Marketing the Simple Bicycling Lifestyle

Today there is an interview with me on funsherpa, whose tag line is “uncovering what interesting people are interested in.” What a compliment! In my experience people who ride bikes to get around tend to be pretty interesting – they are independent people who take the time to question and challenge the status quo.

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One of the most thought-provoking questions funsherpa asked me was:

Lets say you worked for a marketing firm tasked with getting Chicagoans to switch over from cars to bikes – what would you do?

I would use all the tactics that automobile advertisers use. They show the car as sexy, safe, freeing, fun, attractive, normal, necessary. In my experience, these adjectives describe bicycling more accurately than driving, especially in the city. Bicycling delivers the kind of freedom that car advertising promises. We need images of successful and happy people on bikes dressed nicely, going on dates, smiling and laughing. Exposure to such images, like those on Copenhagen Cycle Chic, is necessary to show the public the possibilities that the bicycle presents. Most women here have no idea that riding a bike with a skirt and heels is easy; that bicycling does not have to be a sport; and that the bicyclist does not have to get sweaty.

My answer is a start, but I’d like to hear all of your ideas. We’ve touched on this in The Bike Commuter Stereotype, and now we’d like to take the issue head-on. What would you do with unlimited resources, or what can you do working with the resources you have? How do we go beyond preaching to the choir and reach the general public – posters, commercials, product placement in movies? Let’s hear your ideas!

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66 thoughts on “Marketing the Simple Bicycling Lifestyle

  1. I am going to be difficult here and say that I do not believe it is my place to market cycling to the public. I personally cycle every day, enjoy cycling very much, and feel that cycling has improved the quality of my life more than I can express. I also have not driven a car since 2007. However, I feel that it would be self-righteous of me to look upon cycling as a moral thing that others “should” do. I guess I am a libertarian at heart and find personal liberty and independent thought to be values that trump all other values. Sometimes I feel that cycling activism comes close to overstepping the boundaries of respecting these things – especially when it embraces the use of corporate mass-marketing strategies to try to spoon feed people a message about cycling in the same way advertisers sell them cars and detergents.

    You know that I read, love, and respect your blog very much – but on this issue our opinions differ. I hope my expressing these views causes no offense, and feel free to delete this comment if you think it is too argumentative.

    • dottie says:

      Of course, all views are welcome! I understand what you’re saying. I think marketing is important for cycling because so many people have no idea that it’s feasible as transportation. Also, the question was what if it was your place? ;)

      • “I think marketing is important for cycling because so many people have no idea that it’s feasible as transportation”

        I guess my answer to that would be information, rather than marketing. What bothers me about the idea of marketing per se, is that it subverts the organic “grassroots” development of cultural phenomena and homogenises everything by imposing strong examplars of its own vision. But never mind, I am getting too critical-theorist here.

        • Mike says:

          Thought-provoking on both sides of this question. As a media/communications guy, I found Dottie’s answer concise and compelling — high marks.

          But as a regular dude and a bit of a curmudgeon, I have to say that the more aggressively cycling is “marketed,” the more resistant I am to embracing it. For years I found the “I ride my bike to work” people I encountered preachy and a bit hard to take. See, for example, every story the Sacramento Bee has ever done on cycling.

          When I finally encountered people whose love of riding a bike seemed personal and in no way part of a larger mission, I began to let myself embrace it.

          Each of you are blog favorites of mine for this reason exactly. Your love of biking and your bikes is contagious.

          Many thanks to you both.

    • The fact that you simply ride, consistently and openly, makes you a two-wheeled marketing campaign of sorts. Frankly, it’s the best kind of marketing there is: people doing it, quietly and without fuss, every day.

      • dukiebiddle says:

        I think I’m a terrible advocate in my riding. I proudly ride ratty old bikes, wearing ratty old clothes, peddling through ratty old neighborhoods, and I’m skinny as a rail. I’m guessing 8 out of 10 observers probably think I’m a drunk or an addict. :-)

      • Stealth marketing?
        : )

    • Catherine says:

      I understand where you’re coming from, I have a libertarian streak in me too. I mainly have those feelings about vegetarian activism, though (I swear to you it feels like the New York Times is trying to brainwash and/or shame us all into becoming vegetarians). Nothing drives me battier than people who think that every one should do exactly as they do because it’s the best, nay, ONLY way (this attitude is also seen quite strongly in child-rearing debates, too).

