A conversation with Graham Hollis, BC Board Member
Graham and Cathy Hollis are bicyclists, advocates and generous supporters of Bicycle Colorado and the Denver Streets Partnership. Graham is also an active member of the Bicycle Colorado board and treasurer at Heartcycle Bicycle Touring Club. We spoke with him about his involvement with Bicycle Colorado, why he values bicycling, where he sees bike advocacy going in the future and more.
Graham Hollis was born and raised in the UK and moved to Colorado in 1977. He recalls his biking experience in London as being focused on transportation out of necessity in a large and congested city. He remembers that, as a university student, he and most others he knew biked around the city and to classes. Cathy adds that she regularly uses a bike for commuting and errands because it’s more convenient and quicker.
“I only got into recreation, really, when I came here,” Graham says.
“I probably spend most of my time now recreating on bikes. In this country, it’s a great way to see things and see different parts of the country, rather than taking a car and rushing through the interstate,” he continues.
He first became aware of Bicycle Colorado when he was invited by some friends to a fundraiser event (the predecessor to today’s Gear Up!). He says he got more closely involved after he was hit by a driver while he was biking as the driver was exiting a driveway. Dealing with insurance claims and frustration over the design of the street and parking spaces that reduced his visibility made him realize that bicycle advocacy is important. Having worked in finance previously, he now serves on the Finance Committee for the Bicycle Colorado and Denver Streets Partnership board.
Graham observes that in his time with Bicycle Colorado, our organization’s understanding of different aspects of bicycling has grown—to be inclusive of people riding on- and off-road, riding eBikes, riding for transportation and for recreation and more. He also points out that in the last few decades, “cars and trucks have gotten bigger, and the roads haven’t.” Issues of vehicle safety for those outside of them are more acute when vehicles are bigger. To Graham, other significant advocacy issues include safe rumble strips and wider shoulders, bicycling in state parks, bike tourism and eBikes.
The array of evolving issues in the bicycling advocacy world, Graham says, potentially can lead to fragmentation among advocates.
“The bicycling community is spinning around. Do you have a separate organization for eBikes? For people who live in rural areas as opposed to the city? The answer is no. We’ve got to keep things under one tent. As an organization, I think our strength is that on a good day, we speak for bicyclists in the state.”
Graham sees an analogy to motor vehicles—“You’ve got trucks, you’ve got pickup trucks, you’ve got sport cars, you’ve got old clunkers, and that’s the same for bicyclists.”
As for why Graham believes people should join Bicycle Colorado and be a part of bike advocacy, he says, “I’m trying to avoid just giving you the statement of the obvious … but it’s because of the great advocacy work that we do. Here is an organization that promotes bicycling, and bicycling safety for every bicyclist in the state. Show you’re supporting an organization that’s looking out for your best interests.”