Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Thunderhead Alliance?
The Thunderhead Alliance is a national coalition of state and local bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organizations working in unison to break down the barriers to safe bicycling and walking in North American communities. We bring leaders of our member organizations together to help each other grow our organizations and become more effective.
Who are the members of the Thunderhead Alliance?
Our full members are state and local non-profit 501(c)(3) or (c)(4) bicycle and/or pedestrian advocacy organizations. Some are only months old with a few dedicated leaders. Others have grown their organizations over many years into respected forces with dedicated staff and thousands of members. All are making an impact in their communities. All are learning from each other. We also have individual and corporate membership categories.
Why should we join the Thunderhead Alliance?
By joining the Thunderhead Alliance your state or local bicycle and/or pedestrian advocacy organization will become a part of this network that offers the resources of the most successful, creative and determined bike/ped advocacy leaders. Here are just a few of the many benefits of joining:
- Networking with others
- Email listserv
- Listing on our web site to attract new members to your organization
- Access to members-only resources on our web site (downloadable documents, best practices, sample grants and publications, program resources, etc.)
- On-call expert
- Regional and focused Trainings
- Thunderhead Retreats
- Coming soon: credit card, insurance and other group benefits
When and why did the Thunderhead Alliance form?
In 1996, Bill Wilkinson and Charlie Gandy of the Bicycle Federation of America (now the National Center for Bicycling and Walking) invited 20 leaders of bicycle advocacy organizations to the remote Thunderhead Ranch in Wyoming. There, participants discovered that colleagues around the country were facing both similar challenges in sustaining their advocacy organizations and a common opportunity—the renewal of federal transportation legislation. Soon, these groups were key players in the bike industry-funded Bikes Belong Coalition. The result: After hard work implementing the bill in communities across America, $285 million in federal transportation moneys was invested in bicycling projects over six years.By the end of the second retreat in 1997, these grassroots leaders had recognized that the special energy generated by these gatherings merited the establishment of a permanent organization dedicated to linking state and local bike advocacy organizations and leaders. The Thunderhead Alliance was born! Since then, by staging retreats, hosting regional and focused training sessions, energizing national and international conferences and, most importantly, influencing policymakers at the state and local levels, the Thunderhead Alliance and its member groups have established themselves as the preeminent forces for breaking down the barriers to safe bicycling where it matters the most: at the state and local levels.
Why is it called the “Thunderhead” Alliance?
We took our name from the Thunderhead Ranch in Wyoming where we first came together in 1996.
How can I help the Thunderhead Alliance if I am not a leader of a bike/ped advocacy organization?
Thunderhead’s mission is based on growing the bicycle and pedestrian advocacy movement across North America through our state and local bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organizations so that all can choose to ride a bike. The most important way you can help this effort is to join your state or local bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organization and lend your time and support to their efforts.
What if there isn’t a state or local bicycle and/or pedestrian advocacy organization in my area?
Uh oh, you shouldn’t have asked this question, because the answer is a question to you: Would you like to start a state or local bicycle and/or pedestrian advocacy organization? One of our most important objectives is to help build organizations where none exist. Please contact us to learn how you can grow a bicycle and/or pedestrian advocacy organization in your area.
Can a bicycle or pedestrian advisory committee join the Thunderhead Alliance?
The Thunderhead Alliance is a national coalition of non-profit 501(c)(3) or (c)(4) bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organizations. Bicycle and pedestrian advisory committees are entities of government agencies and so do not qualify for our full membership category. If members of a bicycle or pedestrian advisory committee are interested in helping our efforts, we would encourage them to consider these three options (they can do all three if they like):
1) Become an active member of their local or state bicycle and/or pedestrian advocacy organization and encourage that organization to join Thunderhead if they haven’t already.
2) Join as an individual supporter at $100.
3) Request that the bicycle and/or pedestrian advisory committee join as a part of their government agency as a corporate supporter at $500.
What’s the difference between the FULL state or local bicycle and/or pedestrian advocacy organization members and INDIVIDUAL, CORPORATE, and NATIONAL supporters?
Individual, Corporate, and National supporters receive many of the same benefits as Full advocacy organization members and, with an investment in sponsorship, can attend regional and focused training workshops and Thunderhead Retreats. For more information on memberships and sponsorships,