I want to create better biking in my town…….
|I don’t know about stuff like that||I’m not an advocate||I’m tired|
|I couldn’t get up and speak like that||I would ride a bike, but it just isn’t safe||I don’t want to make waves|
When we use and hear the term cycle advocacy it often conjures up images of strident, tireless campaigners who seem to know an awful lot and be unafraid to speak out.
However many of us don’t feel like we fit the job requirements.
If that is you then don’t give up, because I bet you can answer these questions with ease:
- Do you shop, drink coffee or spend money with local businesses?
- Do you wish there were more places you could ride your bike to?
- Do you wish there was more support for biking in your area?
- Can you smile and be friendly and encouraging?
If you answered yes to these questions then you are a key part of building the future of active transport.
Why? Because as well as sorting out the technical stuff and building infrastructure, the future of active transport depends on political willpower and leadership. You don’t need to stand for election or even campaign for anyone. But you can help by showing businesses that their customers do ride bikes (or would like to).
Changing perceptions, one at a time
Councils need businesses on-side and without their support political willpower can waver.
But my customers don’t ride bikes
The perception that customers don’t ride bikes contributes to businesses opposing biking infrastructure. Councils need businesses on-side and without their support political willpower can waver.
Friendly conversations count
Stereotypes and preconceptions can be changed simply and subtly. Humans distrust what they don’t know and can’t relate to. If someone you know and value (i.e. a regular customer) fronts up and says ‘hey, I biked here’ or ‘gee I wish I could feel safe enough to bike here’ then it contributes to changing mindsets. Friendly conversations can achieve a lot when done in a respectful manner, with a smile, and lots of smiling and nodding when they want to gripe a bit.
Everyone counts. Our impacts are cumulative. Don’t think for a minute that you don’t count or can’t make a difference. This is a long game. We doing this for our kids and grandkids. You count and you can help.
Tools for the Job
In these days of flat-pack and self-assembly we are used to a bit of ‘facilitated DIY’. Bikes Welcome is a bit like that. One person, or even several can’t possibly visit every business in New Zealand and invite them to support biking. (Although it would make a lovely extended bike tour….). That’s why Bikes Welcome is designed the way it is. It is a toolkit that you can take and adapt to your local needs.
The power it runs on is people power, and that power is you.
Bikes Welcome makes it easy to say “Yes I Bike” and to ask for, and get, great bike parking. That’s why it is based on the idea of ‘two minute advocacy’.
Here are some ways you can make use of it:
Find out more
Find out how easy it is to ask businesses to become Bikes Welcome Businesses
Request printed invitations
Be sent some postcard invitations which you can hand out.
If you are part of a local group promoting biking, consider using Bikes Welcome’s ‘toolkit‘ as part of your work. You may even be able to apply for funding from your council or environmental organisation to implement projects such as Bike Friendly Business Districts.
Get in touch and we will help you get started and share tools & materials you can re-use or re-purpose to suit your local need or project. We can help with funding suggestions too.
Love Cycling Awards