Meet the Board - Part 6 - Claire Pittman

Claire Pittman is behind the Baton Rouge Bike Routes and Rides facebook page, where Baton Rouge bicyclists share routes, rides and advice about riding in Baton Rouge (and beyond). Claire and several other parents at the Baton Rouge FLAIM school formed a Bike Club - allowing their children to ride to school together in a safe and enjoyable environment.

Claire Pittman is behind the Baton Rouge Bike Routes and Rides facebook page, where Baton Rouge bicyclists share routes, rides and advice about riding in Baton Rouge (and beyond). Claire and several other parents at the Baton Rouge FLAIM school formed a Bike Club - allowing their children to ride to school together in a safe and enjoyable environment.

Who are you and where are you from? 

Claire Pittman, born and raised in Lake Charles, LA. I studied Mass Communications at LSU and Business at University of Nottingham. I have two delightful children, Liam and Mary. I am currently on the Bike BR board, secretary of the Garden District Civic Association and president of the BR FLAIM PTO and a member of the Celtic Society of Louisiana.

My husband and I began riding bikes around three years ago. We were told by our trusty European friends to get a cheap one-speed bike from Wal-Mart and don’t over think it. Not only did we get cheap bikes, we got the cheapest bikes they had – the decrepit, slightly rusty bikes that had been left in the rain, and our biking adventure began. We started biking from the Garden District to the Farmers Market and the occasional jaunt around the LSU lakes. About two years ago, there was a turning point in my life. I started my own company and was able to work from home, and my kids started attending a neighborhood school, Baton Rouge Foreign Language Academic Immersion Magnet (BR FLAIM). When my husband and I made the decision to live, work and play in Mid-City Baton Rouge, it allowed me to be able to pick up both my kids from school, attend meetings downtown and shop for groceries via bicycle!

Why do you love bicycling? 

I love the freedom, surrounded by air, sunshine and nature, being with my family, connection with the community, wind in my hair.

Why did you join the Bike Baton Rouge board? 

The past few years I have found myself becoming an impromptu bike supporter. Two years ago, I formed the Baton Rouge Bike Routes and Rides Facebook page to expose beginners and casual bikers, especially parents, that biking is very much obtainable in Baton Rouge. This year, with the help of fellow FLAIM bike-riding parents, we formed the BR FLAIM Bike Club to give FLAIM students and their families the opportunity to learn safe urban cycling skills through safety programs, obstacle courses, group ride events and an adult-lead bike train to school.

What do you see YOUR role as with Bike Baton Rouge? What do you do and what are you good at?

My role is encouraging and educating schools and families that bicycling is possible in Baton Rouge. I want to get people comfortable on the streets, and I want to create advocacy and publicity for family biking!

I have over 10 years experience in communications, public policy and disaster recovery. I’m a practical ideas person who works tirelessly to make those ideas happen. 

What would you consider the greatest challenge to bicycling in Baton Rouge?  

BR’s biggest challenge is Safety. Pedestrians cannot walk, bike or jog safely in this city, and the needed public support and encouragement is not where it needs to be.

What are you and Bike Baton Rouge doing to tackle that challenge?  

My goal is to encourage more casual bikers and parents to get on the streets as much as they can. The more visible we are the more the movement will grow. Bike BR hosts safety events at neighborhood schools, which educates kids and parents on safety gear and hand signals. We also host group bike rides. 

What will bicycling in Baton Rouge look like in 1/5/20 years time?

I believe we will have more dedicated bike lanes – hopefully on Government Street, S. Eugene St and in North BR.

What is does your 'ideal' day of bike riding in Baton Rouge look like? 

Clear, cool day, biking my kids to school, heading off to a work meeting, and spending the rest of the day completing normal, daily tasks.

Bike Baton Rouge Board Members (Left to Right) Claire Pittman, Samantha Morgan, Alaric 'Ric' Haag, Kellen Gilbert, Mika Torkkola and Doug Moore (Photograph by Irene Kato)

Bike Baton Rouge Board Members (Left to Right) Claire Pittman, Samantha Morgan, Alaric 'Ric' Haag, Kellen Gilbert, Mika Torkkola and Doug Moore
(Photograph by Irene Kato)