The Regional Bicycle Advisory Committee, organized by the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission, has announced the winners of its 3rd Annual Bike Hero and Extraordinary Bike Professional awards. The awards honor individuals who have shown extraordinary dedication to improving bicycle accommodations, education, access, and safety in the region. Individuals were nominated throughout Bike Month, and winners were selected by the Regional Bicycle Advisory Committee. The Committee gives out two distinct awards – the “Bike Hero Award” and the “Extraordinary Bicycle Professional Award”
The Bike Hero Award is awarded to an individual who has shown dedication to the use and advocacy of the bicycle as a transportation alternative in their day-to-day activities, their work in the community to improve bicycle accommodations, and their encouragement through advocacy or by example for others to replace vehicle trips with bicycle trips.
This years recipient is Wesley Best, owner of East Coasters Bike Shops, who has been recognized for his tireless work on cycling, both as a business owner helping customers find the right bike for their needs, as well as a community activist making practical, tangible improvements in cycling accommodations in the valley. He has been involved in extensive trail building work at Carvins Cove, volunteering his own time and leading groups of volunteers to add and maintain the Cove’s myriad mountain biking paths. His advocacy work includes attending this year’s National Bike Summit and meeting with congressional representatives to lobby for continued, strong funding of improvement in bicycle infrastructure. His shop has sponsored a number of events in the area, including the Junior Cycling Team, an effort to get more kids into healthy, competitive cycling.
The Extraordinary Bicycle Professional Award is given to an employee in the public or private sector who has shown remarkable leadership in encouraging the use of bicycling as a transportation alternative.
This year’s recipient is Liz Belcher who has been the driving force behind the regional greenway network, one of the best things to happen to cyclists of all stripes in the Roanoke Valley. Her dogged determination in seeking to complete this trail has resulted in a multiple-mile, paved, easy-to-ride bicycle highway that continues to connect some of the major activity centers in the Roanoke Valley.
With the recent completion of the Wasena bridge and expansion of the greenway into Vic Thomas Park, it’s now possible to bike from Downtown Roanoke to the Grandin Village almost entirely off-road, and the presence of the greenway is an important catalyst in the upcoming revitalization of the Wasena neighborhood.
Because of Liz’s work with planning, fundraising, event organizing, and her ability to work with the many jurisdictions and stakeholders, public and private, involved with the greenway, the committee recognized her with this award.
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