      I think that there’s a difference between trying to “convert” people and showing the possibilities that exist (without judgment), backing off and allowing people to make up their own minds. I think in this way, some sort of PR (commercials, posters, whatever) showing cycling as a safe, normal non-fringe mode of transport (not just a sport or something reserved for those on the fringes of society), that would help a lot.

      I almost wonder if a campaign from a bike company would make more sense than from a bike activist group….it’s commercial and consumerist, yes, but that IS how our world goes ’round, no?

      • dukiebiddle says:

        I think activism, in its most naked form, is always preachy and annoying. Vegetarian advocates make me want to eat a burger, recycling advocates make me want to litter, missionaries make me want to sin. I guess that’s why I find the marketing approach so much more palatable than the preaching approach.

        • Aaron says:

          Activism is annoying simply because it suffers from the usual feedback problems. Just like your cellphone, if an activist broadcasts a message and doesn’t receive a response (typical as most people don’t like the message), he/she boosts the signal. If you’re finding an activist annoying, simply say that you hear what he/she is saying and will think about it. Then do actually think about it, because, you know, he/she might be right.

        • Yokota Fritz says:

          That’s one of the big points that Mikael of Copenhagenize gets on — a lot of us (and I include me in “us”) are just so preachy about this bike thing. Just ride and have a good time!

          I like Dottie’s list of “sexy, safe, freeing, fun, attractive, normal, necessary.” That might work on a t-shirt.

    • Tom says:

      Lovely,

      I love your independent streak but, as head of this marketing firm, I’m going to have to let you go. Nudging people in directions that they weren’t inclined to go is what we do here. I’m sure you can see that this position is not a good fit.

  2. Beany says:

    I’m all about promoting how much a cyclist is going to get laid if they ride a bike. One will have a hotter body, more stamina, more money, and be more interesting overall than any ole car driver. This is directly from the car advertising campaigns. I’m still struggling over where to actually have sex, since doing it on a bike could get tricky. But with all that gas money that a cyclist saves, the cyclist could get a room in a fancy pants hotel.

    The second tactic is about the safety. There is so much obsession with this notion of safety. So I have some offensive ideas…I’ll offer some (but those without the stomach to read offensive things please shield your delicate eyes):

    Hard for a child molester to kidnap your baby on a bike, Hard to “forget” your kid on a hot summer day on a bike. Also if we gave everyone that went to jail a bike, it is easier to monitor whatever criminal activities they’re up to. Hard to transport vast quantities of drugs on a bike. Bikes can be used as a weapon to smack attackers.

    You get the idea :)

  3. Preach on! Marketing bicycling to the masses as a valid option for day-to-day use has to become a must for all types of pro-bike groups, from bloggers all the way to government groups.

    And we need to remember that the best marketing we can do is to ride as what we’d like others to ride, and to do it consistently.

  4. I would say:
    Its convenient and you won’t have to deal with traffic and parking anymore. Also, cycling makes people happier, more energetic and healthier. And its alot cheaper than driving.

    Its not dangerous – you learn to deal with riding with other vehicles the just like you learn to drive with them. Also, you CAN wear anything that you want to on a bike. Bicycling isn’t dirty, greasy or sweaty.

    CopenhagenCycleChic came to SF a few days ago and presented on this topic. Great presentation, though I think most of the ppl attending were already at least some what leaning towards this angle rather than the macho, daredevil “hardcore” cyclist angle.

  5. cosmoblue says:

    I agree that marketing cycling the same way that you would anything else that you wanted to sell. As much as I wish leading by example was the way to do it the voice saying that cycling is dangerous and manly is too loud for good examples to be heard. Bike companies need sophisticated TV commercials during Glee.

  6. As we all know, bikes are green and healthy, but we already get nagged to death about saving the earth and exercising more.

    I think fashion will drive people to cycling. It sounds frivolous but if you look cool on a bike others will want to emulate you.

  7. philippe says:

    I would say, from my Paris experience, that a key to the “switch” is, indeed, to demonstrate that a bike is just another mean of transportation, not a sport equipment.
    The only way to achieve that, IMO, is to lead by example : To put more cyclists on the road, what you need are cyclists on the road… regular folks, your neighbor or co-worker, demonstrating that going through your life on a bike rather than in car can be done, just like that.
    To break that vicious circle, marketing won’t really help. Public infrastructure will : Massive spending in infrastructures : Bike paths / lane / roads. Bike parking. A huge bike share program. And a little help from marketing of course.
    It worked where I lived.

