I don't have to look around Conway too hard to find inspiration to ride more and do more for bicycle advocacy.
The Reddin Family - This family was awarded the 2012 Bicycle Advocates of the year by the Conway Advocates for Bicycling. Greg Reddin, who serves with me on the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board, and his family epitomize a cycling centric family in a culture that does not necessarily support it. Before we moved to Conway, our family regularly cycled to do errands, go to parks and sporting events, and go out for dinner. The infrastructure, with wide roads and slow traffic speeds in the city where we lived easily supported this activity. However, Conway has a way to go to catch up with its northern neighbors.
Erik Leamon - Erik, owner of the local bike shop, The Ride, has been a cycling advocate in every sense of the word. From starting regular group rides several years ago, to sponsoring every organized bicycle ride that passes through Conway and several that do not, Erik is one of the major factors that has brought the Conway bicycling community to where it is today. But I think the most impressive effort of Erik's to date is the Conway Bike Share & Repair program. Out of a garage on UCA's campus, Erik has solicited an army of volunteers to repair & rebuild bicycles for those in the community who normally could not afford bike store prices. I'm sure he didn't consult his business accountant before starting this endeavor!
Cara and her friends - Cara McKaskle has one of the best stories in 2013. In spring she put a down payment on a brand new bicycle with the understanding it would be a couple months before she could pay it off. A couple weeks later the shop called and Cara feared that her bike had been sold, but instead she was ecstatic to learn that her friends had collected some money and paid off the bike for her! Her story, recognized by the League of American Bicyclists, can be found here: http://bikeleague.org/content/challenge-profile-cara-mckaskle
The Conway Running Club - This year my wife has become more involved in the club, so I have had an opportunity to witness second hand (I'm not a runner) how they function. One thing I was impressed with was the sense of camaraderie and support the members provide each other. It is not unusual for the faster runners to wait around, sometimes for hours, for the slower ones to finish, cheering them on at the finish line.
This brings me around to my increased bicycle advocacy this past year. Seeing the Reddin family win the 2012 Advocate award set an internal challenge for me to see what I could do to earn it in 2013. My efforts paid off and CAB recognized me at the Conway Fall Classic, but just as important I got to witness members of the Conway Running do what they do. While some of them chose to ride one of the shorter routes of classic, they hung around for another 2 hours waiting for my wife and I to finish. For some reason I thought maybe they had gotten word that I was to be presented with the Advocate Award, but when asked if that was the reason they stuck around, the simple response was: "this is what we do."
Inspiration - it's all around us.