The Bikes Belong Foundation is excited to announce a $100,000 grant from REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.) to expand their Bicycling Design Best Practices Program. The Program showcases the best models for bicycle transportation from Europe and North America to help American cities make bicycling a safe and practical choice for short trips.

The award will be used to fund the newly created REI Best Practices Grants, available to cities whose leaders have participated in a Bikes Belong Best Practices workshop or study tour and have an REI store in their metropolitan area. The grants will support new or redesigned bicycle infrastructure in recipients’ hometowns based on what they’ve experienced in the world’s best bicycling cities. Grant recipients will be required to evaluate the success of their bicycle facility improvements.

“Thanks to REI’s support, we will be able to help many more individuals, legislators, engineers, and business developers bring home and implement the best new ideas in bicycle infrastructure design in their communities,” said Bruno Maier, vice president of Bikes Belong.

The REI Best Practices Grants will help jumpstart cost-effective, next-generation bicycle transportation advances such as physically protected bike lanes, colored pavement, and bicycle-specific traffic signals that make bicycling an appealing and safe choice for short trips in urban environments.

Bicycling is experiencing unprecedented growth in U.S. cities as mayors and transportation officials appreciate the multiple benefits and low-cost of investing in bicycling. The number of frequent bike users has grown 40% nationwide in the past 10 years and 62% in America’s 70 largest cities, improving public health, decreasing traffic congestion, and saving city governments costly road maintenance and parking-related expenses. More than 40% of all trips Americans make are two miles or less, a distance that can be quickly and easily traveled on two-wheels.

Grant applications for the first round are due on October 28, 2011. Visit REI Grant Programs page for more information about eligibility.

About REI
REI is a national outdoor retail co-op dedicated to inspiring, educating and outfitting its members and the community for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship. Founded in 1938 by a group of Pacific Northwest mountaineers seeking quality equipment, REI is committed to promoting environmental stewardship and increasing access to outdoor recreation through volunteerism, gear donations and financial contributions.