About Barb Chamberlain

Barb Chamberlain with bicycle at bike rack

Me in my “bike clothes.”

I love to write, I love to ride my bike, and I particularly love connecting people to information and inspiration that may just help make the world a better place to live for us and for our children’s children.

When I care about something I throw myself into it wholeheartedly. When I became a bike commuter that led quite naturally to a lot of involvement first in biking and then in active transportation in general. Because I have a background in politics and public policy much of my effort has been in the public and nonprofit sectors.

Most recently this has all led to me being named executive director of the Bicycle Alliance of Washington (August 2012). This blog represents my personal opinions and not those of the Bike Alliance–you should definitely check out the policy positions and bike news there.

A bit more about me courtesy of other writers:

Me, talking about how bikes can save the world:

My public service related to biking, active transportation, and all-modes policy:

Executive Director, Bicycle Alliance of Washington: Starting this position August 1, 2012, and can’t wait!

Active transportation user and speaker on bike commuting: Bike commuter in most weather conditions beginning sometime around 2003–whenever the City of Spokane installed the bike lane on South Cedar Avenue below Fourteenth. Founder with friend Betsy Lawrence (Head Belle) of Belles and Baskets, an entry-level no-drop group of women who like to bike, talk, and snack! Volunteer at Spokane-area bike races while my Sweet Hubs seeks points to move up a category.

Honors/awards received for biking and advocacy: Spokane County Commuter of the Month, Aug. 2011, Commute Trip Reduction program; YWCA Spokane Woman of Achievement Award for Community Service, Oct. 2010, for contributions to biking; Spokane Regional Health District recognition for contributing to healthy activities, 2010; Certificate of Appreciation from Spokane Mayor Mary Verner for contributions as chair of new Bike to Work Spokane committee, May 2008.

Transportation Advisory Committee and Spokane Regional Transportation Council, 2010–present. Voting member of SRTC Board 2010–2011.

WomenBikeBlogs.com, 2010–present. Compiled what appears to be the Web’s largest list of women’s bike blogs, which I feed to the world via Twitter and Facebook.

Transportation Visioning Process Team, 2009–2011. Member of work group that designed and oversaw inclusive community participation process to develop a long-term vision for multimodal transportation system in the Spokane region.

City of Spokane Bicycle Advisory Board, 2008–2011. Vice-chair 2009–2010; chair 2010–2011. During my tenure the city adopted a bike master plan as part of the comprehensive plan, created and filled the position of bike/pedestrian coordinator, achieved a Bronze Bike-Friendly Community designation by the League of American Bicyclists, and expanded its bike infrastructure.

Spokane Bikes (formerly Bike to Work Spokane), 2007–present. Founding chair during start-up of committee promoting events for National Bike to Work Week  The event grows each year and has become an annual tradition with remarks by the mayor at each Kickoff Breakfast. At our five-year anniversary in 2012 I got to talk with a TV reporter about why I commute.

SpokeFest Association Board of Directors, 2009–2010.

SmartRoutes Spokane Leadership Team, 2008–2010. Invited to serve on citizens’ committee that led development of prioritized plan for countywide active transportation infrastructure and advocated for increased funding as part of nationwide Rails to Trails Coalition effort. Plan adopted by county, several cities, and SRTC board.

And finally, I write a sporadic personal blog at Bike to Work Barb. Some of the posts here on Bike Style originated there. I also tell you more about myself beyond biking on a page there that includes a link to every blog post I’ve ever written, if I didn’t miss one or two along the way.

I finally realized I had so much to say about biking I should turn that subject into its own blog. I created the associated shopping events because it’s so tough for women to find a hospitable point of entry into biking, yet we represent over half the population and if we feel safe enough to ride it’s safer for everyone. We’re the indicator species for biking, according to Scientific American.

Happy biking!

