The Low Road


A cycling community is born

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PART V: Changing Lanes

Elm City Cycling continues to organize tours; this year it will play a lead role in organizing BikeSummer 2007, a celebration of cycling held in different cities across the nation each year. Members also continue to lobby local and state government for improved conditions for cyclists, and advocate for cycling safety.

Lewinnek left New Haven in 2005; now 33, she lives outside San Diego and works as an assistant professor of American studies at California State University at Fullerton. She notes that the group never had much of a formal hierarchy, and members including Bill Kurtz, Rob Rocke, David Streever, Matt Feiner and others happily filled the void after she left.

The trick, Lewinnek said, is keeping it fun.

“I remember when Bill Kurtz came to his first Critical Mass, he brought kazoos and cupcakes,” Lewinnek recalls. “There’s room for people to do that.”

She says the group’s success stems from its ability to seek positive solutions to problems, rather than simply complain about them or lay blame.

“There’s times when Elm City Cycling risks being aggressive. It can be an endless whine-fest,” she says. “Figuring out how to change the whining to celebrating the joy of cycling is figuring out how to talk to the right people.”

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