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Is it #givingtuesday or #_GivingTuesday? – Either way, we need your support

November 29th, 2016 | Author: Pell Duvall
Category: Advocacy, Bicycle Friendly Destination, Bike Shop, Community, Event, Events, Get Involved, How to Help | Tags: , , , ,

Today is Giving Tuesday, and Omaha Bikes can use your support today, tomorrow, and in the future. As we approach our ‘off season’ for events, we focus on community impact, planning for 2017, and our favorite signature event: Bike De’Lights! Make sure an join us for an evening enjoying of holiday decorated bicycles and enjoying our festive city by bike!

2016 is a landmark year for Omaha Bikes. This year we accomplished the following:

  • Secured funding to expand event bike parking
  • Hired first employee since 2014 reorganization
  • Increased bicycle event parking equipment to over 200 bike capacity
  • Increased bicycle valet parking from 2 to 10 events
  • Saved over 700,000 kg of emissions with event parking
  • Advocated for improved bike trail closure process
  • Hosted the first Omaha Bike Congress
  • Guaranteed maintenance agreements for 20 new Bike Fixit stations in 2017
  • Cranksgiving – Coordinated with local bike shops to deliver 1000 lbs of supplies to the Siena/Francis House by bike!
  • Secured bike safety education in Metro Transit bus driver training curriculum

As we look to 2017, our goals are set even higher:

  • Continue current programs
  • Expand bike event parking to 15 events
  • Expand event parking equipment by 50%
  • Expand permanent bike parking rack program to entire metropolitan area
  • Represent Omaha at the National Bike Summit
  • Guarantee bicycle event parking requirements for events
  • Update website with bike valet integration
  • Create and implement comprehensive bicycle education to all road users
  • Provide funding for children’s bike safety education
  • Expand Bicycle-Friendly Destination program
  • Secure maintenance agreements for and repair existing Bike Fixit stations

To accomplish our 2017 plan, we have applied for over $60,000 in grants from area foundations. Many of these would be awarded shortly after the first of the year, but there’s no guarantee. Even with full grant funding, we will still be short on general operating expenses. With our current funds near depletion, we need your help to continue our mission.

If you can’t give today, please consider Omaha Bikes and many of your favorite charities this season.

You can support us in many ways, and your donations are tax-deductible!


On a personal note:

To Omaha Bikes’ Board of Directors, thank you for making this year possible. I don’t know where I’d be without your leadership, confidence, and guidance.

To the amazing group of volunteers, your passion for bicycling is incredible. Thank you enduring the hot sun, pouring rain, and all the other battles of the elements!

Many thanks to partnering organizations for your support and encouragement.

Thank you to all of you for making this year the most amazing year yet!


Dust Off Your Bike and Bicycle Valet Parking at Earth Day Omaha

April 17th, 2016 | Author: Pell Duvall
Category: Advocacy, Community, Get Involved, Valet Bike Parking, Volunteer Opportunities

What a beautiful day it was at Earth Day Omaha 2016! Though it was a bit windy in the morning, we had fantastic temperatures, some sunshine, and great music!


Due to a storage transfer issue at the end of last season, our banners and valet cards were misplaced, so I pedaled to Walgreen’s on my way to grab a couple decks of playing cards. We set up early with Dale, Tim, and Matt’s help.  We had the racks and tent up by 10am, and we chatted with Earth Day volunteers as several were glad that we were set up in time for them to park.


Matt pedaled home to get us an extra paperweight to hold down our cards: an Egyptian brick from Murphysboro, IL!


From there, we began to valet park bikes similarly to previous years but with one change; we now ask our participants to log their mileage for their trip by bike to and from Earth Day. We then report the emissions saved as part of the air quality standards funding generously provided by the Nebraska Environmental Trust! With this funding, we will be upgrading our parking racks, promotional materials, and promotional efforts to provide even more bicycle valet events throughout 2016 and beyond! A huge thanks to NET for jump starting this program!


Several more volunteers came to help: Emilie, Jackie, Jayme, and Scott. They all worked tirelessly. As the wind died down and more people came, we became overwhelmed with Dust Off Your Bike safety checks and tune-ups, and our racks were almost full! We had bikes of all sizes, trailers for kiddos (and Coby the dog), and a small scooter or two.


The bands were in full swing, we munched on Scott’s homemade hummus with pita, and many folks stopped to chat. I overhead Dale chatting with a wonderful retired woman who had ridden over 7 miles one way from midtown to have one of her bikes checked out. She went on to say that she’d sold her car many years ago and enjoys riding, walking, and taking the bus. She would later come back with her second bike (which she rode all the way home to get). Dale was wrenching bike after bike, and he finally got to take a break midday to walk around! This day just wouldn’t be possible without him!

File_000        File_004



Dale ‘The Bike Whisperer’ made impressions on social media.


Bikes continued to flow in until the racks were full and only a few cards remained.


