It’s post Bike to Work Day, and we’ve got a busy agenda.  The B2WD Committee will reconvene on Tuesday, June 7 at Empire Tea and Coffee at 8am. Please feel free to join us as we continue to move forward together, even through the summer crowds. In fact, this is the season when we’ll see the greatest impact and perhaps gain the most traction as we help to improve the bicycle situation in Newport.

Here are our Top Six Priorities:

1. Map Distribution: we’ve got our Newport Bicycle Map in hand and on display for distribution from the

2.  The Bike Rack Project: We know that there are not enough bike racks in the City and that many that we do have are in disrepair.  We know that there are hot spots where there are not enough trees and lightposts to meet the needs of summer cyclists.  And we know there is no inventory of the City’s bike racks and no list of where we need more or better. The Newport Bike Rack Project will:

– inventory all bike racks in the City: where they are, what condition they are in, and where we need more.  Students from Rogers HS, East Bay Met School and Salve Regina University, along with interested and willing residents will collect and submit reports by assigned neighborhoods and the information will be compiled into a report.

– solicit bike rack sponsorships by businesses, individuals and organizations:  this project is already underway. In fact, we’re closing in on the last of our Inaugural Bike Rack Sponsors!  This group of 12 represents real leadership on the issue, but we’ll be lining up many more sponsors as we move toward meeting all the needs of the City.  The first group of 12 will be produced by the Steel Yard public space project in Providence.  The next phase will solicit more Newport-specific designs from local Newport artists!

3.  Traffic 101 Classes for Cyclists: to be run by US Open Cycling Foundation at numerous locations around the City throughout the summer – teaching basic Share the Road rules and skills to all ages – including basic bicycle maintenance.

4. Bicycle Recycling: Collaboration again the resonant theme as Rogers, Met and Salve extend the partnership to collect, refurbish, earn and distribute used bicycles. The goal – learning maintenance, establishing student enterprise and ensuring that everyone who wants a bicycle gets one.  Stay tuned for announcements as this effort takes shape.

5. Community Involvment: “What’s next?” is by far the most common question post- May 20th.  The answer – in addition to gaining traction with community initiatives named above – let’s keep getting together for fun and bonding over all things bicycle. How about community bike rides? Common destinations? Winter speakers/programs? We’ll figure out a plan at our June 7th meeting (8am at Empire Tea & Coffee on Broadway – all welcome) and post the plan here (and on FB and Twitter.)

6. Raise the Funds we need for Program: Let’s get our kids back on bicycles – for exercise, fun and transportation!  We’ve got time reserved in our public school PE and Health classes K-12 starting September 2011.  Now we need to raise the funds to:  write and produce curriculum and tools, purchase equipment and run the programs, and track and document progress.  We’re in contact with funders and foundations to gain support to pilot school-based bicycle education in Newport, RI.  We’re also continuing local fundraising efforts, including the ongoing Art Helmet sale and sale of bicycle basket liners generously made and donated by School Committee member Becky Bolan – available at Newport Bicycle.  Other community-based fundraisers welcome :)