  8. Frits B says:

    Marketing is not what would come to my mind first. It’s the hostile environment that should be dealt with in the first place. “What would you do with unlimited resources, or what can you do working with the resources you have?” Easy, don’t spend it on advertising but start by providing proper bike lanes and paths. Not much more expensive than an advertising campaign and once the facilities are there no advertising is necessary. Keep cyclists away from the real danger on the road and they will pop up everywhere. The only advertising you will see after that is from bike brands :-).

    • dottie says:

      I agree that infrastructure is the most important piece of the puzzle, but this sort of complete infrastructure is not going to happen any time soon here, not until some huge political shifts occur.

      • They have to go hand in hand. Infrastructure is awesome, but it has to be accompanied by a cultural awareness, shift and acceptance of the use of said infrastructure as a regular occurrence. Otherwise you have great bikeways that are grossly underused and become a waste of taxpayers’ money.

        • dukiebiddle says:

          Agreed. I grew up in a planned community with hundreds of miles of bike paths built in with the planning, and nobody has really ever used them that much. Don’t get me wrong, I think bike infrastructure is great, but just because you build it doesn’t mean that they will come. I think some sort of massive cultural paradigm shift needs to occur before society as a whole can reap the benefits of increased cycling, and I think the marketing approach is far more effective in bringing that about than any other type of advocacy.

          • cycler says:

            Were they just recreation paths, or did they actually lead to places that people wanted to go?

            • dukiebiddle says:

              Each neighborhood was hubbed with an elementary school, a community center and a store: all paths led to the hub. 6 or so neighborhoods made up a village, at the center of the village was a grocery store, an interfaith center, a larger community center, and a shopping center. Paths from each neighborhood led to the village hub. 8 or 10 (can’t remember) villages made up the city of 80 thousand. The path network connected each village to the city center with a shopping mall, a business district etc.,… it was all very well planned.

              The paths were used to occasionally walk dogs. In high school we were big fans of using the paths to get high. Nobody would ever pass.

      • Frits B says:

        True, but without infrastructure forget effects of marketing. People will not move on to what is perceived as a dangerous existence, no matter how much positive marketing is aimed at them. Read Philippe’s comment again; he is so right.

        • dukiebiddle says:

          Actually, I feel the essentially safe activity of cycling on the street is viewed as dangerous due to the well intended but poorly applied marketing of safety advocates. Basically, if I want to be treated as something other than a societal burden and obstruction, while using the streets in the manner in which they were intended, we have to undo the damage done by the culture of fear advocates.

          Unfortunately, I think some of the worse damage to cycling is done by bicycle infrastructure advocates themselves. In an attempt to get local governments to invest in improved bicycle infrastructure, they exaggerate the dangers, which fuels the myth of irresponsible danger.

          • Frits B says:

            I don’t agree with you on your last paragraph. I live in Holland where until the 1950s cars and bikes shared the roads – which they of course still do in inner cities where traffic is relatively slow. This was found to be contrary to the interests of both parties, in the same way that you wouldn’t have pedestrians walk in the middle of the road either, as they used to do for centuries as they moved along at about the same speed as horse-drawn carts. Pedestrians would be in the way of cars and feel unsafe. The same applies to cyclists and cars. Separating them is merely a way to increase the efficiency of both. That cyclists feel safer, too, is a welcome side effect which happens to stimulate the use of bikes.

            • dukiebiddle says:

              I don’t disagree with anything you just said. Nor am I opposed to well designed bicycle infrastructure, as you have in Holland. In the U.S. we’re a looong way away from comparing our infrastructure advocacy to yours. Although I think it is important to note that cycling infrastructure typically only improves the *perception* of safety, which in turn increases the percentage of cyclists. This isn’t an issue when advocacy succeeds in increasing well designed infrastructure, but what about when it fails? Or worse, when infrastructure advocacy only succeeds in the creation of poorly designed infrastructure, such as painted bike lanes in the right hook/door zone, which puts cyclists in greater danger. Municipalities enact helmet laws, school boards ban bicycling to public schools, parents discourage children from participating in any activity out of eyesight, etc., etc…

              …which in turn leads less cycling, increased obesity for children and adults, increased cardiovascular disease, increased traffic, more fiscal expenditure on highway projects, pollution, etc., etc…

