About six years ago, native Denverite John Hayden decided that his residential street in Five Points neighborhood needed a bike lane. He called the City to see how he could help make that happen and they directed him to the Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Committee. He went to the group with a question marinating in his mind: How do you build a city that’s healthy and sustainable? It seemed clear to him that bikes are a key part of the answer.
In his travels in other countries, John was able to see how bikes are used for transportation and recreation in a way that improves general quality of life. In many European capitals, bike infrastructure is a respected, integrated part of the landscape. He sees this as an important part of Denver’s continued development as a fit, happy city. “People need to be able to make healthy choices and if they don’t have an environment where the health choice is the easy choice then they are less apt to make the healthy choice. Building bicycle infrastructure that feels safe and easy to use for a wider range of Denver citizens is key to getting more people on bicycles and living a healthy lifestyle.” John says biking can be scary for some people, which can inhibit them from choosing it as a form of transportation. It’s important that we advocate for bicycle infrastructure because it provides a safe built environment that encourages physical activity. Biking greatly reduces obesity and he believes it will create a better city for the next generation of Denver residents.
John has served his community as the chair of the Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Committee for three years, but he also incorporates biking into his work and education. He is pursuing a Master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Colorado Denver, which he believes will support his efforts to make Denver a more sustainable, healthy city. As a realtor for Kentwood City Properties (a past BikeDenver Bike-Friendly Business!), John likes to show houses to prospective buyers by bike. He explains that biking is a better way than cars to experience neighborhoods and get a feel for a community. Another benefit of taking people to see houses on a bike is that they don’t get as tired because they stay active and stimulated. Next time you’re thinking about buying a house, you know who to go see!
In addition to his invaluable contributions to bicycle advocacy and development in Denver, John also enjoys commuting by bike and recreational touring. His favorite bike trip so far took him from Rome, through the beautiful Tuscany countryside, to the breezy coast of Italy. There is no doubt that biking is an important part of John’s life, and we are so happy to have him living, working and riding with us in Denver! We want to extend our gratitude and appreciation for all his hard work. Keep rockin’ and rollin’ John!
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Bike Hero of the Month Awards highlight different people each month, and help encourage other people to bike by telling the Hero’s personal story. The goal of the Bike Hero Awards Program is to showcase the diversity of citizen-cyclists and the people who support them in Denver.
BikeDenver’s Executive Director Piep van Heuven says: “We introduced the Bike Hero awards because we want to encourage a friendly environment for and public image of bicyclists in Denver. One of the ways we can do this is to showcase the different faces of and great stories about people in our community, like Chris, who ride bikes or help others get out there and ride. Through the Bike Hero awards, BikeDenver honors bicyclists of all ages and walks of life, from the first time bicyclist to the rain or shine bicyclist! We all know people (our neighbors, co-workers, family members or community leaders) who inspire us to reach for the handlebars instead of the car keys. Take a moment to look around you and help BikeDenver recognize the people in our community who are making a difference for Denver, one ride at a time!”
To nominate a Bike Hero, please send a photo and a brief description of why you think they should be recognized (100 words or less) to info(at)bikedenver.org.
We started naming Bike Heroes in 2010; meet past honorees here!
BikeDenver is Denver’s bicycle advocacy organization. BikeDenver promotes and encourages bicycling in and around Denver and works to make Denver a better place to ride your bike for fun, recreation and transportation. Why? Because it’s healthy for you, and healthy for Denver. www.bikedenver.org
Bicycle Village has been a Colorado owned and operated business for more than 30 years. From modest beginnings in an 1800 square ft. building in West Denver, Bicycle Village has grown into the largest bicycle retailer in the Rockies. www.bicyclevillage.com