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Bike Hutto’s First Hippo Hunt Event A Success

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Hippo Hunt 2015 has been deemed a success! Just ask the winning team, the BGDB Hippos!!

Teams met on Saturday, November 14th at Creekside Park to compete in a bicycle-powered hippo scavenger hunt. Each team had a different “route” and received clues to solve that would take them to one of 12 hippo stations. Once all hippo stations were visited (in order based on clues), there was a mad dash for the finish. Jennifer Abrams, Sarah Shearin, Camille Baptiste, and Stephanie Webb of the BGDB Hippos team were the winners of this year’s event. 039Each member of the team received a small concrete hippo. BGDB stands for ‘Black Girls Do Bike’. (To learn more about the BGDB movement that encourages cycling among black women, please visit http://www.blackgirlsdobike.com/)

The event was able to raise $400 for Hutto Has Heart through registration and an addition donation made through Capital Metro. Hutto Has Heart seeks to serve and empower the emotional, financial, educational, and spiritual well-being of the Hutto community members by organizing and sustaining collaborative efforts.

Hippo Hunt could only be made possible through the generous sponsorship of Capital Metro, as well as a delicious breakfast sponsorship from Ricardo’s Tacos and Baked N Sconed.  Swag bags were courtesy of the City of Hutto and the Shop Small initiative.  The Hutto High School Leo’s donated their time to volunteer for the event. Bike Hutto would also like to thank Please Be Kind To Cyclists, the Wilco Wellness Alliance, It’s Time Texas, and the City of Hutto Parks and Recreation Department for their contributions to the participant swag bags.

Bike Hutto is already making plans for 2016 and will be turning Hippo Hunt into an annual event that happens in the spring. “Hutto has well over 300 hippos throughout the community so there is plenty of room for creativity as we develop new routes and clues. We look forward to continuing to grow and expand the Hippo Hunt event in the years to come.” stated Bike Hutto director, Jessica Romigh.

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Bike Hutto Launches New Share The Road Campaign

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Share the Road campaigns have been utilized across the country in order to caution motorists that other forms of transportation utilize and cross roadways.  The phrase, “Share the Road”, is applicable to both motorcyclists, as well as bicyclists depending on the campaign.  Whichever the focus, these campaigns are meant to improve safety conditions for entities by raising awareness and encouraging these segments of the population to watch out for one another. Bike Hutto is now working to build bicycle/car safety awareness in Hutto through their new public education outreach campaign, Share the Road Hutto: Looking Out for Our Neighbors.

ShareTheRoadHuttoCampaign_EliBike Hutto sites campaigns such as Bike Pittsburgh and People For Bikes for serving as inspiration for the Hutto campaign because they emphasize the humanization of bicyclists in order to promote safety. It is a reminder that the person you see on a bike is a friend, family member, and neighbor to someone.  The images and descriptive words used in Hutto’s new campaign come directly from their Community of Cyclists program.  “It was important for us to use pictures and words from bicyclists that live right here in Hutto”, says Bike Hutto Director, Jessica Romigh. “We hope this is a first step in creating a culture here in Hutto where all forms of transportation that use the roadways can feel safe and be aware of each other.”

The Share the Road Hutto campaign will primarily be a digital marketing campaign in its initial launch with a focus on social media and online publications. Utilizing a combination of images, text, and the #ShareTheRoadHutto hashtag, Bike Hutto hopes to spread this important educational message virally throughout Hutto and Central Texas.  The long-term goal will be to do a print ad and sign campaign once a grant and/or sponsor can be found to assist with funding.ShareTheRoadHuttoCampaign_Erika

For a full display of images currently available within the Share the Road Hutto campaign, please visit https://bikehutto.org/programs/share-the-road-hutto/.

