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New League Staff: Amelia Neptune

Yesterday we welcomed Steve Clark to staff, and today we are introducing Amelia Neptune, our new Bicycle Friendly America Program Specialist. 

We’re excited to welcome Amelia to staff! She’ll be managing the Bicycle Friendly Business and Bicycle Friendly University programs.  What’s Amelia’s story? We talked to Amelia to learn more about her biking background… 

What’s your first memory of riding a bike?

I remember my grandpa Bruce teaching me to ride a bike near my childhood home in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We had just recently moved to Albuquerque from a house in the mountains that was on the end of a long, rocky dirt road, and it was so exciting to live in a neighborhood with paved streets so that I could ride a bike.

You’re coming from a university setting — how was that experience, and how do you think it will translate to your work here at the League?

I started out at the University of Illinois working on general sustainability issues for the campus, and over the course of my first year, the job evolved into Campus Bicycle Coordinator based on the growing demand for bicycle infrastructure and programs on campus. 

Being the Campus Bicycle Coordinator for a large state university in a small town was a fantastic introduction to the world of bicycle planning and advocacy. Champaign-Urbana and the University of Illinois have a great history of bicycle infrastructure and a solid group of bicycle enthusiasts and advocates in the community pushing for more improvements. In my role there I experienced first-hand what some common challenges are to making such improvements, and I’m excited to now be in the position to help others facing those challenges.  I would love to expand the Bicycle Friendly University and Bicycle Friendly Business programs from the awesome reporting and recognition tools that they are today to become an even stronger mechanism to help bicycle staff and advocates accomplish their goals by sharing resources and best practices among applicants. The program has so much potential, and I’m excited to see where we can take it! 

What got you interested in working for the League?

Before I moved to Champaign-Urbana, I was not a regular rider, and I was even a little intimidated by bicycles. I quickly realized that bicycling was the most convenient way to get to work when I started at the University of Illinois, and before I knew it, I had become a daily bicycle commuter. Living in a Bicycle Friendly Community, working at a Bicycle Friendly University, and taking Traffic Skills 101 were all a huge part of this transition for me, so I can personally vouch for the importance of the League’s work and the value of creating a more Bicycle Friendly America. 

I loved my job as Campus Bicycle Coordinator, and basically wanted to keep doing that work at an even bigger scale. I am excited about the potential impact of creating more communities, campuses and workplaces that enable and encourage bicycling for transportation to help others make the same transition I made. 

What drives you to do this kind of work?

I am deeply passionate about sustainability and the environment, and I think we all have a role to play in maintaining our planet’s finite resources. How we get around on a daily basis is one of those seemingly small decisions that almost every person makes almost every day, and it adds up to a huge collective impact.  For me, creating a more Bicycle Friendly America is about making bicycling a more convenient and accessible transportation option so that more people see their bicycle as the obvious choice when deciding how to get around each day. 

What bike are you riding now and what inspires you about cycling?

I have a brand new (to me!) refurbished Mikado mixte that was a going away present from the staff and student volunteers at the University of Illinois’ Campus Bicycle Shop. I had started rebuilding this bike myself earlier in the semester as part of the Shop’s build-a-bike program, but I was incredibly slow at it. After I got the job at the League, it was clear that I wouldn’t have time to finish the bike before I left town, so I relinquished it for someone else to build. The staff and students pulled together and finished it for me, and surprised me with it on my second-to-last day of work. It was the best going away gift I could have ever asked for!

Even before I rode a bike regularly, I considered myself a bicycle ally because I appreciated how many of the world’s problems are solved by the bike. I love that something so simple can represent so many solutions. 

(Amelia is standing in front of a mural created by Molly Poganski, of the Living Letter Press)