Jordan Moore has a theory about Charlotte commuters: There are 5 percent of people who are never going to bike to work and 5 percent who either already are, or are at least considering bicycle commuting. The other 90 percent? They may have never considered it, but could be swayed to ditch the car if given the opportunity, he thinks.
“A lot of those people are sitting in their cars, holding those steering wheels, looking at us (cyclists) going, ‘How do I do that?'” Moore said recently. “People look at Charlotte as this inaccessible thing and it’s like, well no, if you’re adventurous and you get out there and you’re curious, there’s already a lot here.
“The other side of that is, let’s make it even better.”
Making Charlotte a better bike city is a big part of Moore’s new role as Bicycle Program Director with Sustain Charlotte. The position was created earlier this year using a $204,000 grant from the Knight Foundation Cycling Fund, part of a two-year initiative to develop and promote biking in Charlotte.
Our Bicycle Program Director, Jordan Moore, with our new sign outside our office in Brevard Court! pic.twitter.com/cut3xRj3wk
— Sustain Charlotte (@Sustain_CLT) September 8, 2015
Moore, 34, has been in the role for a little longer than a month, but he’s been using a bike as his main mode of transportation for 10 years.
He grew up in Charlotte, going to Providence High and graduating from UNC Charlotte with a history degree. Since then, he has, among other things:
– Opened and then sold a bike-themed coffee shop on North Davidson (Heck Yeah Coffee Hub).
– Worked at a vineyard in France.
– Biked across the country.
– Rebuilt homes in New Orleans.
– Worked on an organic tomato farm in Hawaii.
– Built the bar at Not Just Coffee’s Atherton Mill location.
“Now I’m (more than a month) into what I think is what I’m supposed to do after this kind of 10-year ride of weirdness,” Moore said.
In his role, he hopes to serve as the hub (pardon the pun) of the cycling community in Charlotte.
“There’s kind of a perception … that Charlotte is a traffic-y, hard-to-ride-in city,” Moore said. But Charlotte is “a great city to ride in. A beautiful city to ride in.”
Moore wants to see more people biking in Charlotte, but this doesn’t mean people have to go out and buy fancy bikes and jerseys and log mileage. He just wants people to realize that biking can be an easy, cost-efficient way to commute, and wants it to be easier for bikers to move around the city.
— Sustain Charlotte (@Sustain_CLT) September 22, 2015
Earlier this month, he led a manual bike count, where 40 volunteers went out one rainy morning to count how many people came into Charlotte by foot or bike (“We’re big on walking”).
“That begins a two-year process of us collecting data, so that’s a baseline for us,” Moore said. “We want to educate people in a lot of capacities. And then … on a long-term scale — and by long-term I mean two years — we want to see infrastructure growth here.”
— Sustain Charlotte (@Sustain_CLT) September 12, 2015
When asked about his role in Charlotte’s biking scene, he compares it to an old stereo, where you’ve got a receiver and speakers and wire everywhere, but nothing is labeled and you’ve got to figure out how everything connects.
“Right now I feel like Charlotte, if we were a stereo, is big and it’s on and the record’s spinning and the needle’s down, but we’re sitting there twisting the volume knob and we don’t know how to turn the volume up because we’re not getting any sound out of it,” Moore said.
“So my job is to go back through the system in Charlotte as it relates to bicycles, bicycle infrastructure, bicycle community, and to make the right connections now, that way we pump the volume up and get some good tunes playing out of Charlotte.”
Want to get involved? Sustain Charlotte’s Biketoberfest is Oct. 17 and includes a scavenger hunt and after party at Triple C to support Sustain Charlotte’s bicycle advocacy.
Photo: Adam Jennings/Charlotte Observer
Corey Inscoe is editor of CharlotteFive and is still trying to find a reasonable — and safe — way to bike uptown from his corner of Charlotte. Follow him on Twitter @CoreyInscoe.