As the crowds began to migrate from the event booths, some headed toward the beer tent for a local brew and others came over to pedal home. Many teased of’upgrading their ride’ as they ogled others’ bikes while waiting patiently for volunteers to retrieve theirs; all the while stuffing our tip jar full of cash.


We broke down and loaded the racks as the last few folks picked up their bikes. Sunburned and exhausted, I bummed a ride home in Dale’s trusty Chrysler mini van. We chatted about the day and Dale’s new car, a Chevrolet Volt, that he’s picking up next week. We unloaded the racks and ended out day the same way it started: with a handshake and a smile. Another great Earth Day Omaha is ‘in the books’ or in this case, in the blog!







B.R.A.G.G. is on the lookout for positive mentors who can share their passion for Trail running and riding!

February 14th, 2013 | Author: Sam
Category: Get Involved, Kid on Bikes

B.R.A.G.G. (Bikers and Runners Against Gangs and Guns) is a new local program that may be perfect for you. The mission of B.R.A.G.G. is to affect the lives of underprivileged youth by means of positive mentoring. This is to be achieved through physical activity and the building of self-esteem through involvement in the community and achievement of goals. B.R.A.G.G. needs your help. Think of this as being a big brother/sister with a focus on the sport that you are passionate about.

As a mentor the weekly commitment will be on Wednesday evenings from 6-8pm from March to September. There will likely be some weekend runs/races for the kids to be involved in as well, this will be more clear as the season moves on. We will meet at different local off-road trails where the kids will bike and run. It does not matter if you are particularly fast or skilled, just be a positive influence on the kids. Consistency will be huge part of this program. If you cannot make it at least 80% this may not be the program for you. Thanks to local sponsors and donors the children will receive a bike, helmets, running shoes, and healthy meals.

Please consider helping out with this program and making a huge difference in the life of a child. If you are interested or have any further questions please contact


Transportation is Freedom

October 1st, 2012 | Author: Sam
Category: Get Involved, Transit, Uncategorized

“Transportation is freedom” was one of the take-away points from Jarrett Walker‘s presentation at the Heartland Active Transportation Summit on Friday, September 28, 2012. Walker earns his living thinking about public transit and helping others do the same. Therefore, it was no surprise that he offered many interesting questions, theories, and terms.

My Photo The idea that “transportation is freedom” is so obvious that it is often overlooked. Hearing Walker articulate this sentiment so eloquently helped me understand the attraction to owning a car. When people have immediate access to any place in the vicinity, they feel free. Anyone who has been car-free for even a short period of time knows the disadvantages to depending on other people for rides. His point is that if people have access to convenient transit, they can feel that same freedom. Transportation, then, is a form of agency, the power to do what we want to do.

Walker explained that five factors impacted the efficacy of transit: (1) frequency, (2) span, (3) speed, (4) reliability, and (5) capacity. I’ll explain what each of these means in terms of buses. Frequency means how often the bus comes. Span refers to how early it starts running and how late it stops running. Speed means how fast it goes. Reliability means it is there when it should be. And capacity means how many people it can accommodate. Walker is an advocate for choosing the appropriate technology (meaning the kind of vehicle) and argued during his presentation that technology usually doesn’t fix any of the problems that can arise with these five factors. At the extremes, technology can impact capacity and span .

Ran-630-autotram-extra-grand-630w If you get a bigger bus, you can fit more people. If a city spends more money installing a light rail that doesn’t need an operating, then it can run the light rail into the wee hours of the morning. However, although we are emotionally connected to speed and reliability, technology generally doesn’t affect them. He explained that these two factors are determined by how long the vehicle stops and by what can get in its way. So, if a bus has a dedicated lane, it can be just as fast as a light rail. Span and frequency are the most cost-intensive factors, after the initial investment, because they depend on employing more people to operate the vehicles. Speed, reliability, and capacity all get better as the system becomes more efficient. He goes on to suggest that when city planners/city council members try to imagine the needs of people using transit, frequency is the most difficult to explain to habitual car-users. Speed, reliability, and capacity are part of the personal-vehicle experience, and therefore, are easy to imagine. He said that he uses the analogy of a store being open or closed to help habitual car-users understand what it feels like to be subjected to the span of transit. But he runs into problems when he tries to explain why frequency is so important. Often, transit designers conserve costs by having a bus run less often. His analogy about why this is a problem was one of the best things I got from the presentation. He said that to help habitual car-users understand the problem with infrequent service, he asks them to imagine that at the end of their driveway is a gate that only opens once an hour. What a truly poignant analogy! If you have to be somewhere at a certain time, you need to consider when that gate is going to open and get out before you miss it and need to wait for the next opening. Or if you are trying to get home, it doesn’t matter how tired or hungry you are, you will have to wait for that gate to open. To me, that was such a helpful way of articulating why taking public transit is sometimes problematic. He suggested that transit planners make maps that show how frequently buses run to help users make the best choices for them.

