Annually, LMB recognizes bicyclists across the state that embody the mission of the LMB in our work to promote and advance Michigan bicycling. LMB is proud to award six individuals and one organization this year. We thank our membership for all of your wonderful nominations of so many deserving bicyclists.
On May 23, during the luncheon for Advocacy Day, LMB honored the 2012 winners in the following categories:
Michael Unsworth (Lansing)
Michael Unsworth is a tireless advocate for good transportation policy, serving on dozens of committees at Michigan State University, in the Mid-Michigan region and helping to form and lead the Mid-Michigan Active Transportation Coalition. Having advocated for Complete Streets in both Lansing and East Lansing, Michael is now spearheading an initiative to advance a Complete Streets Ordinance in Meridian Township. Michael has also recently initiated a wonderfully positive and engaging social media campaign called "Operation Soft Serve" to encourage local ice cream parlors to install bicycle parking. He's been a vocal and regular participant in LMB's Advocacy Day over the years.
Kathy Vonk (Ann Arbor)
Since 1993 Kathy has been a certified police cyclist, International Police Mountain Bike Association (IPMBA), Certified Police Cyclist Instructor (PCI), and a certified League of American Bicyclist (LAB) Instructor (LCI). In 2004 she consulted with and wrote the "Model Policy" and "Concepts and Issues" publication for the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) regarding police mountain bike patrol. She teaches courses annually for local police bike patrols in Michigan. A story about these trainings was recently featured in LMB's April 2012 issue of the Michigan Bicyclist Magazine. Kathy continues to stay active in LMB, serving on our Education Committee.
LMB Volunteer Award
Anne Balenger (Alpena)
Anne was the founder of LMB's Sunrise Bicycle Adventure. She served as Tour Director from 2007 through 2011, during the tour's stint in Rogers City. She was instrumental in not only organizing the event, but also working with local government and business officials to support the tour. Her charming personality and upbeat attitude make her an outstanding ambassador for bicycling and LMB. She continues to work with local organizations to promote both bicycling and the "Sunrise Side" of the state.
Community Support for Bicycling
Greater Grand Rapids Bicycling Coalition
The GGRBC was loosely formed in 2008 by cycling champions involved in the Green Grand Rapids planning. It applied for and received a Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Community designation from LAB for Grand Rapids (2009). It's held two successful GR Bike Summits (2009, 2011); hosted three successful Bikestock bicycle and music festivals (2009, 2010, 2011); successfully advocated for the City of GR to pass a Complete Streets Resolution (2011); revised and updated the Bike GR map (2011); further developed partnerships and relationships with bicycling groups, clubs and city officials; conducted GR's first bicycle count/survey (2011); created a Bicycle Friendly Employer program (2011); launched its own website (2011); launched a bicycle safety education program to area elementary schools (2012); Enhanced its Bike to Work Week and renamed it Active Commute Week (2012); and continues to advocate for Complete Streets and improved bicycle infrastructure with board members sitting on key local task forces and through its advocacy campaign.
Distinguished Service to LMB
Bill Duemling (Clinton Township)
Bill was LMB's first webmaster and hosted the LMB website on his company's server since the site was established over 15 years ago. He is responsible for LMB having a coveted three letter domain name -- LMB.org -- when he secured it in 1997. Over the years, Bill has served as a LMB tour volunteer and participant. He is a past member of the LMB Board of Directors and served as Vice Chair and Treasurer during his tenure on the Board. He also created and maintained MichBike, a forum for Michigan bicyclists to discuss bicycling related topics. He has been especially helpful to staff on web related issues, a true behind the scenes hero to the organization.
In addition to these well deserving recipients, LMB is excited to announce two new awards named in honor of two great advocates of cycling. The Ralph Finneren Encouragement Award is named for Ralph Finneren, an avid cyclist who tragically was killed last year when he was struck by a motorist while riding his bike. Before his death, Ralph spent his life riding and encouraging anyone he met along the way to join him. Ralph lived what he taught, and LMB honors him, by naming this award after him.
The second new award is The Bob Gibbs Passion for Pedaling Award. Bob has spent his entire life on his bike, and his accomplishments are detailed below, as the inaugural recipient of this award. Bob's genuine passion for cycling has inspired many to ride, and therefore we are pleased to recognize him with his own award.
Ralph Finneren Encouragement Award
Steve Kinley, Inaugural Winner (Lake Orion)
Steve founded and maintains the Michigan Scholastic Cycling Association (MiSCA), which provides unique and inspiring opportunities to bring competitive cycling to high school, and soon to be middle school students. He has been instrumental in helping over a dozen schools start mountain biking programs. Additionally, he organizes numerous races, including two state championships for the MiSCA league. As a component of the annual championship race, MiSCA offers scholarships to the top boy and girl racers, which Steve helped to fund through his solicitations of individuals, local bike shops and corporate sponsors.
Bob Gibbs Passion for Pedaling Award
Bob Gibbs, Inaugural Winner (Okemos)
Bob Gibbs (94) is a lifelong transportation and recreational cyclist who's well known for riding his bike to the start of bike tours - many times with his pet beagle riding shotgun. In previous decades he and his late wife Mary enjoyed riding all over town (and entertaining onlookers) on one of their tandems, again with a beagle in tow. Bob has amassed well over 200,000 miles in his 80+ years of cycling, most of them while simply riding to work on his 1 speed Hawthorne. As a year around commuter he tells stories of traveling Grand River Ave. in a blizzard and actually passing other automobile traffic.
LMB looks forward to next year's award nominations and being able to honor a new set of great advocates. Once again, we congratulate our 2012 recipients and sincerely thank them all for all of their dedication to making Michigan a more bicycle-friendly state.