Today was a good day. As far as a day off goes, it wasn't too terribly relaxing, but a productive day is hard not to enjoy. It started out with pedaling to the Omaha Bikes meeting this morning to catch up with all of the happenings of our local advocacy group. Check out Omaha Bikes! and get involved, dang it.
These meetings happen the 2nd Tuesday of every month and I attend them regularly. It's a public meeting so if you want to know what is going on in and around Omaha in the way of anything bicycle related, this is your chance.
Today's meeting was well attended by the usual crew. I was particularly enthusiastic because I've spearheaded a project involving "Bike Friendly Business" designations. The idea is to approach different businesses that are patronized frequently by cyclists and ask them to recognize and appreciate this fact by providing (most already do) bike racks and a good attitude towards cyclists. Whether this means extending a discount (which a few have agreed to), or having great outdoor seating available, or just being willing to fill a water bottle, as long as they decide that they want to be called bike friendly and make the effort to really do so, we'll put them on the map on the Omaha Bikes website and encourage cyclists to continue to give them business.
So, today before the meeting I went to the new and wonderfully decadent Jones Brothers Cupcakes in Aksarben Village and chatted with owner, Bill Jones, about the idea. He was into it! As I enjoyed my iced coffee I got more and more excited about the potential of this actually working and the enthusiasm spreading across the city. Wouldn't that be swell??! Thanks Bill for agreeing to be our first Bike Friendly Business! I told Omaha Bikes about this and they were of course as excited as I am. We (Omaha Bikes) have created little window decals and I grabbed a few at the meeting. As soon as I left the meeting, I pedaled back over to Jones Bros and gave the decal to Bill who agreed to put it on the front door and offer 10% off to anyone arriving to his fine establishment by bicycle. Enjoy their huge patio, nearby bike rack, and fun atmosphere. Success!!!!! Sweet, cupcakey success.
With a little wind in my sails, and caffeine in my legs, I pedaled down to Wohlner's Grocer and asked to speak to the manager. I had the same conversation and the same response, "Sure, that sounds like a cool idea." 2 door decals later, Wohlner's is officially bike friendly.
Since I felt that I was on a roll (literally and figuratively), I stopped into Blue Planet Natural Grill and had yet another promising discussion. Blue Planet now has an Omaha Bikes door decal that nicely compliments their bike rack, outdoor seating, and a good attitude! They're extending a 10% discount as well to those hungry customers who pedal their way to a naturally delicious meal (or beer!...do I hear handlebar happy hour?). Thanks Blue Planet!!
I'm pretty excited about this finally taking off! Imagine: rolling up on two wheels to a coffee shop, restaurant, bar, book store, etc., and not only being allowed in with your sweaty helmet hair and bugs stuck to your face, but actually feeling appreciated for making the effort to go green and commute by bicycle!!!
SO, if you know of a place that you think would be a good candidate for a Bike Friendly Business designation, let me know!! I can then start the conversation and see where it goes.