These five factors strongly impact the freedom that we experience in our transportation options. Transit can play a big part in cities’ transportation plans if it is appropriately designed and used. Walker’s presentation offered those who attended the summit some new ways of thinking about transit and about how to talk about transit. He has a blog called and a book of the same name.

What did you think of Walker’s talk? Let me know if you want to post a blog about it:

Come be a part of the next stage for Omaha Bikes…

July 28th, 2012 | Author: OmahaBikes
Category: Advocacy, Bicycle Friendly Destination, Bike Parking, Bike Route, Bike Shop, Bike to the Ballpark, Community, Events, Get Involved, Handlebar Happy Hour, Rides, Stolen bike, Valet Bike Parking

As many individuals are aware, Omaha Bikes has recently launched a new website (are you coming to our special HHH to celebrate?), and we are entering a new stage of our journey. We are looking for talented individuals to join the Omaha Bikes leadership team in one of many specific capacities. Do you have a special interest or skill set that can elevate Omaha Bikes’ impact in the metro area? Take a look at the positions we hope to fill and if you are interested or have questions send an email to or leave a comment. Or you can stop by any of our upcoming events and talk with someone about the organization.

We hope to select folks to fill these spots at or before our next meeting on August 14th.

Hey, we’re kind of new at this, so take a look at these responsibilities and tell us what you think. Chances are you can do at least one of them better than we can, and we would love your help. Let us know why you’re the right person for the job:

  • Events and Outreach Coordinator
      • Oversee planning for events such as Bike D’Lights, Discover Omaha tours, Dust Off Your Bike events, and Handlebar Happy Hours
      • Manage and coordinate the Bike Friendly Destination program
      • Ensure events and tags on website are accurate and complete
      • Receive and respond to emails submitted via “events” widget
      • Manage newsletters, email groups, and social media
      • Activate members around advocacy opportunities
  • Volunteer and Bike Valet Coordinator
      • Act as the point person for events wishing to use Omaha Bikes’ valet system
      • Work with events to plan for use of the system
      • Provide expertise on use of the Bike Valet system
      • Maintain and track data on system users for each event
      • Work with the Treasurer to record revenue and donations from Valet
      • Work with Events Coordinator to recruit volunteers as needed for other events (e.g., ride leaders)
  • Blog and News Coordinator
      • Ensure blog is updated with regular content
      • Manage website “users” and monitor blog submissions
      • Recruit other Omaha Bikes leaders to write content
      • Monitor local and national news outlets for relevant stories and compile for blog
      • Monitor and post stolen bike alerts
      • Manage tags for blog post content
  • Bike Shop and Club Liaison
      • Regularly communicate with local bike shop managers and club presidents
      • Ensure managers and presidents are aware of Omaha Bikes’ priorities and events
      • Recruit shops and clubs to help with membership drives, volunteer recruitment, donations, and so on
      • Closely work with Events and Outreach Coordinator to continuously cross-post shop and club events on
  • Treasurer & Membership Coordinator
      • Pull monthly membership data
      • Provide regular reports to group on financial situation and memberships
      • Track financials and work with leadership team to develop Omaha Bikes’ annual budget
      • Work with LiveWell Omaha to establish a financial reporting plan
      • Receive emails submitted through the membership widget
      • Regularly review and approve membership payments

Paging Leavenworth Commuters…

January 26th, 2012 | Author: OmahaBikes
Category: Advocacy, Bike Commuting, Bike Lanes, Get Involved

If you find yourself searching for the proverbial white courtesy phone after reading the headline, then we have an opportunity for you! This opportunity comes in the form of an upcoming community meeting regarding proposed bicycle infrastrucure improvements along Leavenworth between I-480 and 24th Street.

When: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 1:00 PM-2:30 PM
Where: Greek Orthodox church – 602 Park Avenue

The meeting is primarily for business owners along that corridor, but we’d like to make sure that the cyclist views are also represented. This is a great opportunity to educate business and homeowners about the benefits of bicycle infrastructure.

We’ll continue to keep everyone posted about the project, so stay tuned!

Bike to the Ballpark!

January 22nd, 2012 | Author: OmahaBikes
Category: Bike to the Ballpark, Get Involved
It’s hard to believe, but it is time to start planning for the College World Series Bike to the Ballpark 2012!

Our first year was a rousing success by all accounts:  700+ bikes parked and $600+ in donations raised that we can use to upgrade our operation for this year!  Anyone who spent time volunteering at the bike corral last summer knows that awareness was raised significantly, which we know will translate into more people arriving on bikes this year.

We need to get a committee going to coordinate our efforts.  Items on the to-do list include: building new bike racks; contacting host hotels to discuss bike friendly measures that can be taken; upgrading the signage, valet cards and other material; and developing a media/communication plan.

If you would like to be involved, please contact Julie — jharris (at) activateomaha (dot) org — by Wednesday, January 25.  We’ll get a distro list going and figure out the most convenient time to schedule our first meeting.

Omaha Bikes
1516 Cuming Street | Omaha, NE 68102

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