Charlottesville-Area Bicycling Alliance

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The Charlottesville-Area Bicycling Alliance (CHABA) was an organization promoting cycling in Charlottesville-Albemarle. It merged with the Alliance for Community Choice in Transportation in 2000.[1]


CHABA began as the Charlottesville-Albemarle Bicycling Association in 1977. Bob Colley, the owner of Charlottesville Messenger Service, was the primary organizer of the somewhat ragtag gathering of hippies, bike commuters, and racers. At the start, some of the folks I recall are: Roger O'Dell, a racer/commuter; Andre Meyer, a highly talented non-racing racer/mechanic; Melina Colley, Bob's wife and a commuter/touring cyclist; Lauren Cooper Howard, hippie/tipi-dweller and commuter; Nic Nichols, mechanic and commuter; Dan and Joanne Hawley, racer/commuter/grad students. [1]

The first accomplishment was Charlottesville's first Master Bike Plan. Roger O'Dell was the lead organizer and primary person in getting this done; as well as for getting Charlottesville's first bike lane, running up the hill on Barracks Road from Route 29 to Rugby Rd. It only lasted a year or two due to the city's poor design and maintenance. The group also created a bike map of the area which was distributed by the city for many years. [1]

Other members included Ruth Stornetta, a racer/commuter/grad student and Roger Friend, who later bought Blue Wheel bikes. Stornetta took the lead of the organization in the mid 1980's and continued to update the Master Plan and maps. However, by the 1990's, the organization had gone dormant. In 1994 it was renamed the name Charlottesville-Area Bicycling Alliance, and Alexis Zeigler joined shortly. Zeigler's idea was to create a bike lane for West Main Street. He understood this to be the crucial connecting link in town, and where bike lanes had to begin. [1]

West Main Bike Lane

Zeigler and a core group of several supporters spent almost two years lobbying West Main businesses, protesting, leafletting, and attending City Council meetings. A few businesses along West Main resisted so strongly that they claimed the loss of four parking spaces would lead to their failure. The group filled two City Council meetings with hundreds of cycling supporters, all wearing helmets. The group was finally victorious. [1]

Once that was built, Zeigler was able to use that political leverage to get more bike lanes added over several years. Under his guidance, for a time CHABA was considered[who?] a powerful political force in the city, so a far more bike-friendly city administration gradually developed. [1]

Stephen Bach and others gradually took over; more bike lanes grew; and then in the 2000's CHABA's overlap with ACCT led to their merger. [1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 E-mail. Lauren Cooper, CHABA. ""CHABA History"." Message to Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow. December 27, 2010.