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16 Comments to "About Barb Chamberlain"

  1. Natasha Wing says:

    I started a new company making fabric bike seat covers in response to seeing people using plastic grocery bags on their seats! So I decided I’d help beautiful bikes, one seat cover at a time. These covers are made of 100% cotton canvas and I pick fun fabrics. I make them in several sizes but they’re mostly for cruisers and townies. How might I be able to get the word out to your female bikers? Do you know who might review such a product? You can view my covers on Etsy at http://www.etsy.com/shop/bumcicles

  2. Renee R says:

    I was curious if I could ask your opinion on a matter. About 7 years ago I hurt my back and every so often I agrevate it.
    Recently I agrevated it and am worried riding will make it worse. Any
    thoughts/suggestions? Ive been riding this bike for three months and doubt
    its the cause, but more curious how I can continue to ride without
    aggrevating it more. When Im cycling I feel the best.

  3. Jean says:

    Congrats, Barb!

  4. Hello,

    Sorry to post in your comment box but I can’t find your contact.

    I represent http://www.healthyweightlossuk.com. I recently came across your site and we’re interested in buying advertising from you directly.
    We have a a relatively large advertising budget and we can launch a test campaign immediately.

    We would like to run and pay for a week of advertising on your website (based on your monthly fee divided by 4)

    If the test campaign meets our expectations, we would be open to making a longer term advertising commitment.

    Please put me in touch with the right person to discuss this further.

    I am reachable on Skype at: jasonshouldice, Telephone, 1-613-761-2746 or simply by responding to this email.

    Thanks for your time,
    Jason Shouldice
    Media Buyer

  5. Paul Haeder says:

    Barb — I need your email to send you questions for a story. Mine is above.

    Howdy Barb — Can you get to these, and at the bottom, a contact or two in SP CO and Spokane around walking and active transportation?

    1. What sort of push do governments, non-profits, and activists have to make toward really putting in strong measures for active transportation education and infrastructure?

    2. That stat – 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 each day in the USA – bring some perspective on how biking and walking planning and enlightenment can react to and address this looming aging fact.

    3. How do we make biking a real solution to poverty-stricken lives as their main or major mode of transportation with so many strikes against Active Transportation in our culture?

    4. What is up with getting more women to ride? What sort of historical impediments are you addressing and is this a cultural shift you see?

    5. Major pluses you got from the OATS in Salem?

    6. What was the best presentation, why, who, what?

    7. What sort of active transportation issues do you work on around mass transit and walking?

    8. We have walkability audits like what Feet First does in Seattle. What sorts of bikability audits take place, and can you shoot me a pdf?

    9. What can a city like Spokane to do around really making pedestrian activities and viable choices over car ownership a reality?

    10. Is Active Transportation in a place like Spokane and many of the 30,000 or so municipalities in the USA tied really directly to public mass transit?

    11. What is your biggest contrasting observation you are realizing in this new role as ED for Bicycle Alliance?

    12. What is your job description?

    13. People I work with in low income areas tied to getting more women of color walking (and, I guess, biking) see that the Portland- and Seattle-centric thinking about biking and smart growth and new urbanism hurts the cause. How do we work with that, or you, that is?

    14. What does Spokane need to do better with Active Transportation?

    15. What is Spokane and County doing well?

    Well, I didn’t get to get you in on the conversation for the biking story I did, which is attached, but now I can. Send me a phone number and/or email if this is not the best place to contact you.

    Nice seeing you at Oregon Active Transportation Summit in Salem.

    Answers are up to you.

    Who in Spokane can I contact about walking and aging planning and education?

    Thanks, Paul Haeder 509-879-9937

  6. Josh Wilson says:

    I have created a new product that has received a lot of positive feedback! It is called the Repair Rebel. The Repair Rebel Multi- tool that depicts the innovative design that sets us apart from other multi-tools. Our Kickstarter page has several images depicting the many functions of the tool as well as bullet points and a diagram

    What separates this multi-tool from the huge amount of multi-tools on the market already lies in its innovative design; with 24 features included seamlessly in a solid titanium cast.

