- When do I submit a report on a grant I received?
- What do I include in my final grant report?
- What is a bicycle count?
- Why should I conduct a bicycle count?
- Where can I get more information on conducting a bicycle count?
- Where can I find other sources of funding for my project?
- Where can I get more volunteers for my project?
- Where can I learn more about bicycling economic impact studies?
- What's a PAC?
- What is BikesPAC
- Why are PACs necessary?
- As someone who works in bike business, why should I care about BikesPAC?
- What is Bikes Belong’s mission?
- How does Bikes Belong put more people on bicycles more often?
- How much does Bikes Belong membership cost?
- I'm a mass-market merchant or specialty sporting goods retailer. What are my dues?
- How can my company join Bikes Belong?
- Who can join Bikes Belong?
- I’m an individual and therefore can’t join Bikes Belong. But I want to support what you are doing. Can I make a donation?
- Why should I join Bikes Belong?
- I’m on the fence about membership. I’m not sure I understand what Bikes Belong does for my state. How can I find out more?
- My grants proposal was rejected. Can I reapply?
- Can I apply for a grant if I’m not a bicycle advocacy organization?
- How Does Bikes Belong fund its Grants Program?
- How can I find out if Bikes Belong has funded any grants in my area?
- What qualifies as a support letter from the local bike industry?
- Advocacy grants are only available to bicycle advocacy organizations. What is a bicycle advocacy organization?
- Can I apply for a grant if I’m not a bicycle advocacy organization?
- Where should I focus my efforts in the grant application?
- What is my grant proposal’s likelihood of success?
- How many grants are awarded a year?
- What size grant can I apply for?
- How do I measure the projected number of new cyclists created by my project/program?
- If my grant proposal is approved, when will I receive the funding?
- Bikes Belong awarded a grant to my organization. Can I apply for additional funding?
- For grants, what’s the difference between an “initial” funder and a “sole” funder?
- I don’t see my grant question answered here. Where can I go for more information?
- What is the market area for my grant proposal?
- How can I learn what federal funds have done for bicycling in my area?
- How does Bikes Belong get federal funding for bicycle facilities?
- Where does federal money for bicycling come from?
- How can I access federal funds for bicycle facilities?
- What money was authorized for bicycling in the last federal transportation law?
- What’s the difference between Bikes Belong Coalition and the Bikes Belong Foundation?
- What’s the difference between Bikes Belong and BikesPAC?
- Who can contribute to BikesPAC?
- I am an executive at a Bikes Belong member company? How can I contribute to BikesPAC?
- Where can I find a copy of your logo?
- How can I join your mailing list?
- How can I be removed from your mailing list?
- I’m a reporter working on a story about bicycling. Where can I get information such as bicycling participation and sales statistics? Who can I contact for an interview?
- Where does Bikes Belong get its funding?
- I have a question about Bikes Belong that’s not answered here, and I can’t find the information on your website. Where can I go for more information?
- I want to speak to my local community and government leaders to help gain support for bicycling. How can I convince them to make bicycling a priority?
- I’m a bicycle supplier or retailer, and I want to help bicycling in my community. What can I do?
- I want to get involved in local advocacy. How can I locate a group in my area or start one of my own?
- My grants proposal was rejected. Can I reapply?
- I have applied for a Bikes Belong grant. When can I expect to hear from you?
- If our organization receives funding, what are Bikes Belong's reporting requirements?
- Is there a match requirement for Bikes Belong grants?
- Is there a timeframe in which grantees are required to spend the grant award?
Bikes Belong requests a brief report every six months that includes an update on the current status of your project, an overview of upcoming project components or efforts, and a list of partners or supporters participating in your project.
When your project is completed, please submit a final report along with a project income and expense report, press clippings, and 2-3 photos. Details on what to include in the final report is available in the Grant Seekers Guide under Reporting Requirements.
The final grant report should be three pages or less and include the following:
1) Outcome: What did your project build, improve, develop or accomplish?
