At our Annual Lucinda Means Bicycle Advocacy Day, LMB recognizes individuals and organizations who do significant work in promoting bicycling and bicycle safety in Michigan. We present these leaders with a LMB Annual Award. The awards feature the artwork of Lansing-based artist Christopher Russel and were presented during a lunchtime ceremony on May 25th.
Rick Oberle: Jim Dougherty Distinguished Service Award
Rick first become involved with LMB shortly after meeting Lucinda Means and becoming indoctrinated with her with her "Leadership by Example" ethos. Upon Lucinda's untimely passing, Rick "put his finger in the dyke" and stepped in as the Interim Executive Director of LMB. He was instrumental in keeping operations moving during that difficult time, while still introducing new ideas and approaches to the organization. Since then, Rick has continued to contribute to LMB's office by maintaining administration of our electronic databases. Rick's contributions to bicycling events are abundant. Helping to grow the Lansing Ride of Silence and helping to found the Michigan Chapter of the Rails to Trails Conservancy (now the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance) are just two of many more examples of his contributions. We are pleased to recognize him with the Jim Dougherty Distinguished Service Award.
Michael Reuter: Bicycle Advocate Award
Michael Reuter is the CEO of American Cycle and Fitness (ACF), Michigan's largest independent bicycle retailer. Michael is a dedicated regular participant in Bicycle Advocacy Day as well as the League of American Bicyclists' National Bike Summit in Washington DC. He advocates for the cycling community at both events, seeking to encourage legislators to support more bicycle friendly policies. ACF has helped to promote cycling throughout the state with its support for local events and through the service and knowledge they share with every customer. Additionally, ACF donates trade-in bicycles that do not sell from their outlet store to The Hub of Detroit. Michael's dedication to bicycle advocacy stems from his concerns about the safety of children cycling in his community, including his own, and he approaches every day with the hope of making his community more bicycle-friendly for them. LMB appreciates his commitment and his Bicycle Advocate Award is duly deserved.
Back Alley Bikes: Community Support for Bicycling Award
Back Alley Bikes is a non-profit community bike shop that has been serving the Detroit area for 15 years and is largely funded by The Hub of Detroit. With a focus on youth development, sustainable practices, and community access, the mission of Back Alley Bikes is to provide cycling education and services. Their signature program is Earn-a-Bike, in which youth ages 10-18 choose a bike and learn to rebuild it from tire inflation to bottom brackets. After completing an on-road safety ride training, the children are allowed to take the bike home. This program is free for participants, and includes a lock and a helmet upon completion. Back Alley Bikes works to invigorate its community with a thriving bike culture. The Community Support for Bicycling Award recognizes their important work.
Yvonne Rucker: Bicycle Educator Award
Yvonne is the Executive Director and Founder of BikeVON, a non-profit organization created to promote bike awareness, affordability, and accessibility for the youth of color in the Metro Detroit area. BikeVON teaches the laws and rules of smart cycling while showing communities how to support bicyclists. The organization also represents the League of American Bicycling's Equity Initiative, which "seeks to engage leaders from traditionally underrepresented demographics and bridge the current gap between diverse communities and bicycle advocates." Through her work with BikeVON, Yvonne empowers youth of color in Detroit in the movement to create safer roads, stronger communities, and a bicycle-friendly Detroit.Yvonne even engaged a group of young students in our Bicycle Advocacy Day, giving them the opportunity to learn and interact with their lawmakers. Yvonne epitomizes the spirit of the Bicycle Educator Award and deserves recognition for the impact she makes in the lives of Detroit's children.
Rick Plite: Ralph Finneren Encouragement Award
Rick works to promote the world of bicycling races. His business, KissCross Events, puts on the Barry Roubaix, Lumberjack, and a number of cyclocross races. These great events make bike races a lot of fun for the participants and for spectators. The races increase bicycle tourism and have turned otherwise quiet communities into a community that embraces bicyclists. Rick has worked with the City of Hastings, the Hastings Downtown Development Authority, and the Barry County Road Commission to have permanent route marking signs installed for the Barry-Roubaix courses in an effort to expand the interest in bicycling in the area beyond the spring and summer seasons. Rick goes above and beyond as a race promoter: he gets people riding and encourages many who might not consider racing to give it a try. Thanks to his encouragement and promotion, many new people have come around to the bicycling community. We salute this with the Ralph Finneren Encouragement Award.
Luanne St. Peter, Ed St. Peter, Suzy McCain: Volunteers of the Year
LMB is extremely grateful for all the wonderful volunteers who give their time to our bicycle events and tours. Last year, When major storms rendered the planned route for Shoreline West impassable and dangerous, Ed, Luanne, and Suzy worked hard to re-route the riders to ensure their safety, even clearing the road of debris when routes became blocked. Many cyclists sign up for Shoreline West because of the beautiful scenery we plan along the route/ Luanne, Ed, and Suzy made sure the new route was as beautiful as the cyclists had hoped to ensure a memorable experience. We are pleased to name all three of them our Volunteers on the Year.
Ed and Luanne St. Peter first became involved with LMB in 2008 as volunteer route markers. Luanne takes on the task with diligence, undertaking a responsibility to keep the riders safe as many of them rely solely on the road markers rather than maps to find their way. Ed began volunteering with LMB as a way of being able to spend quality time with Luanne. As a team, they mark the roads for LMB's Shoreline West and Pedal and Paddle Tours. Luanne has also expanded her volunteer responsibilities to include helping to welcome and register riders.
Suzy McCain began biking in 1995 and was hooked. She developed a passion for long distance cycling and has ridden in over 70 centuries. After a serious bicycling crash in 1998, Suzy was forced to cut back riding and began volunteering with LMB to stay involved in the world of cycling. She drove the "SAG" for several years on LMB's Bowtie until it ended, moved on to do the same for one year on MUP, then started driving SAG on the Shoreline West. In 2004, after the birth of her granddaughter Chloe, Suzy switched to role of Site Director so that Chloe could begin joining her on the rides. Since then, Suzy has acted as Site Director for the Shoreline West, with Chloe at her side.