Bicycle Advocates Braving Winter Conditions to Ride to Jefferson City to Speak with their Representatives at the Capitol
Two bicycle advocates from Kansas City are planning to ride to Jefferson City the last weekend in January as part of the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation’s Advocacy Day. Brian Gallmeyer and Corinna West will be making the 162 mile trip for the second year in a row without using any motorized transportation.
Kansas City, Missouri, February 1, 2010. Brian Gallmeyer and Corinna West, representing the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation, are riding their bicycles from Kansas City, MO to Jefferson City, MO to advocate for better transportation choices in the state of Missouri. They want to show that bicycling for transportation is actually much more in reach than many Americans realize.
According to the League of American Bicyclists, 50% of Americans live within five miles of work. They also say that 40% of all trips taken by people are less than two miles, with 28% under a mile, which is well within reach for many bicyclists and pedestrians. “It’s better to make a trip like this by bicycle,” says Gallmeyer. “That way you can see more scenery and have more interactions along the way. People are more willing to talk to and help people on bicycles.”
The pair have made a practice of long trips for bicycle transportation. Their most recent journey was riding home from Memphis to Kansas City in five days right after Thanksgiving last year. Most of the trips are for work conferences in which Ms. West is a presenter. She own her own business, Wellness Wordworks, with a mission to share how people can recover so that mental illness is a positive and temporary part of people’s lives. She also uses the bicycle riding to spread the word about the importance of linking physical wellness with mental wellness.
People with serious mental illness have a 25 year lower life expectancy than people without a diagnosis, mostly due to preventable physical illnesses like diabetes, stroke, infections, and heart disease. “Bicycling is my personal medicine,” says West. “It is both why I want to stay well and what I do for myself to stay well.” West has ridden more miles on her bicycle than she has traveled in her car for the last four years. Gallmeyer doesn’t even own a vehicle.
Because of the huge budget cuts facing the mental health system, finding accessible community based wellness tools is becoming more essential for people who struggle with extreme emotional experiences. West also organizes a program called Poetry for Personal Power, which uses a rolling bicycle based health fair display booth to share ideas and gather stories about people overcoming adversity by using exercise, mindfulness, spirituality, meditation, and of course, poetry. Bicycling can be a powerful boost to mental health.
Cycling and walking for transportation reduces stress, improves obesity, and also puts people more in touch with their local communities. According to the Missouri Bicycle Federation, 31% of the Missouri population doesn’t have a drivers license, and 8.2% of the households in Missouri are zero car households. “Transportation is often one of the biggest hurdles for people with disabilities,” says West.
Wellness Wordworks offers spoken word poetry and motivational speaking performances showing mental illness as a temporary and positive experience in people’s lives. Creating collaborative programs to guide people through adversities using increased community connections.
Contact: Corinna West
www.corinnawest.com, poetryforpersonalpower.com, mobikefed.org
eight one six-392-6074