The mission of the Verde Valley Cyclists Coalition is to improve the bicycling environment and thereby the quality of life in the region. We do this by promoting bicycle safety, education and facilities, and by encouraging use of the bicycle as an energy-efficient, economical and nonpolluting form of transportation and as a healthful and enjoyable form of recreation. As the public voice for cyclists, the VVCC does not discriminate on the basis of age, gender, race, ability, political alignment, type of riding, or mode of transportation one prefers.
Why should I join the VVCC?
That's a good question. Depending on who you are, what you're concerned about, where you ride, the answer is going to be different.
Here are nine common concerns, and some honest answers:
1) Q: "Why do we need a bike coalition in the first place?"
A: Suppose you wanted a bikeway built in your area. You could write a letter to the editor. Maybe go to a city council meeting. You could say, "I want the City of (Cottonwood, Sedona, Cornville, Jerome, Camp Verde, whatever)to construct a bikeway." And the council members would all stand and applaud and the bikeway would be finished in a couple of weeks.... right? Unless you're hopelessly naive, you know that isn't how it works. But when a group of hundreds of taxpaying citizens asks for action, there's a good chance they can get it to happen.
2) Q: "I'm not really that serious. I just got a bike and I want to ride it around. I'm not a pro or anything. Why should I join?"
A: If you're anything like the average person, then the first time you take that new bike for a ride, you may realize that there aren't that many places to ride. Most new riders are afraid of traffic. If you've ever wished that the roads were a little more bicycle-friendly, then you want exactly what we're working for. Most of our members are just regular folks who like to ride their bikes.
3) Q: "I'm not a beginner or a road rider, I'm a hardcore mountain biker. Why should I join?"
A: Our club's founder and chairman, Randy Victory, is a former mountain bike racer and is originally from Marin County. He's seen firsthand how trail access can be taken away, and is committed to forging productive relationships with other user groups. Our organization's primary trail advocate, Ian Wickson, was appalled on a recent visit to the Rocky Ridge Trail up in Flagstaff - the rocks had been removed and the trail had been turned into something he could take his Grandmother down. Our leaders understand the value of technically challenging trails. And they know that sometimes you use the road to ride to those trails.
4) Q: "How do I know that I'm not joining some nutcake organization loaded with bleeding-heart liberals or gun-totin' conservatives?"
A: Actually, our members come from every part of the human spectrum. Male, female, old, young, Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, conservative, liberal, vegetarian, carnivorous, armed, unarmed, roadie, mountain biker, recumbent rider, beginner, expert, big, skinny, tall, short, loud, quiet..... you name it. The one thing we have in common is that we like to ride. The only thing we work for is better conditions for bikes and pedestrians.
5) Q: "I don't even own a bike. I drive my car everywhere. Why should I join?"
A: Uh, so we can talk you into buying a bike!! Okay... just kidding. If you've ever driven down a street with bikes on it and wished that they'd get out of the way, then you may be pleased to know that we are working to create bike-friendly roads with the width and construction that makes sharing the road easy for motorists. Or if you've ever been surprised by a bike suddenly coming towards you at night (wrong way, no lights) or running a stop sign right in front of you, then you might find it encouraging that we're committed to educating cyclists. Most bicyclists don't break the rules because they're scofflaws, heck, they don't even know what the rules are in the first place! And for you busy parents, imagine a bike/pedestrian-friendly community that would free you from your daily role as chauffeur! About 6% of our membership are motorists who do not ride at all!
6) Q: "I'd join but it will take up lots of time."
A: No, it really won't. Most members just join and that's it. About 20% are really, really active. The rest simply add their collective voices to everyone else's, so that progress can be made.
7) Q: "If I join, you will send me lots of junk mail, telephone me endlessly, and put me on every spam e-mail list in the country."
A: No, not really. We don't send out much snail mail, it's too expensive. And no one in this Coalition has the time to make hundreds of calls. OK, we DO send out about 20 e-mail updates a year, mostly to let folks know if there are rides happening or stuff like that, but your e-mail address is kept confidential. In fact, all information is kept confidential. Our leaders, it turns out, are even more afraid of telemarketers and the Government than they are of heavily trafficked roads or rock-strewn trails.
8) Q: "You know, I'm an experienced road-biker who's been riding around here for years. This sounds okay, but it's not for me."
A: If you're 'an experienced road-biker who's been riding around here for years' then when was the last time someone yelled "Get Off The Road", or threw a cup of ice at you (except for last July... that would've been okay). An infrastructure that accommodates bikes can reduce the amount of friction between road users. A simple stripe down the road tells motorists that we have a place here, and reminds them to be a little more aware.
9) Q: "I'm not a joiner."
A: Actually, by default, you've already joined the huge numbers of Americans who don't really care. Here's a chance to reverse that, and at a local level to boot! As has often been said, "If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice."