Ithaca, centrally located in the middle of the beautiful Finger Lakes, is a hotbed of active bicycling and advocacy. Home to Cornell University, Ithaca College, and a host of dynamic businesses big and small, Ithaca is a very special place that attracts many very special people.
One special person at the epicenter of the bicycling movement in Ithaca is Vikki Armstrong, an energetic, hard-working bicycling advocate who can be found at every bicycle-related event in town. Vikki is the director of Bike Walk Tompkins, an organization dedicated to improving active transportation options in Ithaca and its surrounding communities.
When I told Vikki I wanted to interview her about the great things she was accomplishing for Ithaca bicyclists, she was very quick to say this: “What is going on in Ithaca is not about me; it’s about many people, all working together to accomplish a common goal of making it easier, safer and healthier to get around Ithaca. Together we do pretty cool things.”
And that, in a nutshell, explains why Ithaca advocacy works: total collaboration, where no one is worried about taking credit for or declaring turf wars over the many different elements of the local bike movement.
Bike Walk Tompkins plays nice with the road riders at the Finger Lakes Cycling Club, who play nice with the mountain bikers at Cycle-CNY, who play nice with the great folks at RIBS (Recycle Ithaca’s Bicycles).
All of these groups are united in the common cause of working together to improve bicycling in Upstate NY. And that collaboration really works, which is reflected in the success of so many cool cycling initiatives in Ithaca:
The beautiful Cayuga Waterfront Trail.
The Black Diamond Trail. As Vikki says about the Black Diamond Trail, her favorite local ride: “It’s my sanity ride. … In just a few miles, it feels like you are way out of town with beautiful scenery and waterfalls.”
Ithaca Bike Champions — bicycle ambassadors paid to share their love of bicycling in the community.
Streets Alive! — a festive party in the streets.
Vikki encourages anyone interested in bicycling in the Ithaca or Finger Lakes area to reach out to the friendly folks at Bike Walk Tompkins or the Finger Lakes Cycling Club to answer any questions you might have about cycling in the area.
Thank you for reading,
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