Montgomery Bike Advocate Robert Traphan
Robert Traphan, a native of Greenwich, Connecticut, settled in Montgomery, Alabama while serving on active duty in the Air Force from 1993 until 1996. He owned and operated a number of Internet companies for more than a decade until 2006, when he took a job as a software engineer with the Alabama Retirement System of Alabama, where he still works today.
Robert became interested in cycling from watching coverage of the Tour de France in 2007 and he was inspired to go out and purchase a bike. His first bike was purchased from a department store and Robert soon was to learn that it was much too small for his 6’2” height. When he thereafter began riding with the Montgomery Bicycle Club, he soon upgraded his ill-fitting department store bike for a much better fitting road bike and by 2008, he had ridden his first century (100 mile ride) – the Tour de Autauga.
Robert continued riding and soon he was averaging 3000-4000 miles a year and riding several centuries of the Alabama Backroad Series (www.alabama-backroads-cycling.com ). By September 2016, Robert had become president of the Montgomery Bicycle Club (MBC), a position that he still holds today. (https://www.mgmbikeclub.org )
I had a chance to speak with Robert about some of the things that the MBC is doing. In addition to putting on the Jim Glassner Memorial Autumn Challenge – which started in 2002 making it 17 years old this fall. Robert was very excited about several other MBC activities:
- Cycling Education Awareness/Book Program – the MBC has partnered with different elementary schools in the Montgomery area to ride to the schools and deliver 800-1500 books to each school for grades K-5 to the children who make a commitment to read and pass on the books. In addition, and coordinated with the School’s principal, MBC members speak with the students about bicycle riding, bicycle safety etc. (www.MgmBikeClub.org/RideForReading ).
- Bike to Work Week – was highlighted by Bike to Work Day on May 17 (https://www.wsfa.com/2019/05/14/montgomery-bicycle-club-marks-national-bike-month-bike-work-week/ )during which time Montgomery’s Mayor, along with members of the MBC and MPD biked to one of the hydration aid stations put in place by the MBC to proclaim Bike to Work Day. These stations have been donated by corporate sponsors and, as of mid July 2019, will be stocked with bicycles and located throughout the City of Montgomery. An app will allow users to rent bikes from Zagster (a company that has worked closely with the City of Montgomery) for use throughout the City. (https://wsfa.com/2019/05/17/city-montgomery-roll-out-bike-sharing-initiative-this-summer/ ). The initial fleet of about 50 bikes is expected to grow rapidly.
- League of American Bicyclist Class and Certification – The MBC has teamed with the League of American Bicyclists to defray the cost of attending a League class which educates on safe cycling practices, including defensive cycling techniques. Class attendees come out safer and more confident cyclists.
As is clear, there are a whole lot of good things going on as regards bicycling in Montgomery Alabama and Robert Traphan and the Montgomery Bicycle Club are making sure that Montgomery will become an even better place to ride a bicycle in the future.