face and examine the necessity of transitioning from cars to bikes for daily commutes. The reasons are bountiful, said Girves, and vary from person to person. Some want to ditch their car for environmental concerns, some for their health and the health of the community. Broadening modes for transportation in the city can also constitute a social justice issue that low-income and car-free people can rally behind. Plus, given the number of people that will become Columbusites in the next 30 years, some are simply planning for a future with fewer cars.
As an organization, Yay Bikes! connects with about 10,000 people every year. This can be as minimal as a staff member parking a bike for a person or asking them about their barriers to bike commuting. Or, it can go as far as taking rides with individuals to help them design a route to work.
Yay Bikes! once partnered with Lucky’s Market to educate people on how to bike with groceries. An instructor brought in several bikes, had participants point out items they perceive as being too big or difficult to carry on a bike, and showed them how to do it.
“When we explain what we’re doing, people will often say, ‘Oh I’d really love to bike, but,’” Grives said, “and we are prepared to answer that ‘but,’ and to let them know that it’s possible to navigate around that.”
That Yay Bikes!-Lucky’s partnership will extend even further in September, when the organization has its annual Bike the Cbus event. Taking place on September 2, Bike the Cbus takes riders on a 30-mile trip showcasing Columbus’ center city neighborhoods. Along the journey are five rest stops, each stocked with snacks provided by Lucky’s, and one hosted at Lucky’s Market itself. The rest stops also offer the opportunity to shorten the ride.
“We’re excited to be real partners with an organization that’s really moving forward (literally) and work together to support healthy and environmentally friendly choices in Columbus,” said Elisabeth Warner, Regional Marketing Specialist for Lucky’s Market. “It’s easy to tell people to ride a bike, but Yay Bikes! works to remove barriers and support riders at every stage. We felt like they perfectly align with our mission of not just wellness and sustainability, but of meeting people where they are on their health journey.”
Further support for Yay Bikes! will be available through Lucky’s Bags for Change program in the next quarter. Anyone who brings their own bag to shop at Lucky’s will receive 10 cents to donate to a local non-profit. The proceeds go toward operational costs left uncovered by other grants and contracts, allowing for the continued growth of the organization.
For more information, visit yaybikes.com.
Focus on Philanthropy is a feature series sponsored by Lucky’s Market that highlights Central Ohio nonprofit organizations involved in their Bags for Change program. Encouraging the use of reusable bags, the program grants a $.10 credit per bag or the option to donate it to a local nonprofit. Lucky’s will also match the donation.