  9. Tania says:

    I love this tactic, Dottie, only because there is so much we are supposed to feel guilty about these days–recycling, washing our clothes in hot water, turning up the heat, not planting a victory garden and living off it–and the best way to get someone to do something is by making it pleasurable, not by guilt-tripping.
    I’m dismayed because I live in such a small, flat town (not too far from Chicago…) and while the place is fairly bike friendly (and there are more bikers than ever), even my roommate would rather drive or take the bus. But instead of guilt, I put on a pretty dress and smile and bike everywhere, because I love it and then I tell everyone (as you do) how easy and fun it was, and how much I loved being outside.
    And do you need bikers before infrastructure? I would say yes. And how do you get more bikers? Cute blogs like this don’t hurt!

    • MarkA says:

      Spot on, Tania – my thoughts exactly. It’s all a bit ‘chicken or the egg’ scenario but I agree that making cycling attractive to all will first raise cyclist numbers and then the infrastructure will follow.

  10. I receive a free subscription to Bicycling magazine with my membership to League of American Bicyclists. This always mystifies me because I see Bicycling as a magazine for racers, triatheletes, and charity ride racers. It’s a Lifestyle magazine that doesn’t really fit the mission of the LAB. As a bicyclist that prefers sttel bikes, and rides for transportation, utility, and recreation, Bicycling Magazine has little to offer me. How about a Lfestyle magazine for the urban cyclist who use bikes for tranportation and utility. It could have bike reviews of bikes like your Oma. It could review gear like baskets, bags and panniers. It could have maintanance tips for a Nexus or Alfine hub. It could have lifestyle columnists. Tips for commuting and dressing. Articles on lighting and fenders. And it could all be in a flashy, hip package like Bicycling. Imagine sexy adds for Dutch bikes, Wald baskets, and Big Dummies?

    • Have you checked out Momentum and UrbanVelo?

    • dagmara says:

      Here in Toronto we have a local mag (I think its quarterly) called Dandyhorse. You should check it out. It’s a great read. http://www.dandyhorse.com/

    • I decided to give Bicycling a chance and have been sorely disappointed with it. If regular biking gets two pages per issue it’s a lot. Sure, there may be full articles from time to time, but it’s not enough to make me feel it’s worth the money I paid (even the reduced rate).

      I do publishing through my self-owned company, Highmoon Games, including a semi-regular magazine, so the idea of creating a zine precisely with the topics you mentioned has entered my head. I haven’t pursed it because I’m busy at the moment and will be going into Nursing come Jan, but trust me that is hasn’t been for a lack of interest and passion for the subject.

      I’d buy this (and I’ll use the term because it just fits) Slow Bicycling magazine in a heartbeat. I’d get a lifetime subscription! I subbed to Urban Velo and Momentum (though I’ve yet to see my first issue of the latter) because they addressed at least a part of the slow bicycling equation. Same reason why I subbed to The Practical Pedal and Boneshaker: A Bicycling Almanac.

      If I could get what these four publications give me in one, that’d be fantastic. It would also be very easy to share with others and hopefully get them to see the ease and fun of the slow bicycling lifestyle.

  11. Great article on “Interrogating”!

  12. ChipSeal says:

    I am skeptical that here is much anyone can do to “get people out of cars and onto bikes”. Everyone who is inclined to ride bikes is already riding them!

    Advocates point to surveys that say “concerns about safety” is keeping a portion of motorists from switching. I think objections like that are just convenient excuses, and if that objection were answered satisfactorily, another objection would be substituted.

    What is needed is more civility in our public places. This would benefit all of our society, motorists, pedestrians and cyclists. I would direct your readers to http://commuteorlando.com/wordpress/2009/10/11/where-do-we-find-justice/
    on a fine essay by Keri about this idea.

    If public civility is our cause, look at who the natural stakeholders in such an outcome would be- Insurance companies, medical resources would be freed up from emergency room care, automobile clubs, pedestrians, family advocacy groups- heck, everyone except for towing companies and body shops would benefit! And think of how large a coalition that would be!

    Traffic laws grant the right of way, lawful road users respect those rights. Public civility comes from mutual respect for others.

    Even if a public civility campaign doesn’t result in more butts on bikes, all cyclists will benefit.

    • dukiebiddle says:

      “Everyone who is inclined to ride bikes is already riding them!”

