UNA Students Come Together To Form Shoals Cycling Initiative

Sep. 30, 2011


FLORENCE, Ala. – As Shoals cyclists work to make Florence a more bike friendly community, two students and one graduate of the University of North Alabama have come together to form the Shoals Cycling Initiative, a group that works to promote sustainable energy and cycling within the quad city area.

UNA student Cameron Kelly-Johnson was recently approached by Anna Goldstein, U.S. campaigns coordinator for 350.org, a grassroots organization that is dedicated to ending the climate crisis by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Goldstein encouraged Kelly-Johnson to plan an event in Alabama for the worldwide Moving Planet Day Sept. 24 to motivate people to think beyond fossil fuels and rely instead on biking, skating and marching.

Kelly-Johnson, who teamed up with UNA student Eero Wilson and recent graduate Ashton Lance, put a plan in action and formed the Shoals Cycling Initiative to bring beginning, intermediate and advanced cyclists in the area together. Moving Planet Day takes place in more than 2,000 events in more than 175 countries across the world.

Kelly-Johnson, Wilson and Lance held an event at the UNA Guillot University Center bridge Sept. 24 from noon to 3:30 p.m., where several students came together for a ride in conjunction with Moving Planet Day. The event, which was only one of two Moving Planet events in the state of Alabama that day, was a success, according to Wilson.

“Our goal was to get people together for a ride to support Moving Planet’s mission and to encourage mobilizing efforts for more sustainable energy consumption and to show that a group of bicyclers is not so strange,” Wilson said. “The day was organized to expose sustainable cycling and human-powered transportation.”

The group’s next goals are to bring bicycle racks to downtown and install “Share the Road” signs around Florence to help drivers be more aware of cyclists in the streets. The group will also participate in the next Roadrunner Alleycat race in downtown Florence Oct. 23. The race will center around a Halloween theme and attendees will have the chance to win prizes and listen to live music.

Wilson said the group is also working in conjunction with UNA to bring the campus and downtown communities together. He hopes UNA will recognize the need for the university and downtown to be synchronized and come together with the Shoals Cycling Initiative to help with both missions.

For more information about the Shoals Cycling Initiative, contact the Office of University Communications at 256-765-4225 or e-mail jlwoods1@una.edu.