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Bike To Work, Promoting Bicycling & Bicycle Encouragement Ideas

Everyday is a good day for encouraging and promoting bicycling everywhere, but often the most organized efforts are done in conjunction with a Bike To Work Day, Bike Week or Bike Month.  Such events happen in countries and communities around the world, but they are not coordinated and there is no international "bike day", but there is a World Car Free Day.  That leaves every bicyclist free to do exactly what will be most successful in their community, exactly when it will have the greatest chance for success -- usually at the beginning of a period of good weather to encourage people to get in the habit of bike commuting (April, May and June in the Northern Hemisphere -- Buffalo, NY does it in September.)  There is a trend towards an international "car free day" on September 22.  And, Earth Day, which is a good opportunity to highlight sustainable transport, is usually celebrated in late April, and Clean Air Month (USA) is May.

Since 2004, in the USA, National Walk to Work Day is celebrated on the first Friday of April.  It is promoted by the American Podiatric Medical Association and the US Department of Health and Human Services. An Australian Walk to Work Day is celebrated in October.

To hook up with activities in a specific geographical area check the links at the bottom of this page or go to the "Advocates Worldwide" section of www.ibike.org/links and contact a local organization.

Here are some activities that have been organized in the past as part of bike days and bike weeks:

Rest Stops or Energizer Stations or Check-Point

The easiest level of organization is a simple "rest-stop" or "check-point" with a friendly smile and encouragement. The "rest-stop" can grow from there to include swag, treats, local bike maps, tire pumps and/or a repair stand and tools for basic adjustments to make participants ride more pleasurable.

Collecting some give-aways is always a good strategy for generating additional interest in the station and the event: beverages, food energy bars, reflective stickers, canvas bike bags, sun block samples, water bottles, patch kits, safety literature, local bike maps, etc.

Bike Pool

Announce pooling location(s) and time(s) so people can ride to the employment center(s) as a group for one day.

Celebrity Bike to Work Ride or Loop Ride

Invite city, county and state officials, politician, media, entertainment and sports celebrities to bike to work or to ride a loop that might include some completed bicycle infrastructure projects or badly needed infrastructure projects, or goes through a number of neighborhoods, or otherwise creates visibility for the bicycle and for the celebrity.

Recruiting the key participants is often more difficult than it sounds because "leaders" are often more followers than leaders -- unless they can be convinced that it is going to be "cool" to be on a bike, they may not want to be out front on this.  You may need to be very strategic and savvy to achieve this package.  If you can recruit a "key leader" to participate, that the other (following) leader will following because they don't want to be left behind, you will doing well.  Sometimes leaders don't feel comfortable bicycling for any number of reasons.  One way to overcome this is to offer to pair them up on a tandem -- of course this requires recruiting some tandem captains and their bikes.

It might also help your efforts to recruit officials and celebrity if you can promise them an opportunity to speak into a microphone -- they live for those moments. At the beginning or the end of the ride schedule a rally so the leaders can say their peace.  Plan this carefully so the order of speakers is thought through.  The protocol for these events can different from culture to culture, but generally the most important guest speak near the top of the roster.

Bike-Buddy Program

A mentoring program which pairs experienced bicycle commuters with people who are just getting started -- but it also could be offered to help people get into touring cycling.  The mentor helps on topics such as: finding a route, strategy for dressing to cycle in different weather and lighting conditions, bike storage, clean-up at work, get work clothes back and forth, etc.

Bicycle Lecture / Workshop / Clinic Series

  • Introduction to Bicycling
  • Fitting and Purchasing A Bike
  • Bicycle Safety
  • Bicycle Repair & Maintenance
  • Simply Flat Repair
  • Bike Commuting
  • Cycle Touring
  • Bicycle Travelogues
  • Woman and Cycling
  • Cycling with Kids and Families
  • Bicycle Activism: You Can Help Make Your Community More Bicycle Friendly
  • Folding Bicycles
  • Recumbent Bicycle
  • Bicycling in Very Hot Weather
  • Biking in Very Cold Weather and Winterizing Your Bike
  • Etc.

Newspaper Biking Column

  • The same list of topics as above would be a starting point.