      But inclination is overwhelmingly effected by external influences. Eight times as many Portlanders ride bikes than Baltimoreans. Eight times as many Copanhageners (sp?) ride bikes than Portlanders. It isn’t an issue of taking away people’s excuses. It’s a question of how to change the inclinations of a statistically measurable percentage of the population.

    • Catherine says:

      “Everyone who is inclined to ride bikes is already riding them!”

      Not here. I have a lot of friends who (say) that they would ride but for… And I am NOW a person inclined to ride bikes, but I wasn’t always that way as an adult. Bike riding is something that got lost to adolescence and to the flooding of the market with mountain bikes (which I hated riding based on their feel, their look, and the implication that I should be racing down a mountainside). As an adult, it didn’t really occur to me to get a bike until the past few years because all the cyclists are the spandexies or too-cool-for-school hipster kids, neither of which I personally am. Just seeing that other possibilities (and other types of bikes) exist was enough for me!

    • Yokota Fritz says:

      Chip — brush your skepticism aside. Cycling has exploded over the past eight years, growing by double digits in many urban areas. I’ve been doing this since the early 80s, but I’ve met so many people who are brand new to cycling in the last two years it’s astounding.

    • dottie says:

      No way is everyone who’s inclined to ride already riding. I did not start riding until a year and a half ago, simply because I never considered the bike as a viable transportation option until I realized how many people were doing it in Chicago – stealth marketing!

  13. G.E. says:

    I am so fascinated by everyone’s thoughts on this subject. I don’t think that every individual who might bicycle is currently riding though. During the summer of 2006, I was working in H.R. for my company, and we decided to have a contest between three local offices to see which could accumulate the most mileage (this included walking, swimming, bicycling – basically any form of activity could be counted). That summer, I was training for a marathon (my first, and likely the last I will every do – but I digress), and was running several days a week, but I really wanted our “team” to win. I lived about 8 miles from work, and though at the time I hadn’t been on a bicycle in fifteen years, I thought it would be a great way to rack up miles. We get a lot of afternoon rainstorms in Colorado in the summer, and I was always amazed at how many people wanted to stop and carry me home in their vehicles. I was completely fine in the rain (and sometimes thunder), and I think it was a good way for people to see that bicycling was possible, even when the weather isn’t perfect. The best reward for me was seeing others who lived much closer to the office who started to bicycle to work. I felt like I was a good influence on others who realized it really could be done. Oh, and maybe I should point out that I am no lightweight (clinically, I’m sure I’d be termed severely obese), so I think the fact that they all knew I was going to run a marathon and was bicycling to work several days a week really helped a lot of the “normal” sized people see that it’s really not something that can’t be done by the masses. Perhaps that is a way (as others have illustrated) of advertising – leading by example.

    If I were going to have billboards or actual advertisements though, I would definitely make sure that there were individuals of all sorts – short, tall, young and older, thin and chubby, because bicycling really is one of those things that anyone can do. I think so many people think of it as uncomfortable though, and don’t realize that there are so many different kinds of bicycles and saddles and handlebars and extensions for risers and the list goes on and on. Education, like anything, can help those who would think about it, but just choose not to because they don’t want the discomfort. It’s taken me personally several years to find bicycles that I am comfortable riding for longer distances, but it can be done, and affordably too. I know that here, bicycling is intimidating (and I speak from experience) because you are either a fanatical mountain biker or you’re a fanatical road bicyclist, and where does that leave the masses? I knew that I wanted to ride, but I’m not a fan of jumping off huge rocks in the mountains and I’m not a speed racer who wants to cover 200 miles in an hour (okay, an exaggeration, I know) either. I think finding your own zen is important and letting people see that it is fun to just ride your bike to the store and enjoy the wind in your hair and get to smell the flowers and the trees and see the neighbors cat running across fences. Last week I actually saw a caterpillar crossing the highway – which I never would have experienced if I’d been in a car. In fact, I probably would’ve ran the poor thing over without even realizing it was there. I think for me, I just appreciate everything so much more because I’m not isolated from everything that is around me.

