My name is Alison Kreideweis and I am the Co-Founder and Head Coach of the Empire Tri Club, NYC’s premiere triathlon club and coaching organization. Additionally, I am a member of the US national team for the sport of triathlon, and just returned from racing in the world championships. Empire Tri Club coaches approximately 1000 endurance athletes each year.
The GWB is one of NYC’s most frequented cycling routes for competitive & recreational athletes as well as commuters. There are no recreational facilities in NYC that are not shared with pedestrians – the ONLY way to get quality training in, is to ride over the GWB. The bridge is essential to my organization and the entire triathlon community.
The sport of triathlon has seen exponential growth for the last 20 years. During that time, USA Triathlon membership quadrupled. In just the last 7 years, the number of USAT sanctioned events tripled. In 2000, triathlon was introduced as an olympic sport, and just last month Gwen Jorgenson took home the gold medal for the US, increasing its visibility to the public.
Triathlon is no longer viewed as a fringe sport – it is a mainstream sport. Youth triathlons are on the rise and triathlon is now on the list as one of the top emerging NCAA sports at the collegiate level. As triathlon grows in popularity, the number of athletes who will utilize the most frequented training ground in NYC will sky rocket.
On weekends, 3700 cyclists cross the bridge a day! It ranks 3rd for heaviest bike traffic in NYC. With the increase in bridge traffic, it will simply not be safe or even possible for cyclists to ride across the bridge if improvements are not made, and many will be forced to walk. Have you ever tried walking a mile in cycling shoes?! The plastic cleats make it nearly impossible.
A recent study by USAT shows that triathletes come from high socio-economic backgrounds, have disposable income to spend, pay their taxes, and contribute to our economy. Many of the athletes I train are doctors, lawyers, work in finance, etc. The list goes on. They work hard, play hard, and deserve a first class facility.
It’s a quality of life issue. The city wants to attract these people. Major cities around the country are promoting their cycling infrastructure to attract this demographic, and if NYC does not do the same, we will lose them. Our infrastructure must be up to national standards to support the growth of the sport. Without places to train, people will look elsewhere to live.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak and taking the time to hear our concerns.
For more see: Complete the GWB