Give the Gift of Biking

October 27, 2020 • Transportation

One alternative to racing through the aisles on Black Friday this holiday season is participating in Giving Tuesday or Green Friday. Better yet: combine them. By generously supporting nonprofits that aim to get more people on bikes, you’ll help your community and the planet be healthier. What a win-win!

Here are ways to support biking in your community and beyond.

Bicycle Advocacy Organizations

Bicycle coalitions are scrappy but powerful when it comes to providing safe and pleasant biking experiences. See below for the list of local, state, and national advocacy organizations worth supporting.

The Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition: The SVBC is Palo Alto’s local bicycle coalition serving San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. Its overarching goal: have 10% of regional trips taken by bicycle by 2025. This year alone the SVBC accomplished some amazing feats, like a groundbreaking survey on bicycle travel behavior in Silicon Valley and the adoption of Sunnyvale’s Active Transportation Plan. The SVBC also brings free bike education to the community and organizes bicycling incentives and challenges — most recently, the Valley Water Great Sign Hunt.

San Francisco Bicycle Coalition: The SFBC fights hard for bicycle infrastructure throughout the city — the most recent visible example is the “fast bike lane” on Fell Street. It’s also responsible for Light up the Night (an annual bike light distribution campaign), free community bicycle education, and a whole host of other resources, including a library of helpful bike how-to's.

Bike East Bay: Bike East Bay works on lots of bike infrastructure projects. Its most ambitious: a campaign to “Bridge the Bay,” making Marin County, the East Bay, and San Francisco accessible to cyclists who want to ride on bridges. Additionally, the organization was instrumental in getting transportation officials to allow bikes on BART trains at all hours of the day (insead of off-peak times - inconvenient to commuters).

CalBike: California’s statewide bicycle coalition strives to get bicycle-friendly politicians into office and lobbies our elected leaders to support biking. CalBike was responsible for relaxing restrictions on electric bicycles, mentoring young activists, and building alliances with grassroots and community organizations. Peep at CalBike’s 2021 agenda for a rundown of future plans.

The League of American Bicyclists: The League is almost as old as the bicycle itself. It began in 1880 as a collection of more than 100,000 “wheelmen” from across the U.S., advocating for paved roads. Now, the League’s advocacy efforts span the spectrum, from lobbying Congress to fund bicycle improvements to helping local advocates win campaigns for bike-friendly policies. The org’s standout program is called Bicycle-Friendly America, which grants “bicycle friendly business” (BFB) designations to communities, universities, and businesses. In fact, Stanford was the first university to achieve BFB “Platinum” status, and several businesses in the Research Park have BFB designations, including the SRPGO program itself!

PeopleForBikes: P4B is a hybrid organization — part industry coalition of bicycling suppliers and retailers and part charitable foundation. Its overarching focus is to make every bike ride safer, easier to access, and more fun. P4B does political work, including lobbying on Capitol Hill. It also provides community grants for bike projects, and even developed an app to help connect cyclists with bike routes in their area. Additionally, P4B is the defacto repository for bike statistics -- super helpful for transportation professionals like us!

Other Bicycle Nonprofits and Organizations

We asked the Bikes Make Life Better staff for their favorite bicycle nonprofits and charitable organizations. Here’s what they said:

Rails to Trails - Bay Area: There’s no place like car-free bike trails. In a survey of Silicon Valley residents, 50% said that riding alongside cars was stressful, and close to 90% were comfortable riding on an off-street bike path. That’s why supporting a local offshoot of Rails to Trails, a national organization that implements bike and pedestrian paths, is so important. The Bay Area Trails Collaborative is working to create a 2,700-mile regional trail network that will connect the San Francisco Bay Area. The project includes complete and in-progress trails — like the 500-mile San Francisco Bay Trail project, the 550-mile Bay Area Ridge Trail project (along the ridgelines), and the massive 1,200-mile California Coastal Trail.

BORP Adaptive Cycling Center: Biking is for everyone, and BORP strives for this everyday. The org’s mission is to advance the lives of people with physical disabilities through sports and recreational activities. As such, BORP runs the Adaptive Cycling Center in Berkeley that offers a donation-based bicycle rental program tailored to people with physical disabilities.

The Silicon Valley Bicycle Exchange: BikeEx takes donated bicycles, fixes them with a cadre of volunteers, and then gifts them to the community. Education is a huge part of BikeEx’s mission, and since 1993, hundreds of volunteers have learned bicycle repair skills while refurbishing bikes to donate to charity.

Cycles of Change: This community organization provides bike safety education, adventure rides, bicycle restoration workshops, and environmental science programs for hundreds of East Bay youth at school sites and community centers in Oakland, Berkeley, and Alameda. In 2009, Cycles of Change started The Bikery, a community bike shop that offers used bikes for sale, full service repairs, earn-a-bike programs for youth, and an adult commuter program.

Rich City Rides: A community bike/skate shop in Richmond that offers youth engagement programs, like an Earn-A-Bike — where nearly 400 kids have learned to build their own bikes they get to keep (along with helmets and lights); Grab-and-Go meals for the community; trash pick-up rides through Richmond; and … tons more. The overall mission is to create opportunities for the most vulnerable members of society by using cycling to improve health, economic stability, and individual and collective capacity.

Do you have a favorite bicycle nonprofit not listed above? Drop us a line at: We’d love to hear from you!

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