Biking group looks to make impact in community

While the group may not have an official name and a mission statement is still in the works, the group that is currently known as the Cottage Grove Bike Committee does have a guiding principle.

“It sounds corny, but just get out there and ride. That’s what we want,” said Justin Watt one of the leaders of the group.

Last Thursday night the group met at the Healing Matrix to discuss how they will move forward as a positive force in the community. While just a handful first got together last year, the group has begun to expand in the last two months.

“We met early last spring and we started just kicking the can around like who we were, our interests and what we would want to do with a bike committee,” said Watt. “And we tried to do like, what everybody wanted at the same time and I think the speed bump we were really running into was there was five of us trying to do a lot of stuff.”

With 14 members at the meeting, and some who couldn’t make it, Watt believes that the size of the group now allows individuals to focus on what they are most passionate about so that they can accomplish more of their goals as a group.

“That’s what I love about the subcommittees, if people don’t want to show up to talk about governance and mission statements, they just want to ride bikes, I mean there is a group for that. Any level of participation is what we want,” said Watt.

The different subcommittees included topics ranging from bike tourism to support of the Row River Trail.

“The nice thing about the group is that it’s a lot of people who didn’t know each other and came together for a common interest,” said Jim Harrison who has been working with the group from the start. “And seemed to have tonight identify things that people want to work on so we left with direction and hopefully some quick wins. So it’s promising to get a group that we hope will get even bigger in participation.”

After the recent death of a 13-year-old who was struck by a car on his bike on Hwy. 99, there was a heightened interest in bike safety for the group.

“That event that happened, that was one of my former students actually. I was really devastated by that,” said Watt who teaches gardening at Lincoln Middle School. “It was awful. Couldn’t have happened to a more wonderful kid. He really was amazing.”

Doug Lyda, a firefighter for South Lane Fire and Rescue (SLFR), attended the meeting not because he is interested in biking but because he is working to raise money to give bike lights to students around South Lane. Lyda’s goal for SLFR is to raise $15,000 and the group has already raised $6,000. The lights that they would be giving out are LED lights that are USB rechargeable and going to be around $60 each.

In addition to bike safety, the group is also focused on being present in the community. One way this has manifested itself is that the group received funding from the city for a bike maintenance station that will b e installed on the Row River Trail. It has not been decided where or when this installation will take place.

To learn more about upcoming meetings or rides, contact [email protected]

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