A message from the Chief Bike Fun Officer: It is time for a pause

After a great deal of self-reflection, I have decided to take a pause for 2017 in my Poky Pedaling Stevens Point activity.

My decision means that it is unlikely there will be any Poky Pedals next year. It also means that if I post at all to the PPSP blog over the coming year, such posts will likely be infrequent. The PPSP website, including all past blog posts and other accumulated information, will remain available online.

The pragmatic rationale for my decision stems from a collection of personal issues, several of which have drawn significant amounts of my time and energy over the past few years. In the recent past, these have prompted me to scale back my PPSP activity in hopes I could find a suitable sustainable balance.

Unfortunately, scaling back did not go far enough. As a result, I feel it is best for me at this time to take a pause. This has been a difficult decision, but I am satisfied that it is the right decision for me at this time.

I am not ready to say what may or may not happen beyond 2017. That is for me to consider at a future time.

Fundamentally, PPSP has always been about advocacy, trying to encourage our local leaders to create safe, comfortable, and convenient bicycle infrastructure suitable for use by 8- to 80-year olds. Behind all the Bike Fun shared on our Poky Pedals over the past 5 years, these events have always demonstrated that bicycles are feasible and useful transportation vehicles.

The PPSP blog has provided a voice to document local bicycle transportation news. Such stories were often ignored by other media sources. On the infrequent occasions these stories made local papers, the coverage was often shallow because the author rarely had recent experience with transportation bicycling and had essentially no context of broader bicycle advocacy across the United States within which to frame their coverage.

The PPSP blog provided more complete discussion of the issues relevant to these stories because of my perspective as a daily user of a bicycle for my local transporation (in good weather – I walk otherwise) and because of my daily reading of blogs discussing transportation bicycling in cities all over the United States, not to mention a few beyond our borders.

Over the past year or so, the flow of bikey news reporting on the PPSP blog slowed considerably. There was plenty of local bikey news going on that I wanted to cover. Due to the personal issues I referred to earlier, I just wasn’t able to keep up with the reporting of all this news while also planning, promoting, and participating on Poky Pedals. This was a clear sign to me that I wasn’t finding the sustainable balance I needed to keep PPSP active.

Bicycle culture in the Stevens Point area has moved forward substantially since I first created PPSP in 2012. On the Bike Fun front, Point Area Bicycle Service has offered themed community rides over the past few years, including the wildly successful annual Bicycle Adventure Extravaganza. On the advocacy front, there are now several people who regularly keep bicycle transportation on the minds of local officials at government meetings. Stevens Point has adopted the Portage County Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan and has created a Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee charged with making suggestions on how to implement plan recommendations.

Although I still feel something like PPSP is useful to encourage local leaders to make bicycling better, I am no longer the only voice advocating for bicycling like I felt I was 5 years ago. Given all the other bicycle culture activity taking place locally, my pause in PPSP activity will not leave a void in local efforts to improve bicycling in the Stevens Point area.

Now that winter has finally arrived, I’m walking my errands around town. But once the weather turns warmer and the snow melts away, I’ll once again be using my bicycle for almost all my local transportation needs. Between now and then, my pause in PPSP activity will give me the opportunity to better focus on my personal issues that demand attention.

Regardless of how things proceed beyond that, I look forward to sharing the streets and paths of the Stevens Point area with all Poky Pedalers.

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