2) Participation: Identify volunteers, supporters, businesses, and other groups that helped make your project a reality; include any political support received
3) Impact on the community
4) Impact on ridership
5) Keys to success and lessons learned: Help us help others with what worked and what did not
6) Summary of media coverage
7) How Bikes Belong support was recognized.
Please also attach a project income and expense report reflecting all funding sources for the whole project, copies of or links to press clippings, and two or three photos.
A count is the process of recording the number of people traveling by a specific mode, whether by bicycle, on foot, or some other means. A count can record other data, such as gender, helmet use, and direction of travel, but at its most basic tells the number of people using a mode at a specific location during a specific period of time.
Counts are a great tool; before and after counts help you measure the impact of your project for reporting purposes and provide data that support future projects and funding for those projects. Counts help define if and where additional improvements are needed and whether existing treatments are working as intended. Counts are also good marketing tools, helping you advocate more effectively for bike/ped infrastructure by showing how many people are already using the facilities that exist.
The National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project (NBPD), a collaboration between Alta Planning Design and the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Pedestrian and Bicycle Council (http://bikepeddocumentation.org/), provides some great information, including case studies on forecasting and counting, how counts influence bike/ped programs, and adjustment factors to help you extrapolate counts to annual figures. NBPD also published a report (NBPD: Automatic Count Technologies, June 2009) that reviews different automatic count technologies, including non-detection rates, where different counters are best used, and cost ranges.
The NBPD Downloads section has sample bike and ped count sheets, surveys, and information on how to train counters. Some good advice if you are conducting manual counts:
- Train data collectors in the field before they begin their timed collection! Accuracy and consistency are key, so it is important to identify the different types of counts and eliminate questions/confusion in the counters’ minds.
- Choose a good count form: some list directions/information being collected, some have a map, diagram, or picture where you record
- Identify locations that need more than one data collector
- Prioritize data items: the count is the most important – then what? Gender? Helmet/no helmet? Direction?
Typical funding sources for any kind of project include:
- Government grants or funding
- Foundation or corporate grants
- Individual donations
- Business/corporate donations
- Events or other activities
- In-kind donations (labor, materials, equipment rental, etc.)
Local, state and federal programs provide funding to bicycle facility projects, each with different priority areas and application processes.
Federal: For a list of federal sources and what kinds of facilities they fund, see the America Bikes Federal Program Fact Sheet, http://www.americabikes.org/Documents/AB-Federal-Program-Factsheet.pdf
The Rails to Trails Conservancy also provides a comprehensive list of federal funding sources, with descriptions of each and examples of how these sources have been utilized by rail-trail projects, http://www.railstotrails.org/ourWork/trailBuilding/toolbox/informationSummaries/funding_financing.html#statelocal
State and Local: Departments of Parks and Recreation, Health, Sustainability, and Transportation are potential sources of funding. Some advocacy groups have successfully lobbied city or county governments to designate a portion of certain taxes to fund bike/ped infrastructure and some communities have passed referendums that include increased funding to these kinds of facilities.
Potential grants sources include:
- SmartWool Advocacy Fund, http://www.smartwool.com/PDF/SmartWool_Advocacy_Fund_Guidelines.pdf
- The North Face Explore Fund, http://explorefund.org/
- Walmart Store and Sam’s Club Giving Program, http://walmartstores.com/CommunityGiving/8916.aspx
- Specialized Grant Program, http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/SBCGlobalPages.jsp?pageName=SpecializedGrantProgram
Research through the Foundation Center, state or local foundation resources (check your local library), and on the websites of corporations with local offices or facilities can help identify other sources of funding. Local Community Foundations (serving the city or county) have a great deal of knowledge about local funding sources and may have funding priority areas that match your project.
