Biking in Good Company

Get involved with inspiring organizations that are making it safer, easier, and more fun to bike.

This post is in partnership with the CLIF Bar 2-Mile Challenge

Spend some time cycling and passion has a tendency to take over. Sometimes that passion is all about the benefits of cycling. Other times it spurs the need to participate in cycling events or to lend a voice to issues that impact cycling, like safe streets and bike paths. Don't believe us? Check out some of these awesome national and state organizations created by ordinary bike enthusiasts just like you who are making a difference in the world.

Chicago cyclists will want to check into Active Transportation Alliance programs. “We host events like Bike the Drive with tours of the city, pointing out history, parks and architecture along the routes,” says Director of Marketing, Ethan Spotts. “We also push for new facilities and infrastructure on the streets – bike lanes, trails, sidewalks, safer intersections – that get more people biking and walking.” Additionally, ATA fights for (and helps pass) legislation such as Must Stop for Pedestrians. They’re currently doing a big push against distracted driving.

Those needing that extra nudge off the couch and onto a bike need merely listen to Allison Mannos, Urban Strategy Director of Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, speak about cycling’s benefits. “Not only does cycling make you feel better and whole as a person, but you start to see your community more closely,” she says. The organization develops campaigns, programs, resources and events to support bicycling-related advocacy, education, outreach and fun all around Los Angeles County.

In Northern California, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition members have several goals they’re striving towards, including an annual Bike to School Day “Our action plan is to literally connect the city with 100 miles of bikeways,” says Executive Director Leah Shauhm. Events include. Says Shahum, “Our mission is to make sure bicycling is inviting and safe for people of all ages and skill levels.”

Education, outreach and advocacy play a big role in Seattle’s Bicycle Alliance of Washington. Their programs are for all-ages. “In elementary schools we promote safe cycling routes to school and teach the parents of students how to encourage their kids to ride safely,” says Josh Miller, Program Manager for BAW’s Go By Bike Program. “At several universities we’re helping them develop bicycle curricula in their physical education and health programs.” BAW also gets involved with legislation like the Vulnerable User Bill, which increases disciplinary actions for drivers who injure or kill cyclists and pedestrians.

Climate Ride hosts two annual events: a charitable five-day rides from New York City to Washington, DC and another ride from Sacramento to San Francisco. Funds raised support sustainable solutions and environmental causes. “Our participants get to enjoy scenic bicycle rides that celebrate the best of America that you can see on two wheels,” says Climate Ride co-founder and director, Caeli Quinn. “They also have the opportunity to hear important perspectives from respected thought leaders. All of this contributes to an extraordinary event - action, learning and life-changing experiences—all on a gorgeous bike trip.”

As a national, state and local advocacy organization since 1880, the League of American Bicyclists has initiated several key programs including the Bicycle Friendly America Program, which promotes bicycle-friendly state, community and business programs. Additionally, they sponsor bicycle and safety education Smart Cycling programs and National Bike Month.

There’s pride in Keith Laughlin’s voice when he speaks about how Rails to Trails Conservancy has converted unused railroad corridors into trails. “When we started [25 years ago] there were only a couple of hundred miles of rail trail, now there are 20,000,” says the RTC president. “It’s amazing to see that what started out as a good idea has become a national movement and it was all done by working with people at local levels.” RTC’s goal for 2020 – that 90% of Americans are living within three miles of a trail system so they can build cycling into their daily lives.

Read more about urban biking in our GOOD Guide to Biking for the Planet.

via Chela Horsdal / Twitter

Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

The show is loosely based on an alternative history novel by Philip K. Dick that postulates what would happen if Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan controlled the United States after being victorious in World War II.

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via Mike Mozart / Flickr

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

RELATED: The 1975's singer bravely kissed a man at a Dubai concert to protest anti-LGBT oppression

In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

RELATED: Alan Turing will appear on the 50-pound note nearly 70 years after being persecuted for his sexuality

Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?


Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

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The Planet
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr and nrkbeta / flickr

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) dropped a bombshell on Tuesday, announcing it had over 900 emails that White House aide Stephen Miller sent to former Breitbart writer and editor Katie McHugh.

According to the SPLC, in the emails, Miller aggressively "promoted white nationalist literature, pushed racist immigration stories and obsessed over the loss of Confederate symbols after Dylann Roof's murderous rampage."

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via Twitter / Bye,Bye Harley Davidson

The NRA likes to diminish the role that guns play in fatal shootings by saying, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."

Which is the same logic as, "Hammers don't build roofs, people build roofs." No duh. But it'd be nearly impossible to build a roof without a hammer.

So, shouldn't the people who manufacture guns share some responsibility when they are used for the purpose they're made: killing people? Especially when the manufacturers market the weapon for that exact purpose?

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