Wednesday, June 02, 2021

A Quick Update on my Status as Political NVIP

My three-year terms as an appointee to the Gainesville / Alachua County Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Board is just getting started -- my first official meeting is tomorrow night -- but I've already cast two votes online: Nominations for the "Bicycle/Pedestrian Friendly Awards."

I wasn't familiar with several of the prospects in several of the categories yet, but in two of the categories (individual and organization, both for past good community service), one person/organization stood out, because that person and organization were both very helpful to me when I started cycling in the Gainesville area.

That person is Ryan Aulton, and that organization is (actually, was) The FreeWheel Project.

I first met Ryan when he was running Pleasant Cyclery. I took a used bike in for a "tune-up," and occasionally bought other things there and participated in events that Ryan and the shop organized.

Later, he started The Freewheel Project, a non-profit work space where members could come in to repair their bikes, "check out" a selection of bikes from a "lending library," and participate in repairing / refurbishing donated bikes to be given away to various groups ranging from children to low-income community members to veterans.

Unfortunately, the Freewheel Project shut down some time back, for reasons I don't have knowledge of, but it was a great idea, Ryan and Jamie Aulton did a great job of implementing it as far as I could tell, and they and it richly deserve any recognition I can vote to send their way. So I voted for Ryan and the project for those awards.

As for tomorrow's meeting, I have a big stack (virtually speaking) of documents I'm looking over, and I'll be blunt: I don't expect to cast any meaningful votes tomorrow. It's basically a matter of approving some recommendations/documents that the board has no doubt been working on for a long time, so unless I come across some kind of giant red flag, I'll abstain.

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