Archive for the 'Inspiring' Category

Where to Ride in Kansas 2015

14-15-KS-bike-mapA new year has begun and maybe as a part of your 2015 plans you are trying to plan where to ride this year.

Here’s something that will help.  The 2014-2015 Kansas Bicycle Map is free to download from the Kansas Department of Transportation.

Another handy page is their city biking maps download page.


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Bike MS – Kansas Day One Ride Overnights in Lawrence’s South Park Saturday 9/13

bikelogoBike MS passes through the Kansas City Metro into the back roads of Kansas’ finest countryside. The routes include fully-stocked rest stops every 10-15 miles, a great lunch stop each day and safety provided by volunteer EMT’s, HAM radio operators, the police department and bicycle repair from their partner bike shops.

The ride will conclude the day at South Park in Lawrence, KS, where riders and local bikers will be treated to a fun Gears & Grooves Festival featuring musical entertainment, food and Boulevard beer. Everyone will be up early on Sunday for a pancake breakfast by Chris Cakes and back out on the road to Olathe, KS for a finish line celebration.

More info about the ride at

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A Huge Win For Biking In Lawrence: Sunflower Foundation Awards Grand To Develop Community Trails

Sunflower Foundation

Thanks to a grant from the Sunflower Foundation Lawrence residents soon have an ADA friendly path in Burcham park.

The Sunflower Foundation Board of Trustees has awarded $290,879 to seven communities and one school district to build new public trails or enhance existing ones.

“It’s a pleasure to grow the Sunflower Trails family, creating more and more outdoor space for communities to share,” said Billie Hall, President and CEO of the Sunflower Foundation.

“What started as a way to help communities enhance their built environment has evolved over ten years into a dynamic way to engage people around health and wellness,” Hall said. “Each project reflects its unique community, and it’s exciting to see the creative ways each trail is used.”

So far, the program has helped fund more than 125 trail projects across the state. You can find Sunflower Trails near you with this trail finder:

Lawrence is one of the recipients where a popular footpath along the Kansas River in Douglas County will soon be much more accessible thanks to this community driven project. The city plans to open the new 10 foot wide, ADA friendly trail by spring of 2015. The improved trail — located in Lawrence’s Burcham Park — will connect several existing trails, including a recently completed one behind Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center.

Other recipients include:

  • City of Derby – Madison Avenue Central Park
  • City of Roeland Park Volunteers in Roeland Park are working to restore an urban green space called “R Park.”
  • Riley County The Riley County Parks Department is creating new green space for the people of Manhattan to enjoy.
  • City of Conway Springs Conway Springs in Sumner County plans to build its first community trail this fall.
  • City of Paola This seven-mile trail will encircle Lake Miola just outside of town.
  • City of Tonganoxie The popular Chieftain Trail in Tonganoxie will be enhanced.
  • USD #233 Olathe Public Schools Sunnyside Elementary School will build a ¼Zmile asphalt trail loop just inside the school yard.

Since its inception in 2005, the Sunflower Trails program has helped more than 125 trail projects in more than 45 Kansas counties. For additional information about the Sunflower Trails program, please contact Sunflower Trails program officer at Elizabeth Stewart or (785) 232Z3000.

The mission of the Sunflower Foundation is to serve as a catalyst for improving the health of Kansans, which it supports through a program of grants and related activities. Further details about the foundation’s programs and grants are available at

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Live Well Lawrence Celebrates 5 Years!

October 15, 2013
4:30 pmto6:30 pm

LiveWell_flyer2You are cordially invited to the fifth anniversary celebration of LiveWell Lawrence. The celebration will be from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15, at Abe and Jake’s Landing, 8 E. Sixth St., in downtown Lawrence.

LiveWell Lawrence is a coalition of more than 100 community members who are working together to make it easier for Douglas County residents to eat healthy foods, be physically active and live tobacco free.

The celebration’s program begins at 5:15 p.m. and will include:

  • Welcome — Hank Booth
  • Bringing the vision of LiveWell to life — Marilyn Hull, of Douglas County Community Foundation
  • LiveWell, today and tomorrow — Cindy Johnson, chair of LiveWell Lawrence
  • LiveWell, a state leader — Jeff Usher, of Kansas Health Foundation, and Robert Moser, MD, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment
  • Community impact — Douglas County Commissioner Mike Gaughan and Lawrence Mayor Michael Dever
  • Special recognition of Marilyn Hull

We hope you can attend the event and celebrate our community’s successes, which include passage of a Complete Streets Policy in Lawrence, adoption of school marathon clubs and school gardens, and establishment of WorkWell Lawrence, a network of employers who are working together to create a culture of health in the workplace.