    The Repair Rebel is a lightweight consolidated alternative to carrying numerous tools along on the job. It may be attached securely under a bike seat, in Bike bag, or attached to a backpack.


  7. courtney says:

    Hello Bike Style Spokane,

    I came across your awesome site and noticed all the great bike information you have. I especially liked the list of various blogs you had listed! As I was reading I thought you and your readers could benefit from a graphic our team created on “The Ultimate Guide to Bicycle Safety”, which we created to educate and help cyclists stay safe while riding.

    If you have a spare minute, please feel free to take a look at the guide http://jknylaw.com/bicycle-safety/ . And if you like this graphic, please feel free to link it to your site! 🙂 I look forward to hearing your thoughts on our project, thanks!

    Keep Cycling!


  8. Josh Arnold says:

    Hi Barb,

    I am a public health graduate student at Emory University and a long-time cyclist. As you and your followers are on “the quest for the intersection of Style and Comfort,” I am the quest for designing stylish and comfortable women’s and men’s bike-friendly apparel. I am currently looking for people that I can contact to administer some market research to better understand what it is people are looking for in this type of clothing. The more information, both quantitative and qualitative, I can gather the better I can identify people’s needs and design accordingly.

    Would you be willing to help me with this research in terms of being a participant for answering questions and possibly a survey? Also, would you be willing to post information regarding my intentions and access to a survey on your website for your followers to participate as well. All this will be an enormous help for me in order to find a way to serve you, your followers, and the other cyclists out there.

    I look forward to hearing from you.
    Best regards,
    Josh Arnold

  9. Josh, sorry that I just saw this–if it’s not too late I’m happy to participate. Emailing you now!

  10. Rebecca Olds says:

    Hi Barb
    The womens’ blog list is so fantastic – wish I’d found it sooner! I’ve been trying to submit a few more for your list (including my own) but find the form keeps producing a “failure” notice. Can I submit the required details to you by e-mail somehow?
    Keep up all the great work please.
    Many thanks

  11. Bicycle Mama says:

    Great job. We need more women (or men!) out there just like you, thank you for all your activism that benefit other cyclists – and eventually, as you say, everyone else, especially our kids!

  12. Hi Barb,

    I’m a writer and a founder of a an all-women’s cycling sportif. I’d like to know how I can get my women’s cycling blog added to your list and talk to you about my event.


  13. Gene Nacey says:

    Hi Barb, I absolutely loved your presentation video. I would like to ask permission to use it on a new blog I’m writing for a local newspaper here in Pittsburgh, PA. The blog is called “Wellness n’at”. It has not launched yet, but will be launched next week. I’m the “voice of all things two wheels” as it were, and I plan on doing a series on commuting in a week or two. We can also put a link to your blog there if you would also be willing to give us permission to use other photos you have on here (we will also make sure to give you proper credit/attribution). Please let me know as soon as you can. Thanks! Coach Gino

  14. Hi Barb,

    We’ve just launched our own cycle helmet range on Kickstarter, and thought we’d approach you as we share your belief in style, comfort and safety on the road.
    We couldn’t find any that we liked the look of so we created our own, aimed at stylish urban cyclists, with a moleskin finish and choice of colours. They’re hand-made in Great Britain – in lovely Cornwall, home of pirates and sunshine (and British surfing – you can laugh), making them the only British-made cycle helmet. See them at http://kck.st/1vFqFyP
    We’re London-based, so we’re launching first in Europe (product out April 2015) and reaching the US and Canada later in the year (we’re aiming for September 2015).
    We’re trying to whip up interest to get moving… is there any way you can feature us on your blog?

    All the best,


    Graham Parker
    Dappercap Ltd
    07799067373 • graham@dappercap.co.uk • twitter.com/dappercap2

  15. Gene, I don’t check comments on this blog very often. Sorry about that.

  16. Nicole, there’s a form on the page at womenbikeblogs.com to submit the blog. I do updates 1-2 times/year.

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The quest for the intersection of Style and Comfort