Bike Hutto is a non-profit bicycling advocacy organization located in Hutto, Texas. Our mission is to encourage and foster a community environment within Hutto in which bicyclists of all ages can socialize, receive safety education, and voice their needs for building better bicycle friendly infrastructure.  Bike Hutto values the importance of creating a bicycle friendly community within the City of Hutto focusing on the benefits (Transportation, Health, Economics, Recreation, and Environment) that bicycling provides.

Bike Hutto Celebrates 100 Years of Hippos with Inaugural Hippo Hunt Fundraiser

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In celebration of the 100 years of the Hippo, Bike Hutto is holding its first ever HIPPO HUNT on November 14, 2015! Hippo Hunt is a Hippo Scavenger Hunt on bicycles. Teams of 4-6 will bike to various hippos throughout central Hutto based on clues and a map. At each hippo location they get a clue that takes them on to the next hippo. Each team has a slightly different “route”. The event will start at 9am at Creekside Park located at 305 Orchard Way in Hutto, Texas. Check-In opens at 8am to allow teams time to receive their event packet materials, swag bags, and enjoy breakfast tacos courtesy of Ricardo’s Tacos. The first team that completes the scavenger hunt and makes their way back to Creekside Park wins the Hippo Hunt Trophy.

Teams are between 4 and 6 persons. If you do not have a team, Bike Hutto will be happy to pair you up with a team. Each team member is to fill out their own registration form (or have a parent fill it out for them). A team member is any individual riding their own bike on the team. Small children in carriers do not count as a team member and there will be no fee for that child.  Cost is $15 a person with a maximum of $60 per team. Each participant receives an event t-shirt, swag bag, and breakfast the morning of the event.  In order to be guaranteed t-shirt size, registration must be complete by November 1st.

Helmets are required to participate. All road and trail rules must be obeyed at all times. The only way to cross Hwy 79 is via the Cottonwood Creek Trail Underpass which is shown on the map provided at check-in. Any crossing of Hwy 79 not via the underpass will result in an immediate disqualification.

All registration proceeds from the event will go to Hutto Has Heart. Hutto Has Heart seeks to serve and empower the emotional, financial, educational, and spiritual well-being of the Hutto community members by organizing and sustaining collaborative efforts.  They do this by assisting both individual families on a case by case basis, as well as larger fundraising efforts such as creating a relief fund for the Memorial Day Flood Victims. http://www.huttohasheart.org/

Registration information can be found at https://bikehutto.org/hippo-hunt-2015/

We are very appreciative of Capital Metro for being the primary sponsor of this year’s Hippo Hunt.  Thank you also to Ricardo’s Tacos for their generous donation of breakfast tacos, and to the Hutto High School Leo’s, the City of Hutto, and the Hutto Parks and Recreation Department for their generous in-kind donations.

Bike Hutto’s mission is to encourage and foster a community environment within Hutto in which bicyclists of all ages can socialize, receive safety education, and voice their needs for building better bicycle friendly infrastructure.  Bike Hutto values the importance of creating a bicycle friendly community within the City of Hutto focusing on the benefits (Transportation, Health, Economics, Recreation, and Environment) that bicycling provides.

Bike Hutto Ranked Top Ten Texas Teams in 2015 National Bike Challenge

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The National Bike Challenge is a nationwide event uniting thousands of current bicyclists—and encouraging countless new riders. In its simplest form it is a logging center for users to record miles ridden and be part of the national community of bicyclists. It is a free and easy way to challenge yourself, colleagues and the greater community to ride more. Users compete on a local, state and national level.  This program is a successful partnership between People For Bikes and Kimberly-Clark’s Scott Natural Brand.  The Challenge, which ran from May 1 to September 30th, united 92,352 riders pedaling over 37 million miles in the five month period.

Within the National Bike Challenge individuals compete and there is also the opportunity to form teams and have local challenges as well. Bike Hutto participated as a team for the first time ever in 2015. It had 23 active bicyclists and was part of the Bike Austin Local Challenge. The Bike Austin Local Challenge encompassed 16 communities and 26 teams throughout the Central Texas region. The Bike Hutto Team ranked number one within Central Teas. Hutto was second only to Austin amongst those 16 communities.  Bike Hutto also faired very well within the state of Texas. The team ranked 9th out of 104 teams participating in Texas.

