Every Ride Begins with a Stroke of the Pedal

Earlier this month we celebrated the release of Cycling Sojourner Washington, our tour guidebook highlighting nine of the most gorgeous multi-day bike trips in Washington. The first such book in over a decade, it’s receiving rave reviews and being distributed internationally; royalties support our advocacy. (To get a copy if you don’t already have one, ask your local bookstore to carry it or shop online at WAbikes.org.)

Local leaders are telling us our bike travel initiative will bring new life to bicycling in all corners of the state, generating better bike paths and connections, community and business enthusiasm for bicycling, and economic development. When our towns become more bike-friendly to draw visitors, they’re more bike-friendly for the people who live and ride there every day!

Volunteer and Washington Bikes board member Marie Dymkoski understands this concept—bike travel brings prosperity and community investment in biking—very well. A long-time bicycle rider, she brings a steady hand and a fresh perspective to her job as Executive Director of the Pullman Chamber of Commerce. Marie sits on the Pullman city task force charged with increasing bike parking around town.

Marie and friends get ready for bike adventure

Marie and friends get ready for bike adventure

“As a lifetime rider, I noticed that it was more difficult to ride around the Pullman area when I first moved here 26 years ago, and my riding suffered because of it. The last couple of years, friends started riding the lovely Chipman Trail, but I wanted more. I noticed more and more people in the area were commuting and even using bicycles as their main mode of travel. I want to help educate motorists about bicycle travel and help keep our cyclists safe along with keeping their bike and belongings safe.”

For Marie, the impact of our work is essential for leading the state into greater bike-friendly territory. When WA Bikes came to Pullman in 2013 to meet with local advocates and leaders, she expressed her interest and support. Her service to the local community dovetailed with our statewide mission.

Marie and friend Heidi at STP 2013.

Marie and friend Heidi at STP 2013.

“I like to start small while always looking at the larger picture.  In my community, we start by talking and making incremental changes that in the end will lead to the broader, comprehensive vision of cyclists commuting regularly, bicycle tourism growing, and local businesses accepting and greeting people riding bikes with open arms.

“WSU and Pullman have been voted #1 in many surveys including Pullman’s ranking as best place in Washington to raise a family. I believe that it’s my opportunity to lead a group of like-minded individuals to educate the non-cyclist and help our community leaders understand the needs of the recreational and commuter bicyclists. By helping to spread the word and work to solve problems, we can continue to grow bicycling in Pullman and in Washington as a whole.”

Marie’s commitment to growing bicycle-related tourism, expanding bicycle parking, improving connections, and highlighting safe routes to pedal grows out of her lifetime love affair with the bicycle. Her volunteer engagement is her way of passing that joy of bicycling on to others and ensuring that local success contributes to the state’s biking assets. Marie is paying it forward locally with her hands-on involvement and across the state with her generous support of Washington Bikes.

For 27 years, Washington Bikes has built a reputation for leadership on a host of local and statewide initiatives. Our new work in bike travel and the support it’s drawing from unexpected corners of the state are helping us build on that track record. With your support, WA Bikes will:

  • Bring the benefits of bike travel to more communities across Washington;
  • Help towns understand how to invite and welcome people who bicycle (residents and visitors alike);
  • Create travel information by bicyclists, for bicyclists;
  • Tell business and community success stories to inspire others to become more bike-friendly;
  • Bottom line: WA Bikes will take those stories to the legislature to increase investments in better bike connections.

Our work is good for the health and happiness of people who bike, good for business, good for your hometown. That’s a winning message we can carry to the Legislature to work toward our policy goals.

With your help we can keep connecting with local leaders and advocates like Marie Dymkoski. Working with WA Bikes as her link to statewide bike advocacy, Marie and others can continue to build better bicycling at the local level while inspiring their counterparts across the state. And all of us will have the chance to ride safely across town and across our beautiful state.

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