Soliciting individual donors is most successful if you have a particular project or plan to present with goals and timelines for completion. Ideas to consider:
- Efforts to get the word out about your great project can include presentations, activities at existing facilities, farmers’ markets or other community events, partnerships with local bike shops or related advocacy organizations, etc. Always have materials with Ways to Support the Project available, and “Ways” may include in-kind donations of labor or materials!
- Matching Gifts – time-limited efforts to match one large donation are very effective if you have a network of potential supporters to connect to
- Employer matches – ask all donors if their employers match donations; human resources departments can usually provide the right forms or information
- How many pieces of your trail can you “sell?” Kiosks, benches, maps, trees, signs, and parts of the trail/path can have a dollar amount attached to them with recognition appropriate to the purchase
- Say thank you early and often – most facility projects take some time to complete, so stay in touch with your donors through updates on your progress and appreciation for their part in making it happen
Local businesses or corporations are most likely to support facilities that will benefit their employees and customers. Websites may include community giving, philanthropy, or giving back pages with information on how to apply for donations. Many companies support employee requests, or make donations to non-profits where their employees volunteer, so providing this kind of information to your network of supporters may result in more gifts. Check the League of American Bicyclists list of Bicycle Friendly Businesses (http://www.bikeleague.org/programs/bicyclefriendlyamerica/bicyclefriendlybusiness/) to identify local BFBs. These businesses are already making a commitment to promote cycling among their employees and may be more willing to support the effort community-wide.
Always include information on how donations will be recognized in any approach to companies or businesses – these donations can come out of marketing budgets as well as giving or foundation budgets.
Remember in-kind donations:
- Food and drinks for events
- Items or experiences for auctions
- Materials, equipment rental or tools for trailbuilding
- Employee volunteers for workdays
These should be valued and recognized just like cash donations!
- Online Silent Auction – time-limited opportunity to purchase donated item(s) or experiences online can make great fundraisers (bicycle, gear, signed poster/photo, a ride with Local Celebrity, etc.)
- Events don’t have to be formal affairs with hundreds of attendees; many small non-profits organize “friendraisers” where the event is a casual gathering at a private home and the goal is to introduce people to the project or group and get them involved as supporters and volunteers – without pressuring them to give
Membership-driven organizations have a built-in cadre of volunteers to call on for events and trailbuilding projects. If this does not describe your group, consider partnering with one on specific, time-limited efforts.
Additional sources for volunteers:
• Youth Conservation Corps participants are utilized in summertime trailbuilding efforts; some organizations have successfully applied for federal or state funding to provide project management and oversight to these groups
• High school or university students seeking community service credits; check with local school districts, municipal or county youth opportunities offices, and college community outreach programs
• Sierra Club or other programs offering service-oriented trips for adults; one previous grant recipient developed a relationship with the Sierra Club, hosting a working vacation group to help build and repair mountain bike trails in national forests. Key to this alliance was the emphasis on safety, building trails to established IMBA or Forest Service standards, preventing erosion, and supporting multiple types of trail users so all can enjoy these natural resources
New or improved bicycle infrastructure can have a positive impact on the economy, both local and regional. Adding bike lanes and bike racks is low-cost compared to building parking lots or roadways, and these investments have been shown to enhance shopping districts and residential communities while generating tourism and supporting business.
Different bicycle facilities, and their targeted users, will affect different parts of the local economy. Recreational facilities that draw non-local users, such as mountain bike trails, rail-trail trails, and trail networks affect sales of “soft goods” such as food, drinks, restaurant meals, and accommodations. Facilities that are primarily used by local riders, such as bike lanes, mountain bike parks, and BMX facilities, can increase sales of “hard goods” like bicycles, equipment, clothing and gear. Measurement strategies can be different for different types of facilities.
Recreational facility data is typically obtained through user surveys; some surveys utilize volunteers who intercept users, some are postage-paid surveys left at trailheads or local businesses. Surveys may measure sales of soft and/or hard goods.
- USDOT Federal Highway Administration: Guidebook on Methods to Estimate Non-Motorized Travel: Supporting Documentation – describes two kinds of studies to forecast bicycle or pedestrian travel levels; http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/safety/pedbike/98166/sec2.1.cfm
- Rails to Trails Conservancy: Trail User Surveys and Economic Impact report – provides information on the methodology used to collect data and compares trail user expenditures and other data for 20 trails; http://www.railstotrails.org/resources/documents/resource_docs/Comparison_of_Trail_Users_Surveys_FINAL.pdf
- Rails to Trails Conservancy Trail User Survey Workbook – help with developing and implementing a user survey; http://www.railstotrails.org/resources/documents/resource_docs/UserSurveyMethodology.pdf)
- Rails to Trails Conservancy: Schuylkill River Trail 2009 User Survey and Economic Impact Analysis – a comprehensive example of a survey completed using the Workbook as a guide for development; http://www.railstotrails.org/resources/documents/wherewework/northeast/Schuylkill River Trail Users Survey_Final_low res.pdf
Measuring the effect of new or improved transportation facilities like bike lanes is more difficult, since riders are usually local and soft good sales are not new to the economy. Municipalities or larger bike advocacy organizations may conduct mail or online surveys of residents on their mode of transportation, use of facilities, and purchases of equipment or gear for an assessment of city-wide economic impact. Organizations can also develop relationships with bike shops in smaller communities to measure sales before and after a new facility like a bike park or trail system is constructed to measure the local economic impact.
Additionally, regions that are destinations for cycle tours, races, or other events can partner with the hosting organization or operator to count the tourism dollars brought to a community. Multiplied by the number of tours per season, this impact can be significant. A 2008 report on the economic impact of RAGBRAI (The Registers Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) is an example of this kind of measurement. http://www.uni.edu/step/reports/STEP_RAGBRAI.pdf
PAC stands for Political Action Committee. A PAC is a private group organized to support the election or re-election of government officials and/or advance a political issue or legislation. Most PACs provide financial support to the re-election campaigns of members of Congress. While PACs are exclusively funded through individual contributions, they often represent the interests of businesses or associations.
The Bikes Belong Coalition launched BikesPAC in 2003 as the bike industry's way to support the members of Congress who back bicycling. Since its inception, BikesPAC has contributed nearly $200,000 to the re-election campaigns of individual members of Congress. BikesPAC is absolutely bipartisan--contributing equally to Republicans and Democrats.
It would be nice to think that the best ideas--like bicycling as a solution to obesity, road congestion and air pollution--would automatically rise to the top. But we live in a country of 310 million people where there are countless different perspectives on just about every issue. The bike industry is just one of about 1,000 different types of businesses working to influence federal transportation policy and funding decisions. This group includes road builders, auto manufacturers, transit interests, and a variety of other well-organized, well-funded organizations. In this swirl of ideas, it’s not surprising that members of Congress listen first to the people they know and the people who support them. BikesPAC moves bicycling into this select group and gives us the opportunity to make our case, face to face. PAC funding will never buy the outcome--and that's a good thing--but it will give us a chance to be heard.
The federal government is the number one investor in bike facilities and programs. These investments—which total more than $5 billion in the last 10 years—pay for bike paths, trails, lanes, bridges, underpasses and Safe Routes to School that make bicycling safer and more convenient. Ultimately—if these investments continue and grow—they will help get more people riding bikes, which will enable the bicycling business to sell more bikes, more equipment, and become stronger nationwide.
The Bikes Belong Coalition’s goal is to put more people on bicycles more often. We do this through federal policy, national partnerships, community grants, and promotion. Read more about what we do. The Bikes Belong Foundation works to improve bicycle safety and get more kids riding bikes. Learn more about the foundation.
Bikes Belong has four strategies:
- We lobby the federal government for bicycle-friendly policies and funding.
- We award cash grants for community bicycle projects.
- We form partnerships with national groups that are performing leadership work that improves bicycling.
- We promote bicycling as a safe, convenient, healthy activity for families and people of all ages.
