For Immediate Release - How the U.S. Bike Movement's David & Goliath Showdown with the National Highway Lobby Led to the Surprising Promise of Bicycling in America

From: Melissa Balmer - Director Pedal  Cell 562.221.9672

Veteran journalist Jay Walljasper shares the critical, but often overlooked story of how the modern American bike movement saved and expanded federal funding not only for bicycling, but walking and public transit too, and set the stage for biking to flourish into the future.

Note: Both print and web resolution images from the book are available upon request


Los Angeles CA /Minneapolis MN- In the summer of 1997 Andy Clarke scribbled a wild but critical idea on a napkin as he headed out to the annual "Thunderhead Retreat". The seminal leadership retreat for biking and walking advocates in Dubois Wyoming, hosted by his friend and colleague Charlie Gandy, was in its second year. Andy knew this was the crowd that could bring his idea to life. His big hairy goal? Ask the bike industry to fund a national political campaign to save and expand federal funding for biking. The national highway lobby was out to gut the 1991 federal transportation bill that boosted biking, walking and public transit—ISTEA. The U.S. bike industry to that point wasn't really involved in promoting biking as transportation . Andy thought it was time to change that.

Jay Walljasper's upcoming book "The Surprising Promise of Bicycling in America" shares the inspiring and often overlooked story of the pivotal success of the Bikes Belong campaign. That victory set the stage for bicycling’s big rise in progressive states and cities today.

In October of this year Walljasper, along with Melissa Balmer of, brought out a free digital report with the same title, funded in part by Bosch eBike Systems North America. The enthusiastic response encouraged them to launch a crowdsourcing campaign to expand the report into a book by March of 2018. The timing is important. May is National Bike Month and June of 2018 marks the 20th anniversary of the passing of the TEA-21 federal transportation Equity Act of the 21st Century.

But the book isn't about looking backward— it's about understanding what worked in the past so we can build on it right now. More importantly, the book’s focus is a diverse array of real-life heroes from across the country who've transformed not only their own lives by bike but are helping others in their communities do the same in surprising and inspiring ways. People like:

  • The late Deb Hubsmith,  founder of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership which has brought millions in funding to communities across the country to make it safer for school children to bike and walk to school.
  • Monica Garrison Founder/Director of Black Girls Do Bike, which has launched 80 bike clubs for women of coloring across the U.S. over the past four years.
  • Elizabeth Kiker and Barb Chamberlain, who combined their two organizations (Washington Bikes and Cascade Bicycle Club) to create the largest state bike advocacy organization in the country.
  • Sarai Snyder Co-Founder of Cyclofemme the U.S. launched but now global movement of Mother’s Day self-guided rides for women is in 270 cities and 18 countries worldwide

The crowdsourcing campaign for the book is running thru January 2, 2018 and can be found here:

The Surprising Promise of Bicycling in America will be published in both print and ebook formats and will be available wholesale and retail as a low-cost tool for those looking to celebrate bicycling today, and to grow it in their communities tomorrow. More details about the book campaign, excerpts from the book, and the free digital report can be found here:

Those interested in interviewing Jay Walljasper, Melissa Balmer, and those profiled in the book can contact  Melissa at cell (562) 221-9672.


About Jay Walljasper

Jay Walljasper is a writer, speaker and consultant focused on vital, equitable, sustainable communities.  He is Senior Fellow at Project for Public Spaces and an Urban-Writer-in-Residence at Augsburg College in Minneapolis.  His books include America’s Walking Renaissance; The Great Neighborhood book: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Placemaking.

He has chronicled the boom in bicycling and walking  since the 1990s in a wide variety of appearances and publications, ranging from Christian Science Monitor to Utne Reader.  He’s also worked with People for Bikes, League of American Bicyclists, Rails to Trails Conservancy, Alta Planning + Design, CEOs for Cities, the Kresge Foundation and Kaiser Permanente. Learn more at

About Pedal Love

Pedal Love offers storytelling, thought leadership and media outreach tools and trainings to help create true culture shift in the U.S. for active, sustainable, mindful mobility. Our focus is elevating the voice and impact of women. Men are always welcome. Learn more: