Merriam said his group is affiliated with but more city-centric than Bike Maryland, which tries to improve bicycling conditions and protecting the rights of bicyclists across Maryland, and promotes pro-bicycling legislation on the state level, according to its website, bikemd.org.

Bikemore also works with Baltimore Bike Party, which organizes monthly bike rides on the last Friday evening of each month, starting at the Washington Monument.

"Last month we had 1,300 people," Merriam said.

Education outreach


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Merriam said that for the next 18 months, he will have no other job and no employees as he promotes biking in Baltimore.

"I'm it," he said, adding that for now, he plans to work out of his house and at Charmington's — "wherever my laptop takes me."

He plans to sell memberships to Bikemore, but has not decided on a membership fee, he said. He also plans to work with city officials, who are promoting Bicycle Tracks, a program to install bike lanes on city streets, starting on Mount Royal Avenue. He said he would also like to see the program extended to Maryland Avenue in the Charles Village area.

Merriam also sees education and community outreach as a major focus.

"A lot of people are for (biking) in the abstract. But if you take away a lane of parking (to accommodate a bike lane, for example), people are going to freak out a little bit."

And Merriam said he will have his work cut out as he reaches out to minorities.

"The biking world is dominated by white men," he said. "You can't just go into a neighborhood and say, 'All right, everybody start biking.' "

Word of mouth is already propelling Merriam. Coincidentally sitting at the table next to Merriam in Charmington's was Anna Kleinhasser, 21, of Charles Village, a senior at Johns Hopkins University and a member of its student-run Outdoors Club, which leads biking and hiking trips.

Kleinhasser, who was working on her laptop, couldn't help overhearing the interview with Merriam and asked him afterward for more information and how to get involved.

"It's almost impossible to get around in the city easily without having a car," she said.