Bicycle Film Festivals

The same films can be shown year after year and still draw a crowd.

All Seasons Bicycle Fashion Show

Get some target group like local high school student involved as the models.

Curate An Exhibit of Old, New and Exotic Bikes, or Fine Art with Bikes

You might be surprised with what lurks in the garages of your community.

Grade School Bicycle Poster Contest

Use one of the winning posters to publicize next years event (it need to be clear that all entries are the property of the organizers.)

Bike Commuter Fair

Provide displays of commuter information, give out maps, coordinate a "bike buddies" program and have a bike repair station.

Organize A Bike Commuter Competitions

The company or agency with the most and highest percentage of bike commuters should at least get tons of recognition.

Stage A Commuting Race

A bicyclist, transit user and single occupancy vehicle start from an outlying neighborhood and head for a final destination in the central business district at rush hour to see who is fastest.

Children's Bicycle Safety Class or Rodeo

  • "Speed Trap" - In conjunction with other safety activities, invite the police to come with their radar gun and clock how fast the kids are going.

Charity Fundraising Bike Ride

These tend to have higher profiles and you can plug into the resources of the charity.

Schedule A Series of Theme Rides

Public Art; Bakeries; Moonlight or Midnight Madness; Local Historic; Architectural (i.e. solar homes); New Riders Ride; Romantic Spots For Bicyclist, etc.

Ride with Your Elected Officials (Parade of Politicos)

Organize a fun ride for politician, (possible on a tandem if they aren't comfortable riding by themselves).  While you are at it get an official proclamation!

Stage An Event To Highlight A High Priority Project

Ride through an important project area.  This can be done in conjunction with the "Parade of Politicos".

Recognition / Awards Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner / Gala (in a visible place)

Bicycle awards program, with awards to politicians, employers, activist, lifetime achievement, inspirations or whatever other categories are appropriate for the community.

Bike Rally or Festival

Quite likely would involve a combination of several of the above elements and might include entertainment.

Bicycle Swap

Kids bike swap: Run by the community bike program in a park in early May. They supply the initial 20-30 bikes. People bring a kids bike, it is "valued" at $0-5 below what it will be sold for ($10 for $15, $15 for $20, etc.) and the supplier gets this as a credit towards another bike. All the price are kept low and in a fairly narrow range. People can buy without donating a bike and some people donate a bike but aren't interested in buying. When there is good publicity about 100 bikes turnover and the program makes over $500 and a lot of good will.

Adult bike swap: These are essentially a bicycle flea market. The promoter rents the space and charges both vendors and buyers. The fee for a booth is: $50-60 for commercial vendors and $10-20 for individuals. Admission for browsers is a few bucks.

Bike-To-Work Week Sale at Bike Shops

Suggest that they also do window display and promote Bike-to-Work Week to their customers.

Collective Bike-To-Work Newspaper Ad

Fitness Club Shower Promotion

Fitness Clubs can let non-members in from 7:00 to 9:00 AM for showers.

Velodrome Activities

Draw new people to the velodrome with introductory clinics on how to race on a velodrome, or about different kinds of velodrome events.  Stage some races for newbies.

Blessing of the Bike

Non-denominational, can incorporate elements from a variety of spiritual and ritual traditions.

Bicycle Art Exhibit

Think multimedia: drawings, sculptures, electronic and bicycles themselves.  It could incorporate an area where people paint and decorate bicycles so that they become art.

Novelty Bike Races

One-Speed Coaster Brake Criterium and other non-traditional categories can draw out new faces and talent.

Organizing A Bike to Work Event

  1. Choose a Bike to Work Week coordinator
  2. Get a Bike to Work team together
  3. Call a meeting
  4. Decide on an event(s)/activity(s)
  5. Set up a planning schedule / work plan
  6. Recruit volunteers for pre-event and day-of-the-event task
  7. Choose a location(s)
  8. Arrange for facilities
  9. Arrange for incentives
  10. Coordinate with other organizations
  11. Promote your event (at least half the work)
  12. Have a fun time.