Individuals are awarded at different levels of the challenge based on points and mileage. Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond levels can be achieved.  Four Bike Hutto riders (Leigh Ann Ganzar, James Jumonville, Brian Grubbs, and Camille Baptiste) were awarded Platinum Status based on having over 2,500 points. Eighteen of the participating riders reached at least one award level during the challenge.

“We are very proud of what Bike Hutto accomplished its first year competing in the Bike Challenge,” says Bike Hutto Director, Jessica Romigh. “With that, we are already looking at ways to do even better next year! No reason we can’t go from the top ten to the top five in Texas!”

In addition to the National Bike Challenge being a fun way to encourage bicycling throughout the summer months, there is also an opportunity to gather data such as recreation verses transportation miles.  Bike Hutto will be utilizing this data in the coming months as it addresses infrastructure and programming needs for bicyclists in the Hutto, Texas area.

Bike Hutto’s mission is to encourage and foster a community environment within Hutto in which bicyclists of all ages can socialize, receive safety education, and voice their needs for building better bicycle friendly infrastructure.  Bike Hutto values the importance of creating a bicycle friendly community within the City of Hutto focusing on the benefits (Transportation, Health, Economics, Recreation, and Environment) that bicycling provides.

Bike Hutto Director to Speak at Health Education Summit

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On Thursday, September 24th, Bike Hutto director, Jessica Romigh will be a panel speaker at the Health Education Summit hosted by the Williamson County and Cities Health District. The panel (entitled “Advancing Health Promotion Through Collaboration”) consists of four speakers. Ms. Romigh is joined by Faith Unger, CareGiverU Program Director at AGE of Central Texas, Mary McKenna, the Director of Health and Wellness for the Georgetown Independent School District, and Dinorah Martinez-Anderson who is a Clinical Assistant Professor/Ph.D. Student at Texas State University- St. David’s School of Nursing.

Jessica Romigh’s presentation, “Activating The Ripple: Making A Healthy Difference In Your Community”, will show how anyone has the capacity to create change. Through the formation of Bike Hutto, an impact has been made on Hutto with strives to make it a more healthy community.  What has now grown to be an 80 plus member organization in a matter of months, was done so out of one individuals desire to create a fun and informative group for local bicyclists.  Through connecting with not only those interested in cycling, but with the community at large, a wider impact has been able to be made. An impact that continues to grow throughout the county, state, and nation.

The Health Education Summit seeks to:

  • Increase capacity of local professionals to engage in effective health education and promotion activities;
  • Strengthen multi-sector collaboration for evidence-based improvements in health policies, programs and environments; and
  • Explore innovative practices aimed at improving health behaviors, health equity, and health policies in Williamson County.

The Williamson County and Cities Health District, in partnership with communities, protects and promotes the health of the people of Williamson County.  The Williamson County and Cities Health District has provided public health services to Williamson County since 1943. Our Public Health Centers and offices are located in Cedar Park, Georgetown, Round Rock, and Taylor.

Jessica Romigh is the founder and director of Bike Hutto, a bicycling organization focusing on community building, bike safety education, and infrastructure advocacy in Hutto, Texas.  She serve as the Co-Chair of the Wilco Wellness Alliance Active Living Work Group which “encourages the utilization of existing active living resources, creates awareness of new opportunities, and serves as a forum for collaborative efforts and information sharing around physical activity and built environment.”  In addition Jessica Romigh is a commissioner for the City of Hutto Planning and Zoning Commission, an active member of the Healthy Hutto coalition, an Ambassador for It’s Time Texas, and currently going through the Hutto Citizen’s University program.

