Monday, March 30, 2009

What is Bici all about?!

I thought I would take a few minutes to spell out what Bici is and hopes to be about. I hope this clears up any questions you may have about our purpose in Birmingham and our communities.

The word that seems to come up in all of our meetings and encompasses what we want to achieve is this...Empowerment. We hope to empower Birmingham and her citizens with our 3 pillars: Advocacy, Education and Access.

Advocacy: In order to empower citizens to ride, we need to make sure Birmingham is a safe place for cycling, both as recreation and transportation

Ways to advocate for cycling:

1. Communication with key leaders in the community and State
2. Stay abreast of current Transportation initiatives and trends, both locally and nationally.
3. Have a strong presence in Birmingham (group rides, etc)
4. Increase community involvement in politics by educating them on initiatives, laws, key meetings, etc.
5. Educate the community on the importance of cycling and it’s positive impact on Birmingham
6. Advocate and fight for bike lanes and infrastructure for alternative transportation.

Education: To give both new and old riders, as well as drivers a way to become educated on cycling safety.

Way to educate:

1. Safe cycling practices-share these with new riders and refresh current riders. Monthly safe practices group rides.
2.Educate people on how to maintain their bicycle for optimal and safe riding conditions. Daily people are seen riding bikes that are obviously unsafe
3. Know the state and city cycling laws and communicate these to riders.
4. Youth program-safety, access and fun.
5. Educate the community on the importance of cycling and it’s positive impact on Birmingham (obesity, crime, pollution)
6. Maps of safe routes

Access: To give people of all backgrounds access to reliable transportation and recreation.

Way to provide access:

1. Access to tools
2. Ability to acquire a bike with labor hours and little cost
3. A space in which to maintain bikes
4. Access to a community of like minded people, who can share knowledge, expertise and common experiences.

In his blog, Welcome to the Fast Lane, Ray Lahood said "I think everyone, urban and rural alike, needs safe and affordable access. Access to work, to medical services, to schools, to shopping, to recreation, and to other essential activities."

We couldn't agree more. This is a crucial time for Birmingham, with crime, obesity, pollution and poverty at astounding levels. We need to get people to work, school and around their communities safely and reliably. Bicycling could be the answer, no...IS the answer. Bici feels so strongly about this that we are all willing to work long hours in addition to our regular jobs to make this happen.

Thanks for all of your support. We can't do this without the support and encouragement of the community (and money, we need some of that...). In a year, I hope to be sitting here looking at how far we have come and how much of our vision has come to fruition. Hey, that rhymed!

bike love

Saturday, March 28, 2009

So Fresh and so clean, clean

Today's Spring Bike Cleaning was a success! Thanks to everyone who came out and played...and donated. We ended up staying out until 4:30, enjoying bike talk, softball throwing, Tofu Dogs and beer. Puppies and Toddlers as well. It was a lovely spring day, despite the weatherman's warning. The skies cleared around 10 and by 11, the sun was shining and the good times were rollin'.

Thanks to my sister, Diana, who took photos for us.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Lease- Check

lease signing
Well, it's official. The Bici Bicycle Cooperative is officially (as of May 1, 2009) located at 1211 28th St South Suite G2. We are really excited about the space and getting the shop together. I will be keeping you guys posted on the progress of the build out and Grand Opening details.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

WJOX follow up...

Thanks to Jon for passing this link on.


My name is Lance Taylor, I am one of the co-host of the Roundtable on WJOX. My partner and I made some borderline ridiculous comments about cycling on Thursday and as you know there has been some obvious fallout. I do want to let you know, not that it matters, that what was blogged were not my direct comments. It really doesn't matter because my comments were uneducated. I would like to tell you that the past 48 hours have been a little strange and to be honest unproductive for all parties.

With all of that said I think that there is an opportunity for not only WJOX, but our listeners to learn a little bit more about what your community has to deal with on a daily basis.
As I have stated, I made a mistake, but why not use positive energy and let others like myself become informed of the dangers of motorists and cyclists.

If you have a moment please email me and let me know if you or someone would like to be a guest on our show this week to discuss.

Thanks and I hope to hear from you soon.

Personally, I think this is the best outcome we could have hoped for in this situation and hope that this does become the opportunity that Mr. Taylor has outlined. Thanks to everyone for writing and calling and letting them know how you felt.


PS. Don't forget the Bike Cleaning this Saturday.

Spring Cleaning!

Yo' bike is probably dirty, so come on by and clean it. we have all the supplies and know how. $5 donation to the Bici Coop. Good times to be had!