Bicycle Friendly Community

"Bicycle Friendly Community" is a project of the League of American Bicyclists, The purpose is to increase awareness and acceptance of bicycling as a means of transport, recreation, and fitness, and to promote bicycle safety both on and off the road.

The program achieves its purpose by:

  • Encouraging local governments to make a continuing commitment to developing and maintaining safe on and off street bicycling facilities.
  • Requiring communication between local government and the bicycling community on cycling related issues.
  • Promoting bicycling events and bicycle safety.
  • Recognizing communities meeting bicycling related criteria.

For the complete program description and qualification process contact:  LAB, 1612 K St NW #401, Washington DC 20006 USA. Email: [email protected]. Internet: www.bikeleague.org (1997)


99 Alternative Names for "Bike to Work"

An internet list brainstormed on alternative names for events that tried to clear urban streets of polluting machines.  If you are so inclined here are some names you can choose from:

21st Century Transport Day
A Day To Breath
A Day Without Congestion
Air and Noise Pollution Free Day
Alternate Transport Day
Alternative Traffic Day
Better Transport With Less Traffic
Beyond Barriers
Bike Everywhere Day
Bird Singing Day
Breath Easy Day, Breath-Free Day
Car Conscious Day, Transportation Consciousness Day
Car Free Sundays
Car Rest Day ("Your car also deserves a rest")
City Revival Day
Clean Air Day
Clean Monday (If it happens to be Monday - Or Green Tuesday / Clean Tuesday if it happens to be Tuesday etc.)
Clean Motion Day, Clean Transport Day, Clean Travel Day
Community Transport Day
Congestion Relief Day
Day By Foot
Drive-Less Day
Enhanced Transport Day
Enjoy Moving Day
Enjoyable Transport Day
Entertaining Transport Day
Face Freedom Day
Fair Mobility Day
Flower Smelling Day
Free Moving Day
Free One's Selves From Cars
Free Ride Day
Free The Environment From Its Pollutants
Friendly Transport Day
Funny Transport Day
Future Displacement
Future Moving
Future Transport Day
Go! Clean Day, Go! Green Day
Green Monday, Green Transport Day, Greener Transport Day, Green Travel Day
Harmless Transport Day
Healthy And Happy Day
Healthy Transport Day
Human Powered Day, Human Transport Day, Human Powered Mobility Day
Independence Day
Innovative Transport Day
Leave Your Car Day, Leave Your Car to Day, Leave Your Car for the Day, 
Less Traffic Day
Liveable Transport Day, Liveable City Day
Lose it and Move it
Motor Free Day
Neighborhood Day
No Gas Day, No Smog Day
People's Transport Day
Operation Ring-Ring (common in Europe)
Quiet Streets Day, Quiet Transport (Mobility?) Day
Really Enjoy Moving
Restful (Mobility) Transport Day
Ride & Walk Day
Road Rage Elimination Day
Safe Streets Day
See Your City Day
Sleeping Car Day
Sleeping Restful (Mobility) Transport Day
Strive Not To Drive Day
Sustainable Transport Day
Traffic Free Day, Traffic Peace Day, Traffic Reduction Day, Traffic Silence Day
Transportation Of The People, By The People, For The People
Transportation Solutions Day
Travel Clean Day, Travel Green Day, Travel Smart Day
Travel To Work Awareness Day
True Transportation Enjoyment, True Transportation Joy
UnCar Day
Unclog The Arteries Day
Urban Community Day
Walk & Ride Day
Walking and Bicycling Makes (You) Environment Friendly Day
World Car-Free Day

And finally, from Murray Matson in Australia, the ever so restrained suggestion, "Death to the Car Day". (That should be an easy one to sell.)

Links

Bike Month / Bike to Work Day (USA)
Bike to Work Day search on Google
BiketoWorkWeek.org
Car Busters
Earth Car Free Day
Earth Day search on Google
Earth Day Network

European Mobility Week
Gas Free Commute
In Town Without My Car
Songs: "Critical Mass" & "If Cars Were Banned"  by Heather Lev.  MP3 format, plus complete lyrics, free (click on "MP3 & Lyrics" on the left side of the page)
UK Bike Week (usually in June)
World Car Network

 

 
 

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