Learn more about what we do.
Annual manufacturer and supplier dues are 3/40ths of 1% (.00075) of annual U.S. bicycle-related revenue.
Annual retailer dues start at $100 for $300,000 in annual sales and increase with more sales.
Bikes Belong Coalition membership is open to the U.S. bicycle industry. Suppliers, distributors, dealers, and others who are involved in the bicycle business within the United States are eligible for membership. Join today.
You can contribute to the Bikes Belong Foundation, our 501c3 charity organization.
If you are a member of the U.S. bicycle industry, you should join Bikes Belong to help improve bicycling in America. There are many reasons to join Bikes Belong.
If a proposal is rejected, it is unlikely that Bikes Belong will fund the same idea in the future. However, on a limited basis, Bikes Belong may ask an organization to revise a rejected proposal for the next grant cycle.
Additionally, Bikes Belong will accept applications for other projects or programs from organizations that have had previous requests denied.
Yes. Nonprofit trails groups and public agencies or departments at the local, regional, and national levels may apply for facility grants. We encourage municipalities to partner with bicycle advocacy groups when applying for our funding in order to ensure that bicyclists are involved in and supportive of the project. Bikes Belong does not fund individuals.
Each year, Bikes Belong awards $180,000 in cash grants to community bicycle projects. Bikes Belong Coalition does not have an endowment; the grants budget comes from the Employee Pro Purchase Program.
Search our grants map for grants in your state.
Letters can come from bicycle retailers, suppliers, and distributors, as well as big-box and specialty sporting goods stores that sell bikes. Letters should describe the proposed project or program, explain how it will improve revenue for the local bicycle business, and discuss why the shop supports the initiative and the applicant. A letter from a nonprofit organization does not qualify as a support letter from the local bike industry.
Bicycle advocacy organizations must have a mission and activities directly relating to bicycling. They typically work to improve bicycling conditions and bring positive change on a local, regional, state, or national level. Most are incorporated 501c3 nonprofits, and are affiliated with the Alliance for Biking and Walking.
Yes. Nonprofit trails groups and public agencies or departments at the local, regional, and national levels may apply for facility grants. We encourage municipalities to partner with bicycle advocacy groups when applying for our funding in order to insure that bicyclists are involved in and supportive of the project. Bikes Belong does not fund individuals.
The most important part of the grant application is Section B – Purpose of the Grant. Applicants should describe in detail how they will reach the goals outlined in their proposal. The Grants Committee analyzes proposals for impacts on bicycle ridership and other measurable results.
Bikes Belong funds roughly 15–20% of the proposals we receive.
Bikes Belong averages 20 grant awards per year.
Applicants can request up to $10,000. Requests for more than $10,000 will generally be viewed unfavorably unless the applicant has an extremely compelling case that the proposal is of unique and/or national importance.
Use your best judgment, relying on existing census data for population and travel mode, current and future bicycling conditions, and documented examples from similar programs or projects. Whatever logic you use to determine the number, provide us with a description of how you arrived at the projection.
Generally, grantees can expect to receive funding within three weeks of the grant award.
While priority is given to groups that have not received Bikes Belong funding before, past grantees are welcome to reapply. However, because of our limited funds, we rarely award grants to organizations and communities that have received Bikes Belong funding within the past three years. Search our grants database to see what we have funded.
Bikes Belong as a “sole funder” means that there will be no other funding from any other source for the project or program. “Initial funder” means Bikes Belong will the first funder for a project, and that additional revenue for the project or program will be secured by the applicant in the future.
The market area is the geographic region where your proposal will have a measurable and significant impact. For example, if a proposed path is likely to draw a large number of visitors from surrounding towns, then those towns should be included in the market area.
Most federal money for bicycle paths, trails, routes, and lanes comes from Transportation Enhancements funds. Visit the National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse to search a database and learn what projects have been funded in your state.
We are active in Washington, D.C., on several levels. We:
- Meet regularly with members of Congress and the administration.
