- Biking is the new “going out”: Most U.S. citizens are under orders to stay at home, except when it comes to essential trips and exercise (the socially-distanced kind, of course). Biking is one of few options for going anywhere. To the grocery store. To escape the rugrats now on an extended summer break. Or to get a dose of nature. A study published last summer found that those who spent two cumulative hours in nature a week were generally considered healthier than those who spent less time outside.
- Increased road safety: Safety concerns are always in the top reasons cited by people who are interested in biking (or riding more) but don’t. With people sheltering in place, traffic everywhere is significantly reduced, and there’s hope that cities will rethink the priority given to cars going forward. So with a major barrier to cycling removed, at least for now, we should be encouraging our customers and constituents to try biking.
- Bikes have more cultural cache: In the past few weeks, the bicycle has taken on a much greater meaning. They represent freedom; the world outside the home; autonomy. For me personally (and, I’m already a daily bike commuter) biking reminds me of a time when I used to use my imagination more. So if you need me, I’ll be at my new “bar”:
- Live demos, classes, or Q&As: Staff at one of our clients is running virtual bike classes with topics ranging from Commuting 101 to Fix-a-Flat to Bike Buying and Anatomy to more. Anecdotally, attendees tend to be folks who have never participated in bike events before, a good indication that this disruption in routine is bringing folks out of the woodwork. Another client is hosting a Q&A session with a panel of “Bicycle Champions” that anyone in their work network can join. In terms of platforms, we’ve found that Zoom and Facebook Live work well. And generally we opt for the split screen of instructor webcam and presentation slides. For more ideas of how to pull off virtual programming, check out our Online Bike Forum with Facebook’s bike program managers.
- Special newsletters: We’ve been sending “special editions” to employees at our clients to encourage riding right now. Content ranges, but includes everything we mentioned above and then some: Guides to buying indoor trainers, how to ride safely during the pandemic, to a video of Stephen Colbert changing a bike tube in his garage.
- Promote bike media: We’re streaming tons of movies and TV shows anyway right now. Why not watch some great bike docs? In fact, our favorite tale of bike triumph, Motherload, is now available to rent for $7.
- Make it an adventure or mission: Biking gets us out in our world, and although we don’t have access to many of our normal places at the moment, there are still many wonders to behold. Need ideas? Find gems in Atlas Obscura. Participate in the City Nature Challenge in April and May and help document and identify the species of the world. Encourage geocaching (finding treasures hidden by other geocachers) by bike. Create a bike bingo card (see Kirkland’s as an example) or a home-baked scavenger hunt. Perhaps issue one bike challenge per day in a month with decent weather and package it like an advent calendar (ok, I admit, I’d love a bike version of this).
- Advanced EDU: This is the phase where people may start to thirst for more cycling knowledge. We recommend offering modules on Urban Riding and How to Ride in the Rain. We also think this is the time to introduce fitness tracking apps, like Strava, if there’s an appetite.
- Reach out if you have questions: We know from experience that every organization is different. Bikes Make Life Better can help you develop a custom Bike Back to Work plan to suit your specific audience and needs.
Bikes Make Life Better is dedicated to helping employees at large organizations use bikes for healthy sustainable transportation. They’ve helped design bike programs, facilities, and fleets for Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Netflix, Stanford, Uber and others.