Friday, March 20, 2009

WJOX DJ threatens cyclists on air

UPDATE: this is from

The hosts of the "Round Table" on WJOX have, from what I understand, repeatedly said that their statements were taken out of context and they are not advocating violence against cyclists and their best friend/brother-in-law, etc is a cyclist.... They, from what I assume is responding to the "heat", are requesting that the show be contacted and not the advertisers.

I haven't heard the statements, etc, but it seems that the "out of context" excuse is the go to excuse used by all. If someone could get a recording of the comments, I guess we could determine the context. However, I personally have a hard time understanding what context suggesting someone clip a cyclist and send them flying over the handlebars could imply.

Today (Thursday )on WJOX 94.5 Birmingham (around 11:50 AM) one of the DJ's advocated hitting cyclists with cars. He said "I wish people would hit them, just clip them and send them flying over their handlebars." The context was he was angry with cyclists riding in the road. I have called the station and have been put thru to voice mail with nobody responding. Maybe with added voices an apology and clarification will be achieved.........................................

PlEASE CALL TODAY AND LET THEM KNOW THAT THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE. I plan to do the same with their sponsors. This is unacceptable, dangerous and malicious.

JOX 94.5 FM
244 Goodwin Crest Drive
Suite 300
Birmingham, Alabama 35209
Business Office: 205.945.4646
Studio: 741-9450 or 800-239-WJOX (9569)
Fax: 205.945.3999
Program Director
Ryan Haney

Sales Manager
Lenny Frisaro

Promotions Director
Jennifer Dickson

Monday, March 16, 2009

LaHood = hope for the DOT? (and other Bici News)

Another Monday night, another Bici Board meeting. Tonight we had tacos and really fleshed out our mission statement, as well as planned some exciting fundraisers and events. Stay tuned for news on those.

As part of our focus on advocacy and education, we are trying to stay abreast of all the national and local news pertaining to bicycling, alternative transportation, safety and the like. Today I saw this and was really excited, so I wanted to share it.

Ray LaHood, the new Secretary of Transportation, has a website and blog that he posts to, Welcome to the Fast Lane. So far I have been impressed by LaHood, from his declaration at The National Bike Summit that "You have a full partner at the DOT" to his decision to have officials study the European models of cities.

Today however, I was most impressed. I read the March 13 entry to Welcome to the Fast Lane, entitled "Cyclists are important users of transportation systems "

"On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of addressing the National Bike Summit. I was invited to speak as a member of the Obama administration, but I have been a supporter of bicycling for many years and was a member of the Congressional Bike Caucus when I was in Congress.

Still, I don't think the League of American Bicyclists knew what to expect when they invited me to their summit.

I hope they were pleasantly surprised because I am committed to investing in programs that encourage bikes to coexist with other modes and to safely share our roads and bridges. And there’s strong support in Congress for these goals as well.

In the Department of Transportation, bicyclists have a full partner in working toward livable communities. We're excited that the Federal Highway Administration is looking at best practices in Europe to improve safety and mobility for walkers and cyclists. We're excited that a federally funded pilot project to study the effects of improved walking and bicycling facilities in four communities is underway. I think I conveyed that excitement to the summit, judging by the early response (,

I welcome the vigor of the bicycling community in advocating for bike-friendly measures in the upcoming authorization bill, CLEAN-TEA. Bicycles are a critical part of a cleaner, greener future in American transportation, so keep those wheels spinning."

Let's hope he is a man of his word. It is time for a change in this country and LaHood seems to be on track.

bike love

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Complete Streets Act of 2009

A Complete Streets Act has been introduced in the House and Senate (HR1443). This is huge for cyclists and pedestrians and much needed in our country.

What would this do? ensure that all users of the transportation system, including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users, children, older individuals, and individuals with disabilities, are able to travel safely and conveniently on and across federally funded streets and highways.
(taken directly from HR1443)

Birmingham has an alarming poverty rate, and I see people everyday riding bike on unsafe roads (Crestwood Blvd for example), just trying to get to work or home. The Complete streets Act of 2009 would ensure that these people could use cycling as the safe, reliable transportation that it is, without fear or ridicule.

go here and send a letter to your representatives and senator urging them to co-sponsor the Act. This is too good to let pass us by. Imagine-Complete streets as a government policy. I almost can't believe it. The new blood in Washington seems to truly be behind alternative transportation, as seen by this and the National Bike Summit 2009. There is hope now more than ever.

bike love!

(if you can't get to links here, PLEASE send me a message and I will email them to you. This is so important!)

Monday, March 9, 2009

I Just Need Some Space

from two five fix:

"Cyclists here already face enough obstacles," said New York City Councilman David Yassky. "Law enforcement shouldn't be one of them."