- Retain a lobbying firm.
- Sponsor the National Bike Summit.
- Administer BikesPAC, the bicycle industry’s political action committee.
- Support America Bikes, the coalition of national organizations working on bicycling’s national agenda.
Most federal money for bicycle facilities and programs comes from federal transportation funds. Learn more.
The Federal Highway Administration distributes federal transportation funds—including those authorized for bicycle projects and programs—to state Departments of Transportation. Work with officials in your area to access these funds.
For a primer, visit the Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse website.
The 2005 federal transportation law, SAFETEA-LU, authorized $4.5 billion for bicycling and walking. Learn more.
The Bikes Belong Coalition is a 501c6 industry group that represents the bike industry. Members are companies in the U.S. bicycle industry. Join Bikes Belong.
The Bikes Belong Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit organization (a charity). The foundation accepts donations from other foundations and individuals. Donations are tax-deductible. Donate to the foundation.
Bikes Belong is a 501c6 nonprofit industry group representing the bicycle industry. We work to put more people on bicycles more often. BikesPAC is the bicycle industry’s political action group, administered by Bikes Belong Coalition. BikesPAC collects individual donations from employees of Bikes Belong member companies and contributes the money to the campaigns of members of Congress who support bicycling. Learn more about BikesPAC.
Any individual can contribute to BikesPAC. However, BikesPAC can only ask employees of Bikes Belong member companies to contribute. Corporate contributions are strictly prohibited and will be returned. Contributions of any size are welcome and needed, up to the annual maximum of $5,000 per individual. Contributions can be mailed to: BikesPAC, P.O. Box 2359, Boulder, CO 80306. Click here for the participation form.
You can join our mailing list by completing this simple form.
First, check out our press kit for story ideas and other resources.
Also look at our bicycling booklet, which outlines bicycling’s benefits to the economy, communities, health, families, and quality of life.
You’ll find more interesting fodder in our statistics section.
The Bikes Belong Coalition is sponsored by members of the U.S. bicycle industry. Suppliers, distributors, dealers, and others who are engaged in the U.S. bicycle business are eligible for membership. Bikes Belong members pay dues in proportion to their overall bicycle-related revenue. Join today.
The Bikes Belong Foundation is supported by individual donations and other foundations. Make a donation.
Contact us for more information.
To start, request a copy of our bicycling booklet. It outlines bicycling’s benefits to the economy, communities, health, families, and quality of life. View it online.
Check out our Action Steps to learn what you can do.
The Alliance for Biking and Walking is the leadership group for state and local advocacy organizations. Visit their website to look for a group in your area or learn how to start a new advocacy organization.
If a proposal is rejected, it is unlikely that Bikes Belong will fund the same idea in the future. However, on a limited basis, Bikes Belong may ask an organization to revise a rejected proposal for the next grant cycle. Additionally, Bikes Belong will accept applications for other projects or programs from organizations that have had previous requests denied.
When you submit an application via e-mail, you should receive an automatic response confirming receipt. We typically take three months to process applications and determine grant awards. Please see Deadlines in the grants section of our website for approximate decision times.
We ask all grant recipients to provide a brief project update six months after they receive their funding and a final report within a year of their grant award. We also ask that grantees send press about the project when applicable as well as photographs of the completed bike facility or initiative.
If the project is not complete or the funding has not been spent within a year of receipt, we ask grantees to provide annual updates until completion.
While we do not have a specific match requirement for our grants, Bikes Belong looks at leverage and funding partnerships very carefully. We prioritize projects that utilize funding from diverse sources, and we rarely award grants to groups that ask us to provide 50% or more of their project budget.
While we do not place a specific timeframe on grant awards, we are more apt to fund projects in which our funding will be spent within a year of the award. If, for whatever reason, an applicant is unable to spend the Bikes Belong grant on the specific project outlined in the grant proposal, we ask that funding be returned to us immediately.