Bikes Mean Business: Crafton Tull is now a League of American Bicyclists recognized Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Business (BFBSM)!

We are thrilled to join a cutting-edge group of more than 1,000 local businesses, government agencies, and Fortune 500 companies across the United States that are transforming the American workplace.

“The business community’s investment in bicycling is playing a central role in making the country a safer, happier, and more sustainable place to live and work,” said Amelia Neptune, League Bicycle Friendly Business Program Manager. “We applaud this new round of businesses, including Crafton Tull, for leading the charge in creating a bicycle-friendly America for everyone.”

While there are many reasons obtaining this certification was a priority,

INCREASE WALKING AND CYCLING ACCESSIBILITY

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, although there are more households in the South, the region ranks last when it comes to walking and cycling accessibility. As a company with six offices located in this region, we saw a need to find out how to effect meaningful change in the communities where we live, work, and play. The first step was determining what criteria factor in to the Census Bureau’s scoring system. Among the criteria: Presence of sidewalks, adequately lit sidewalks, presence of bike lanes, and the ability to access grocery stores and other retail outlets by cycling. Next, it was time to use the expertise of the professionals in our Planning Department. It turns out, cities and towns across Oklahoma and Arkansas were eager to adopt master plans to include trails and connectivity that would greatly increase their citizens ability to walk and ride their bikes recreationally and as a means of transportation.

Many U.S. cities are seeing an increase in bicycle commuters, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released today. Nationwide, the number of people who traveled to work by bike increased roughly 60 percent over the last decade, from about 488,000 in 2000 to about 786,000 during the 2008-2012 period. This is the largest percentage increase of all commuting modes tracked by the 2000 Census and the 2008-2012 American Community Survey.

Today the Census Bureau also released a new commuting edition of the interactive map Census Explorer, which gives Web visitors easy click-and-zoom access to commuting statistics for every neighborhood in the U.S. It also shows how commuting has changed since 1990 at the neighborhood, county and state level — including how long it takes to get to work, commutes longer than an hour, and number of bikers. This edition of Census Explorer uses statistics from the American Community Survey, the best national source of commuting statistics down to the neighborhood level.

"In recent years, many communities have taken steps to support more transportation options, such as bicycling and walking," said Brian McKenzie, a Census Bureau sociologist and the report's author. "For example, many cities have invested in bike share programs, bike lanes and more pedestrian-friendly streets."

Talk Business & Politics‘ Kerri Jackson Case asked Event Chair Matt Crafton about the upcoming event.

TB&P: What is the Rogers Cycling Festival? Why combine previous events?

Matt Crafton: We’ve held the Race for the Spike and Frisco 5 Poker Ride over the three previous years. We felt that 1) since the Race for the Spike is only about a 30-minute event, we needed additional road cycling events and 2) with the opening of the new off-road single track trails at Lake Atalanta adjacent to downtown Rogers, there was a unique opportunity to have both road and mountain bike events.

Proceeds from the Race for the Spike and Frisco 5 Poker Ride over the three previous years have been dedicated to supporting the Rogers Community Bike Program. In the spring of 2014, NWA Emerging Leaders used proceeds from these events to purchase 25 new bikes that were placed at trailheads in Rogers for free public use.

This year, our hope is to significantly expand the fundraising efforts so that we may support the Rogers Community Bike Program in a greater way and also support other related efforts to improve cycling and overall wellness in Northwest Arkansas. We will support Pedal It Forward with a share of this year’s proceeds. Pedal It Forward is a non-profit organization that takes donated old, used bikes, tunes them up and provides them to NWA children in need. We will also provide contributions to the Ozark Off Road Cyclists and the Boston Mountain Cyclists clubs in recognition of their volunteers who will help organize and run portions of the festival.

TB&P: Who do you expect to participate?

Crafton: We’re hoping to have lots of competitive road cyclists, mountain bike enthusiasts as well as families with kids. There are events for everyone.

TB&P: Why do you think cycling has become so popular in Northwest Arkansas?

Crafton: This region really has something for everyone when it comes to cycling. The topography offers green hills, unbelievable natural beauty and weather that’s usually not too extreme. There are lots of great road routes in the area where you’ll see single cyclists or large groups. Mountain biking has really taken off, with world-class trails at several local parks. There are also paved trails in the area for more casual riders, including the new Razorback Greenway that links the whole region from Fayetteville to Bella Vista.

TB&P: What are you most excited about with this festival?

Crafton: It’s hard to pick out one thing, but perhaps the most exciting thing is just being able to introduce cycling enthusiasts to all the unique offerings in downtown Rogers – it is a great place. We’re also excited for the local community to come out and see the cycling talent that will be on display at our competitive events. We’re hoping it will be a fun weekend for everyone.

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Find the full list of recognized businesses at http://www.bikeleague.org/sites/default/files/BFB_Full_List_through_Summer_2015_1.pdf

Learn more about the League’s Bicycle Friendly Business program at bikeleague.org/business.