Another Good Idea for L.A.: Carrying Stuff on Your Bike

12_11_09_xtra.jpgThe Eco-Village Xtra-Cycle.

(This is the third installment in what’s becoming a series of articles by Ron Milam that I’m calling the GOOD series.  For the other two submissions, click here. – DN)

A
good facilitator brings some important materials to a meeting including an
easel, markers, a small clock and most challenging of all to carry on a bicycle,
a full sized posterboard to scribe notes to capture everyone’s good thoughts. Up
until now, I have always asked clients to bring the posterboard because it was
too challenging to secure on my small bike rack.

For a recent peer
learning session I led for the Liberty Hill
Foundation
, one of the leading funders of social change movements in Los
Angeles, I decided I would incorporate a little social change in my own
lifestyle and bring everything to the training by bicycle.  Knowing I couldn’t
fit everyone on my existing bike, I remembered one of my neighbors here at the
LA Eco-Village has
an XtraCycle I could borrow,
which is a bicycle trailer device designed to carry heavy loads.

I’m excited to report that I successfully
carried the following items on one bicycle: that big posterboard, an easel,
markers, handouts, my laptop computer and three bags of groceries that fed an
impressive group of 15 leaders working on social change here in Los Angeles.  I
really enjoyed the ride and the discussion that followed it.

Now that I know it can easily be done, I look
forward to hauling all of my facilitation tools on bike to future trainings,
retreats and meetings. While I can’t confirm it, I just might be able to say I’m
the only bicycling facilitator in Los Angeles! If you need a facilitator or want
to know more about what a facilitator does, check out my
website
.

See you on the streets of Los Angeles and
remember that you can always carry more stuff
on a bicycle than you think
you can.  

  • Right before it started raining last night, I was able to snap a quick picture of this specialty cargo bike from Batavus with two baby seats:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ubrayj02/4176262358/

    Yesterday I hauled two 60 lbs bike boxes to the local Fedex shipping center, which looked something like this:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ubrayj02/3430252851/

    Ron has got it right – being able to carry what you need and enjoy the trip to and from your destination is one of the supreme joys of cargo cycling. It feels a bit like … independence! You know, that attribute that automobiles are allegedly imparting on us (based on all the car commercials).

  • Mad Park
  • Hey! I’m going to have a container of nihola bicycles at my shop in 8 to 10 weeks (according to the nihola manufacturer)!

    So cool and thanks for the reminder Mad Park.

  • Other Los Angeles bike facilitators:

    myself
    Liz Elliot
    Shay Sanchez
    Stephen Box
    Enci Box
    Ron Durgin
    Josef Bray-Ali
    and pretty much any leader of Bikery, Bikerowave, Bike Oven, or Bike Kitchen.

  • Excellent! I’m glad to hear there’s so many other cycling facilitators in LA and look forward to crossing paths on the streets of LA as we haul stuff to our respective meetings.

    This raises a good point that facilitation takes different forms and is done by different people, both from within each organization and from the outside.

    Usually groups that meet on a regular basis have one of their own members facilitate the meeting, whether it be a Board chair, director or some other designated leader. Most regular meetings usually function like this, whether it be at a board meeting or committee meeting.

    Other times, organizations will bring in an outside facilitator to support the decision making process, often with non day-to-day decisions like a strategic planning process or board development process. This is for when the group needs to make a big decision and it might require an entire weekend of meetings. While a process like this could and is often facilitated by a member of the group, there are some good reasons to consider hiring an outside facilitator to help with this process.

    This role of the outside faciliator is more specifically what I was thinking of when I wrote my blog post. I’m pleased to have served in this role for several local groups, including the Bike Kitchen, LA County Bicycle Coalition, Green LA Coalition, Bikestation and would welcome the opportunity to work with others. I’m also thrilled that so many other local groups have incorporated facilitation into their decision-making processes. The more folks that do this type of work, the merrier!

    Thanks,
    Ron

  • Ron,

    You have crossed paths with many of us. Maybe you are going senile, I’m not sure. Your self-pleasing article is a slap in the face of the community. You write as if you have invented bikes.

    The LA Greensters have been hauling movie gears, trees, planters, etc. around town. Many cyclists have been hauling around their dogs and children, others moved furniture and some do their shopping via bike for years. Oh, yeah, and there are many commuters who haul their pencils and their computers with them every day. Imagine that!

    While I’m sure many appreciate the work you do, it would be constructive and helpful for the community if you would not just boast about yourself and your wonderful accomplishments but if you would boast about the work of individuals who also work to support the cycling community in LA, often for free.

    And if you would not unsubscribed yourself from many of the beneficial organizations email lists, you would know that there are many bike and community facilitators out there, who ride bikes and who facilitated many weekend or multi-day workshops for their own organizations as well as for hire. It’s sad that you don’t know you’re not the only one.

  • Enci,
    Thanks for your feedback. I appreciate hearing your perspective.
    Cheers,
    Ron

  • @ubrayj02
    @Mad Park
    yes thats true. niholas are now in containers:
    http://www.nihola.de/de/aktuelles/894.nihola-auf-dem-weg-in-die-usa-und-kanada.html

    best regards
    Carlos

  • Ron Milam is the buddha, you cannot provoke him. I am won over by his positivity every time.

    In conclusion, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

  • B

    Enci, I find your email highly disrespectful. You are doing good work for biking in LA, but so has Ron(for over 10 years)as well as many other bike advocates in LA and around LA. To publically call someone names shows total lack of respect and makes me think less of you and your opinion on other issues. Community and advocacy work best in situations where people are respcetful of each other and try to work together as much as possible. Why the competition? Who are we fighting, ourselves or the City?

    Respectfully,
    b

  • Spokker

    “Enci, I find your email highly disrespectful.”

    Of course. His post was meant to be disrespectful. He doesn’t like the guy.

  • @spokker… Enci is a female – who, you might remember, wrote some guest articles here only a couple months ago: http://la.streetsblog.org/2009/10/06/a-womans-comfort-on-our-streets/ – Please don’t assume every commenter at L.A. Streetsblog is male!

    LOL @Enci – bicyclists actually carrying their pencils!

    Ron, who’s my friend, is doing great work. He’s a very good meeting facilitator, and I am really glad he is getting around by bike… but I too bristled a bit when I read “the only bicycling facilitator in Los Angeles.”

    I am glad that Ron is able to earn a living at this sort of work… but I think it’s important not to (as I infer he has here) make a overly large distinction between those bicyclists who get paid to facilitate and those bicyclists who do it because they want to lend their energies skills to building a movement. This undervalues the contributions that many have made. Kudos to all those bicycling folks (folks on @Alex’s list above, others, and Ron does when his rotation is up at L.A. Eco-Village) who facilitate for free, too.

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