On May 19th, 2023, we presented the annual Bike Friendly Business of the Year award to Newport Craft Brewing and Distilling.
The presentation took place in front of City Hall as part of the traditional Bike Friendly Update at the end of Bike to Work Day. It was attended by a lively crowd of local bicyclists, advocates, supporters, and city leaders.
Newport Craft is recognized for “stepping up at every opportunity to support and encourage bicycling and bicyclists, and for thinking creatively into the future of bicycle culture in our city,” according to Bike Newport’s Executive Director, Bari Freeman, as she presented the award to Newport Craft’ CEO Brendan O’Donnell.
Throughout the year, Newport Craft supports and promotes “Gears and Beers” volunteer nights to restore donated bikes for the annual Holiday Bike Giveaway. Newport Craft is the generous title sponsor of Ellot’s Ride for Everyone – the open road event coming on June 3rd when the Ocean Drive opens to people biking and walking for the ultimate car-free coastal road experience. And Newport Craft is actively planning to optimize the proximity of its new facilities adjacent to Connell Highway’s new Shared Use Path to support more and better bicycle experiences and the building of bicycle culture. For these reasons and more, Newport Craft is honored as Bike Newport’s 2023 ‘Bike Friendly Business of the Year!’
The award is a transformed bike wheel crafted by renowned sculptors and Newport residents Howard and Mary Newman. As avid cyclists and advocates, the Newmans generously lend their artistic talents each year to create this special recognition of bike friendliness. Many know Howard as the sculptor of the bronze horse trough in Washington Square and the two bronzes on the grounds of the Newport Art Museum. In the early 1990s, Howard’s artwork became part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington DC.
Previous recipients of the Bike Friendly Business of the Year award include Jane Pickens Theater (2013), Preservation Society of Newport County (2014), Newport County YMCA (2015), Butch Murray and the Fastnet Pub (2016), Panera Bread of Newport (2017), Leo’s Market and Discover Newport (2018) Parlour Bar & Kitchen and Empire Tea and Coffee (2019). Fast forward to 2023 and out of a pandemic, we’re excited to bring this award back!
This year, Bike to Work Day – the annual celebration of biking for transportation – started with a delightful morning commuter breakfast in front of City Hall and ended with the award presentation along with other Bicycle Friendly Updates in partnership with the City’s Department of Planning and Economic Development, including:
- Passage of Newport’s Transportation Master Plan which charts the path for numerous bicycle and pedestrian improvements over the next several years – all in service to improved mobility, reduced traffic congestion, and a positive multimodal experience for all.
- The introduction of bicycle parking into the City’s parking requirements for new development.
- The example of the new gas station complex on the Admiral Kalbfus roundabout to include bicycle parking and picnic tables alongside the new Shared Use Path.
- The announcement of the coming Newport Traffic Garden – a 20,000 square foot miniature streetscape where young people will have fun learning and practicing safe bicycle riding skills.
- The announcement that RIDOT will be updating the signage at the Pell Admiral Kalbfus roundabout to indicate the presence of both pedestrians and cyclists.
- And the announcement of the Aquidneck Island regional bicycle network plan “Ride Island,” which includes an interactive, participatory website due for imminent release. Stay tuned to Bike Newport for updates!
Twelve years ago, in May of 2011, Bike Newport made its debut on Bike to Work Day right here on these very steps of City Hall. As we celebrate our twelfth anniversary, we take great joy in reflecting on our past accomplishments and eagerly anticipate the exciting progress ahead.