Here is an excellent video sent in by Nolan. It really makes you wonder about how our laws work and are enforced. What do you do when the police don't know the laws they are supposed to be enforcing? Where do you go when they refuse to take action against proven violators? I have had similar experiences in town where the local police couldn't be more wrong and told me to do things contradictory to the law. Driving on the streets is a privilege, not a right. Many motorist are so disconnected with the world outside of their windows and have no idea what it's like to be buzzed by their own vehicles. Cyclists pay taxes, have families, contribute to society, and yet are treated like second class citizens. You say we don't belong on the roads - you're wrong. How did we get to a point where motorists feel so entitled?

"We need to educate the public to go around cyclists, way around-- change lanes all together, but 3-5 feet minimum. Please pass this on & help save a life. Skimming by cyclists is deadly and illegal.

Last Friday, a well known cycling advocate and frame builder was killed in Chattanooga when a truck's bumper just caught his bike bag -- truck driver said he never noticed until he saw the dead body in the road. Then it's too late.

Cyclists do have a right to the lane & even if this angers you, killing them is the wrong answer. Cyclists don't and can't always keep a straight line, please don't expect them to. Don't honk, don't skim-- just go around and let them live.

No, not every cyclists obeys every law, but neither do drivers. We all should.

Let's watch out for each other. Neither person benefits from killing or hurting a cyclist-- both lives are messed up (families, friends, vehicles, insurance, families, the court system...)

Please give a wide berth when you go around and pass safely. Please."

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Speak Up! Be heard!

As you know, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was recently passed. Did you know that Alabama has had $513,692,000 appropriated to it for Highway Infrastructure Investment, with $22,996,589 allocated to Birmingham?

Highway Infrastructure Investment is defined this way by The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides additional funding for restoration repair, construction, rail transportation and port infrastructure projects. Some of these funds will be awarded as competitive grants, while some of the funds will be distributed to states by formula. the Secretary of Transportation will automatically distribute the funds within 21 days after the date of enactment.

This would be where bike lanes and "Complete Streets" come in. What can you do? Write a letter to Birmingham's leaders asking that they spend Stimulus funds on bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. Sound daunting? No worries...I have already put together a letter you can simply copy, change the appropriate name (yours) and email. Please do this, we need all the voices we can get!


I,[YOUR NAME], am writing to discuss our city's plans for spending the
transportation funding that Congress provided through the American
Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Alabama has had $513,692,000 appropriated to it for Highway Infrastructure Investment, with $22,996,589 allocated to Birmingham.

I request that Birmingham prioritize our Transportation Enhancements funds
for bicycle and pedestrian projects. Building sidewalks, bike lanes, and
multi-use paths net more jobs per dollars spent than highway projects,
because they use fewer materials and are more labor intensive. These
projects are also generally smaller and quicker to build, ensuring that
Birmingham can get funding out the door rapidly and in a way that benefits
local engineering and construction firms, as well as communities.

In addition, I request that Birmingham give priority to highway and road
projects that create "complete streets", which ensure that all users,
whether walking, bicycling, taking public transportation, or driving, are

Bicycle, pedestrian, and complete streets projects turn streets and
downtowns into destinations for shopping and entertainment, which help
local businesses and the "Main Street" economy. Families that can walk and
bicycle to school, work, shopping, and transit also have an easier time
meeting their bottom-line transportation costs. These projects also lay an
important foundation to address some of our city's major crises,
including physical inactivity and obesity, pollution, crime and poverty. This is something much needed and long overdue in Birmingham.

I look forward to hearing back from you on this important matter.


Where to send this?

Larry Langford:

Gregory Dawkins: Acting City Traffic Engineer,

Tracey Morant Adams: Director, Office of Economic Development

Carol Duncan: City CouncilChairwoman of Transportation & Communication Committee

You can also print and mail this (I plan to do both). You can find addresses here.

PLEASE PLEASE send an email to these folks soon. We have a say in what happens, but only if we make our voices heard!

bike love!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

New gadget on the right. =====>

I have added a list of specific things that we need in the shop. Please let me know if you can help.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Now for something lighter

How a lot of Bici business is done (hey, we all work full time AND do this!)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Welder(s) needed!

The largest obstacle for opening the shop is obviously money. So in an effort to save a few hundred dollars I am looking for a couple of welders to help us out with some DIY bike stands. This is the best one I have found. Looks pretty stout and workable. If you or anyone you know welds or even better has an extra bike stand lying around please let us know.


PS- If you have any old tools that you don't need and would like to donate to the cause drop us a line as well.