There will be free food and beverages along with information booths about community activities ranging from school gardens and bicycling to workplace wellness and transportation planning. It’s a great opportunity to network and learn about LiveWell!

Lawrence Central Rotary and Ride Lawrence will be set up with information about local biking and other exciting giveaways!

RSVP on Facebook here.

Help us promote the celebration. Download and share the event flyer here.

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Kansas University Professor’s Bamboo Bikes Propel Alabama Job Creation!

Below is a repost from the KU news site.  The original link is:


University of Kansas Design Professor Lance Rake’s interests — first in bicycles, then in bamboo — have taken him all over the world. But his quest was not just to create a better bike, but also to create jobs for the people in a small Alabama town.

“I’m interested in products that provide opportunities for craft-base jobs that can be self-sustaining,” Rake said. “I want to help people make things consumers want that can be sold at a high enough margin that families could actually be supported with them.”

The first product to come out of his effort is the Semester Bike, a unique high-end bicycle of bamboo, carbon fiber and steel, which can be constructed by craftspeople in Greensboro, Ala.

The journey has been circuitous one. In the summer of 2011 Rake, who teaches industrial design, found himself experimenting with bamboo while working at HERObike, a nonprofit bike shop in Greensboro. The shop is one of a number of businesses opened by the Hale Empowerment and Revitalization Organization, or HERO. It is a community development organization dedicated to ending rural poverty in areas in and around Hale County, where Greensboro is located.

That bike shop was started with the help of John Bielenberg, a Maine-based graphic designer whose Project M helps nonprofits create new businesses. Bielenberg was a 2010 KU Hallmark Design Symposium speaker whose presentation and love for bikes initially interested Rake in HERObike.

When Rake arrived at the shop, workers were already building bike frames from locally harvested bamboo, which is an abundant but untapped resource in the region. However, the material was being used just as it came from the forest. The finished products were sometimes humorously referred to as “‘Gilligan’s Island’ bikes” for their pleasing but somewhat unsophisticated appearance.

Rake was inspired by the idea of using bamboo, but as is the tendency of industrial designers he soon began looking for a better way. “I started thinking about how we could split and plane it to construct tubes that would be more like a traditional bamboo fly rod,” he said. “We would glue pieces together to form hexagonal tubes. These could be stronger, lighter and shock-resistant. From an engineering standpoint, the material could be made into lots of products besides bikes.”

Rake brought a truckload of bamboo back to Lawrence and spent the next year building projects and began experimenting with ways refining the bamboo and putting carbon fiber inside tubes he constructed from it.

In the fall of 2012 he took a sabbatical semester at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. Here, he gained more skill working with the plant’s grasslike fibers. And, he studied the way IIT professors introduced high design to craft workers who traditionally produced commodity goods.

Upon his return, he finished two Semester Bike prototypes and debuted them at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Denver in February. “Everybody loved them,” he said.

With that success under his belt in late May, Rake and design department interim chair and associate professor Andrea Herstowski took six students to Greensboro for three weeks to work with the staff of HERObike. Four of them were industrial design students, one was an architecture student, and another came from engineering.

Rake required his students to build complete bikes in 72 hours in a series of rapid-prototyping sessions. This allowed them to quickly refine methods for manufacturing the bikes. Since Rake released photos to the industrial design media the products have captured the attention of a number of industrial design websites like and

For Pam Dorr, executive director of HERO, the Semester Bike represents hope for an economically depressed region. “For the last 30 years this area has had an out-migration of skilled workers. Those that are able to work leave for places where work is plentiful. New employment opportunities are scarce,” she said.

“HERObike’s new model, ‘The Semester’ gives tangible proof that our community can use what it has to make new opportunities for ourselves, without waiting for a business from somewhere else to come. Initially, we expect to hire four new positions for HERObike, and as we begin to market the new bike, there will be additional jobs.”

Right now ongoing manufacture of the Semester Bike is in startup mode. A successful Kickstarter campaign raised money for tools, training and bicycle components. Rake has applied for several patents, and, if they are granted, will donate them to HERO.

“Bamboo just happened to me,” said Rake. “It isn’t an obsession. I see the future in design, and that’s what we teach in the design department. Small businesses making stuff on a small scale need a really nice, high level of design to create jobs that are sustainable.”

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