When in Ireland for five years, I recently completed and published the book I had begun fifteen years before, “How America Can Bike and Grow Rich, the National Bicycle Greenway in Action“ . With it, I am finally able to show the historical precedent for the bikeway we foresee. So I will use this space to quickly show you some of the many similarities between our effort and those of years long gone by. I will also give you a look at what our Greenway will look like, until, in time it becomes a dedicated bicycle highway. Then I will tell you how you can help me make the NBG real.The first person to use a private machine to connect the American coasts to one another did so on a bicycle. The year was 1884. The man’s name was Thomas Stevens . He began his 104 day journey from San Francisco using the Transcontinental Railroad right of way that was completed in 1869. He went on to circumnavigate the globe but back then just biking across America expanded the consciousness for what was possible.
As cars then began to come about, their early promoters began to look for a national forum to showcase what their vehicles. could do. In 1912, when using the rough data they had accumulated, Carl Fisher and Henry Joy drew a red line on a map of the United States that connected New York City with San Francisco and called it the Lincoln Highway, it was laughed at and described by many as no more than a ‘line on a map connecting all the worst mudholes in the country’. Even in their wildest imaginings, there was no way these two men could have known the consequences of their action to create the very first coast to coast car route (see Lessons Learned from America’s First Coast-to-Coast Highway in Building the NBG ). Hardly could they have foreseen all the other roads it would spawn, all the automobiles it would engender, and, in the end, all the environmental depredation it would bring about.
Now that we have a red line at BikeRoute.com that connects San Francisco with the Nation’s capitol that we are calling the National Bicycle Greenway, we hope to reverse engineer the roads it uses, many from the Lincoln, with bike friendly infrastructure. In areas with bigger car volumes, for example, green asphalt, regularly emblazoned with the NBG logo will be set off from the vehicular right of way by regularly positioned bollards. Besides their different colored section of the road, these lanes will also be clearly marked with handsome and colorful, slightly oversize street signs. NBG green in color, the black print on them will regularly advise out of area travelers of distances to the various destinations along the way.
Less congested areas will be set off with route markers, protected bike lanes, traffic calming devices, neighborhood greenways and the bike infrastructure specific to each locale through which it passes. This while in wide open America, every 10 miles (the distance the average touring cyclist travels in an hour), a different set of signposts will appear. Also set in green with black print and set below the NBG logo, on them will appear this advisory for motorists “The Cyclists You See are Traveling on the National Bicycle Greenway“.
In urban America, as we retrofit the NBG Anchor cities we have identified by pushing to improve the roads and paths bike riders use to reach those places they eat, sleep, shop and recreate, we will use the National Mayors’ Rides (overview ) we have visited 62 cities with since 2002 to call attention to the advances made by these local governments. As we also help the NBG Anchor cities we have selected write proclamations that celebrate this work, we incite them to continued such action by placing them in friendly competition with one another.
In addition, the NBG Biking Pages, Biking Attractions Maps <Davis example> and Virtual Tours <Reno example> their local merchants will use to bring cyclists to their doorsteps are other scorecards cities and their staff can use to show off to one another. As web pages, these on line documents will be monetized with display advertising as I have shown in the P&L that you can see here.
In addition to getting our cities better aligned with our effort, as we also make them attractive to cyclists both far and near, each year we will give them a party that will grow in size and stature. Called (City) NBG Fest, in each of our 20 NBG Biking cities, we plan to go in and celebrate each of them with a greatly improved version of this Festival we recently did here in Davis, CA., and similar to the ones we did in Santa Cruz in 2002 and 2003 which were attended by many thousands of people. In terms of additional funding for the NBG effort, in addition to display advertising revenues, as I show in the P&L, booth sales from our Festivals will make for a significant part of the yearly income we foresee.
To get the ball rolling, our 2017 Mayors’ Ride <schedule forthcoming > will be sent off from historic City Hall in Oakland , with a proclamation from Oakland Mayor, Libby Schaaf. Oakland (where I used to live, trained for my first 1979 bike ride across America, have lots of networks and where we have held Mayors’ Rides since 2002) across the bay from San Francisco is where Thomas Stevens first started riding his HiWheel bike to Boston, a population center once filled to the brim with HiWheel bikes and bike clubs and far and away the top bike city in the USA.
Upon leaving Oakland, our journey lands 80 miles later in the two wheel utopia of Davis, CA, which, as the best example of how the bicycle can improve the quality of life of its residents, will, if all goes according to plan soon be the new home of the National Bicycle Greenway. Here, the second annual Davis NBG Fest will take place on Saturday, May 27. At Central Park, just as one of the most widely attended Farmers Markets in the Nation winds down, we will use live music (two bands), festivities, food and speakers to send Mayors’ Ride riders east to Sacramento, Folsom, Reno and beyond.
In 2018, we will add festivals in Sacramento, and Reno
In 2019 we will add festivals in San Jose. San Francisco and Santa Cruz
2020 will be first year of our full national Mayors’ Ride campaign when we add festivals in St Lake City, Washington, DC and the nine NBG Anchor cities between them.
While I am busy getting all of the above set into motion, we need to hire a lawyer or accountant to work with the IRS to reclaim the 501c3 nonprofit status we lost when I was in Ireland raising my little boy. Based on phone call research, the cost for a professional to pay for and process the IRS penalty will come to $1600.
While they are doing their work I will be able to advise park and facility staff as well as prospective advertisers and sponsors that our nonprofit status and taxpayer ID are soon forthcoming. During this time, I will also be busy recruiting riders, fleshing out our Davis festival, coordinating with Mayor’s offices and building and then maintaining our national Mayors’ Ride Schedule.
Since there are so many NBG Anchor cities in California, concurrent with our National Mayors’ Ride to Washington DC, I also plan to do a summer long SF Bay Area Mayors’ Ride. It will include the cities of Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Jose, Palo Alto and San Francisco and Oakland. An East Coast Mayors’ Ride is also in the works to reestablish our visits to Boston, Providence, RI, Bridgeport, CT, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, DC.
Once we get over the IRS filing hump and our 2017 campaign is complete, next Fall, I will initiate a crowdfunding campaign to add staff for 2018 and 2019. After we have proven the power and the strength of this effort, in the fall of 2019 we will begin another round of crowdfunding that will add a dozen new salespeople, an ad agency and NBG Fests in all 20 of of our NBG Anchor Cities.
If you can help us pay the $1600 to get our 501c3 status reactivated:
$50 gets a personalized, hard back copy of my autobiography, “Awake Again”
$100 gets my book package and your name noted as a Partner sponsor at our NBG Hall of Fame
$500 gets my book package and your name noted as a Building (highest ranking) sponsor at our NBG Hall of Fame
THX 4 all of U!!!