Who Here Has Heard of “Bike Clark County”?

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Riding the 2013 Seattle to Portland, or “STP”, this past weekend was one of the most physically and mentally rewarding experiences of my life. It is something I will always remember. During the ride, I realized how much cycling has given to me over the years–good health, physical freedom, release from stress, and personal accomplishment. Even while suffering through those last four miles through Portland, I felt it was time for me to start giving back to the biking community that had given me so much. But where? With who? As I pedaled through the pain, I realized I could not think of a single organization in Vancouver or Clark County committed to biking education and advocacy. Sure, such organizations exist in Portland, Oregon and in Seattle, Washington, but I wanted something smaller. Something local. Something Vancouver.

After my body recovered from the ride and in only a few minutes of internet browsing, I came across a 2011 newspaper article talking about a Vancouver firefighter by the name of Eric Giacchino.  He felt the same bike-safety void in Vancouver as I was feeling. He, however, took the initiative to do something about it. After much work from himself and other volunteers, he created “Bike Clark County“.

Bike Clark County

The organization’s mission:

Through community partnerships and the effort of volunteers, we promote bicycle access, education, safety and the enjoyment of cycling to the children and adults of SW Washington. In simple terms, that translates to getting more people out riding bikes.

Despite my years of riding, how had I not heard about these folks before?  I decided to do my part to spread the word by writing a blog post and sharing about Bike Clark County with my friends and followers.  Bike Clark County offers education classes to Vancouver classrooms, 1-hour commuter workshops to local workplaces, and provide training on bicycle repair; they’ll show you how to do it.  The Board of Directors, made up entirely of community volunteers, includes fire fighters, a County Transportation Planner, a Chief Technology Officer, and a local business owner–all local people interested in making their community a safer place.  All Bike Clark County staff members are also volunteers. The organization supports local community rides like the Gordon Patterson Memorial Bike Ride and Pedalpalooza. All programs are free and made possible through community donations.  They also provide cycling advocacy efforts directed toward helping to make Clark County a bike friendly and safe place to ride and commute.

If you enjoy cycling (or if you get annoyed by irresponsible and reckless cyclists as much as I do), get involved.  Consider volunteering or asking your child’s school or your place of employment to host Bike Clark County Volunteers as they impart their biking wisdom.  It’s only through constant and ongoing education that we can make our communities safer for our children and for all of us cyclists on the roadway.

I love the message on their home page: “Remember the feeling of freedom when you got on your bike? – It never left.”  This message sits next to a picture of a young boy, perhaps 7 years old, who is riding a bike adorned with a hand-drawn face (you have to see it to appreciate it).  The boy reminds me of my eight year old son who loves riding his bike through the neighborhood.  I hope he will forever to do so thanks, in part, to the efforts of Bike Clark County.

Thank you Eric Giacchino for your commitment to make our roads safer and for going the extra mile to help our community in all aspects of your life. You are an example of dedicated service and the pinnacle of what  it means to be from the ‘couve.

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3 Responses to “Who Here Has Heard of “Bike Clark County”?”

  1. curlyadventurer Says:

    Hey there, I am a member of Bike Clark County. Eric saw your post and he sent out an email to the organization noting it. Congrats in completing the STP, that looks like an amazing event.

    I want to you thank you in the blogosphere for the shout out, to Bike Clark County. And if you ever want to get involved, you are welcome to help out in one of the many projects BCC is involved in.

    We will be running bike Parking at the thursday 6-sunset concert tonight. These run until 8-29. Come on out, enjoy the concert, and stop by the tent.

    Thanks for the blog and pedal on,
    brandon

  2. Oval chain commuter Says:

    Here’s something you might not of heard of unless your on the Vancouver Bike Club email list: http://ogrenews.com/category/openstreets/

  3. Bike Clark County Needs Your Help | Make Safe Says:

    […] months ago, I wrote about Bike Clark County–a local non-profit dedicated to “giving kids the skills to […]

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