Asheville’s Liberty Bicycles’ Owners Honored for Industry and Advocacy Efforts
Mike and Claudia Nix, co-owners of Liberty Bicycles in Asheville, North Carolina, received the 2010 Clay Mankin Award during the Frostbike tradeshow on February 20. QBP presents the annual honor to a bicycle retailer who makes significant contributions to advance the bicycle industry. As leaders in local, state and national advocacy organizations, the Nixes have implemented numerous initiatives including developing a comprehensive bicycle plan for Asheville; founding the North Carolina Bicycle Dealers Association (NCBDA); and helping secure federal funds for Safe Routes to School efforts in North Carolina.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Their engagement in both bicycle advocacy and the business of helping retailers become better is impressive,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Gary Sjoquist, QBP Advocacy director. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Their efforts are making North Carolina a safer, more enjoyable place to bike, and creating new opportunities for bike dealers across the state.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is really amazing to have this recognition from a wonderful company like Quality Bicycle Products,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Claudia Nix. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We have always admired the company and used them as our role model.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Since founding Liberty Bicycles in 1980, the Nixes have been committed to creating safe places for their customers to ride on and off the road. In 2007, the NBDA recognized their contributions with the National Bicycle Advocate award. Through their work with the NCBDA, the Nixes support the local Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association (SORBA) club, the Blue Ridge Bicycle Club and safety programs for the Healthy Buncombe Coalition, an Asheville-based community wellness initiative. They were instrumental in developing the Alexander Park Mountain Bike Trail, a network of single and double-track loops located in a wooded buffer zone near the Buncombe County Landfill. The Nixs also helped establish the Bike/Pedestrian Task Force for Asheville, which Ms. Nix also facilitates. Together, they lead workshops on how to implement Safe Routes to School programs. Ms. Nix serves on the North Carolina Trails Committee, which oversees the distribution of several million dollars worth of federal funds annually for trail development. Mike Nix, who is currently president of the National Bicycle Dealers Association, is also on the board of the League of American Bicyclists and works with Ms. Nix as a League bicycle instructor.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We have found that being involved in our community through advocacy has created loyalty from our customers,Ã¢â‚¬Â Ms. Nix said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I often receive a thank you from customers for my work and hear that they are purchasing from us because of our dedicated service to the community.Ã¢â‚¬Â
To celebrate their 30th year in business, the Nixes are embarking on a season-long program of advocacy. Projects on the slate include an initiative to integrate AshevilleÃ‚Â¹s short, unconnected greenways to a system of bike lanes that will allow cyclists to travel from downtown to a sports park in western Buncombe County. Using a grant from the National Bicycle Dealers Association, they will begin teaching the Smart Cycling Curriculum of the League of American Bicyclists to eighth graders from the Owen Middle School.
They are also piloting a bicycle awareness program at two driverÃ‚Â¹s education classes and plan to roll out the program to more schools this spring.
QBP created the Clay Mankin Award in memory of Clay Mankin, an influential San Francisco bicycle retailer and advocate who died in 2005.