Hutto To Pursue Bike Friendly Community Designation

On Thursday September 17th, the Hutto City Council voted and approved the Strategic Guide 2035. The Strategic Guide serves as a long-range, comprehensive planning document aimed at guiding the growth and development of the City to the year 2035. There are Policies, Goals, and Activities that are outlined to make this planning a reality. Under the Mobility Policy is the goal to “Maintain and Follow Pedestrian Mobility Plan”. For FY16 one of the activities to reach that goal is as follows:

“Pursue Bike Friendly Community Designation”

With the approval of the Strategic Guide 2035 document, Hutto can officially pursue a Bike Friendly Community Designation from the League of American Bicyclists! This has been an important goal for Bike Hutto and we are very excited to be able to move forward on this!

So what is a “Bike Friendly Community Designation”?  Per the League of American Bicyclists,

TheLEAGUE-BFA“The Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC℠) program provides a roadmap to improve conditions for bicycling and the guidance to make your distinct vision for a better, bikeable community a reality.  A BFC welcomes bicyclists by providing safe accommodations for bicycling and encouraging people to bike for transportation and recreation. Making bicycling safe and convenient are keys to improving public health, reducing traffic congestion, improving air quality and improving quality of life.”

This is done by targeting the 5 E’s — Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, and Evaluation/Planning.  There are levels of designation within the program that include Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.  In Texas there are currently five communities that are certified. Austin has Silver status.  Houston, Richardson, San Antonio, and The Woodlands Township have Bronze status.  The following Texas communities have received Honorable Mention through their applications: El Paso, Frisco, Hollywood Park, and Plano.

What happens now? 

The City will be creating an employee team to help pursue the designation. Bike Hutto will continue to be involved in the process and will work with the City of Hutto on helping to make this designation a reality. There are two application cycles each year.  There is one in February and one in August. Once there is a team put in place and planning has begun, it will be determined which cycle the application will be submitted to.

Learn more about the Bicycle Friendly Community Program through the League of American Bicyclists by visiting: http://bikeleague.org/community

Bike Hutto Gears Up Local Group Ride Program After Positive Community Response

 

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What started with a community survey and one Bike Hutto member stepping up earlier this summer has become a full-fledged Group Ride program here in Hutto, Texas – one that attracts both Hutto residents, as well as bicyclists from surrounding communities.

On June 20th, 2015, Bike Hutto had its first Hutto Group Ride which was led by Ride Leader James Jumonville.  Jumonville had approached Bike Hutto with an interest in leading a group ride in Hutto the beginning of June.  Coincidentally, the local bicycling advocacy organization was in the process of conducting a community survey to get a pulse on what types of future biking activities would be of interest. Group Rides had already surfaced as being a number one need for Hutto.

“The timing couldn’t have been more perfect!” says Bike Hutto founder, Jessica Romigh. “James is a very accomplished rider and really knows the country roads around here. We were so happy when he volunteered to start leading rides!”

After that initial ride in June, the program slowly gained momentum with a couple more rides being added each month over the summer. More and more community members started attending rides. And it wasn’t just Hutto residents joining in the fun. Bicyclists started to come from surrounding towns to enjoy Hutto’s trails and easy access to scenic country roads through the group ride program.

In September, Bike Hutto expands the program to include 5 Group Ride Leaders: James Jumonville, Camille Baptiste, Amber Townsley, Kimberleigh Kimball, and Gina Auditore. Rides vary in length and intent giving the opportunity for a wide variety of bicyclists to get involved. The goal is to reach as many different types of cyclists as possible –ranging from beginners to experienced.  Scheduled rides in September include Gearing Down For Yoga (a group ride centered around a stop at the launch party of The Hutto Yoga Room to participate in a yoga class) and Bike & Brunch (a 40 mile ride that ends with the riders having brunch at Baked N Sconed, a favorite local spot in Hutto.)

Hutto Group Rides are open to all individuals wishing to ride. There is no requirement to have a Bike Hutto membership or any fees involved.  All rides are no drop (no one gets left behind).  For more information on upcoming rides, please visit: https://bikehutto.org/programs/hutto-group-rides/