Sunday, January 15, 2012

Arlington County Board Candidate Libby Garvey on Cycling

We asked the Democratic Candidates for the Arlington County Board to describe their position on Bike Friendly Arlington, whether they ride a bicycle, and how they see cycling fitting into Arlington's transportation plan.  Here is the response of Libby Garvey.
Thank you for your questions.

I currently am on the board of Phoenix Bikes, an organization that ‘empowers youth to become social entrepreneurs through direct participation in a financially and environmentally sustainable nonprofit bike shop that serves the community.’ I began the Kennan Garvey Memorial Fund in my husband's memory to support Phoenix Bikes. Kennan loved to get children involved in cycling. This spring we will have the first annual Kennan Garvey Memorial ride to help raise money and awareness of PB and cycling in our area. For those of you who haven’t heard about this wonderful organization I encourage you to learn more about it. 

For years, our "second car" was Kennan's bike, which he used to commute to work from the mid 1980's until his death in 2008. Bicycling is how I clear my head and try to keep fit, and it was one of Kennan's gifts to me. 2001 we bought a tandem so we could enjoy cycling together. It was an ideal way to allow us to bike together because he was so much stronger a cyclist than I. As I became stronger, we went faster and took longer rides. I am very familiar with the W&OD, Custis and Mount Vernon trails. We would ride the circuit ride of Arlington pretty much every weekend. Whenever we could find extra time, we'd cycle out the W&OD or C&O Canal trails, down to Mount Vernon or in the Shenandoah. We had wonderful vacations cycling, participating in Bike Virginia almost every year from the time we bought the tandem until his death. We also rode in other areas of the country. I'm perhaps proudest of cycling up Cadillac Mountain in Maine on the tandem. After Kennan's death, I bought my own bike. It's not the same, of course, but cycling continues to be important to my physical and emotional health.

Having cycled many times on roads, including in NY City in the rain for the Triboro ride in 2009, I am acutely aware of how much better it is to cycle on a path committed to cycling and walking rather than on the street with cars. As a member of the County Board I will support cycling and be supportive of efforts to connect trails and create dedicated cycling routes. I know cycling is the primary mode of transportation in many areas of the world. While I doubt we will get to that point in Arlington, we could do more to support biking. The Capital Bikeshare program is a great addition to our transportation system. I am pleased that cycling is part of our physical education curriculum and that we are doing more to encourage students to cycle to school. Kennan was a member of WABA for years and I have continued with my own membership.

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