    I also think it’s sometimes easier for those in larger cities to get around via bicycle. Yes, you have to deal with all of the car traffic (which is another issue that needs to be tackled as well – having good bike paths/areas to ride), but things are in a proximity to allow a bicycle-only lifestyle. If you live in the “country” or less urban areas, it’s not always as convenient to ride everywhere. Having lived in both a major city and in the burbs of the burbs, I can say that I have struggled much more with a bicycle lifestyle in the latter area. Was it a choice to live so far out of a city? Sure, but I don’t think it should mean that I am punished for not living in the heart of things. I know that here locally they’ve had a plan for a bike/walking trail (that would virtually run into my house) in the works since 2001. Why the path isn’t complete? That is up for debate. Now, of course, they will blame funding and the economy, so it’s just one of those things that gets put on the back burner because there just aren’t enough people fighting for it. Our fix (hubby and me) is simply to move to a more urban area, but again the economy prevents a lot of people from moving right now (and probably for a few years until things settle). I actually came across an interesting article the other day (that I have now somehow misplaced in my bookmarks) but it was basically showing how other countries such as the Netherlands, Finland, and so on are much more “bicycle friendly” and therefore they have much larger use of bicycles on a routine basis. The numbers were something like 0.1% of the U.S. ride their bicycles for a 2km trip, while 37% of those in the Netherlands will ride a trip of that distance, rather than driving, and the numbers don’t change much based on age. I think a lot of infrastructure needs to change to make bicycling and mass transit much more available to everyone (not just those in major cities), and it should be relatively easy to take a bicycle on these mass transit systems. I actually had a friend share that one bus driver wouldn’t let him on the bus because the bus driver “didn’t have time” to wait for him to attach his bike to the front.

    Honestly, I know that I just enjoy riding my bicycle, and I guess i just wish there were better places to do it without getting nearly ran over every time I try to go somewhere. People in cars are highly unaware often times of bicyclists and what the laws are. I nearly got into a screaming match with a guy just a few weeks ago as I rode along the side of a construction area (the side mind you, not the middle of the road) when he started honking and pointing for me to get out of the way. I wanted to strangle him, but luckily I was on my bike and feeling good, so the feeling quickly subsided. :o)

  14. Dottie,

    Loved your response – especially linking it to automobile marketing. It is amazing how automobiles have this perception of speed, luxury, and necessity. At the end of the day, it is an alternative mode of transport with arguably unnecessary features that people are willing to pay a premium for. Would be equally amazing to see if one day, bike companies can create a similar perception using marketing magic.

  15. Keri says:

    I prefer to market confidence (education) to cyclists rather than market cycling to the public. Confident cyclists market cycling to the people around them through their enthusiasm and unmistakable quality of life. OTOH, cyclists who experience constant conflict and frustration on the road (or on crappy facilities) simply reinforce the belief that cycling is treacherous.

    Similarly, I prefer to advocate for civility vs separation. It benefits everyone (regardless of mode) and more people will be inclined ride in a civil and cooperative environment. Well-designed paths can be a nice enhancement to a functioning transportation system, but they’ll never be a solution to a dysfunctional traffic culture. (And when they are built by a dysfunctional culture, their design reflects it… I have photo-albums full of examples).

  16. nuliajuk says:

    I’m a little annoyed at the description (in the Bike Commuter Stereotype entry) of a typical panniered touring bike as ‘geeked out’. I’m too tall for a step-through frame (yes, the Dutch make bigger ones, but they’re not sold here). As a post-menopausal 51 year old I do get very hot, very easily, and yes, I do need a shower after my hilly 6-8 mile commute. That’s great that you find it easy to ride in a dress and heels, but it’s windy here and I’ve used cycling shorts for too many years to give them up. If that makes me a “geek”, then so be it. I’ve been commuting off and on for nearly 35 years, so I think I know what works for me.

  17. donna says:

    I think blogs like this one are one of the best ways to encourage more people to take up bicycling because they make it look fun. I can’t pinpoint exactly what it was that led me to try commuting to work by bicycle this past spring – perhaps it was seeing more hybrid bikes on the roads, or the expense of paying for a subway that more often than not was delayed or overcrowded – but as soon as I tried it I was hooked and I went online to find out if anyone was having as much fun as I was. I’m still overcoming some obstacles (riding at night, foul weather, bad drivers) but I have been getting so much out of it mentally and physically that I’m already thinking about buying another bike . I only wish more of my friends would take up bicycling with me.

  18. adriennejohnson says:

    You have to remember that it is just a bike. The bike does nothing The bike is a lump of metal with sparkley bits that go around. What is important is the person on the bike. Focus on that. Don’t worry about the bike. If the Chamber of Commerce wants to do an ad to get people to visit the beach, show people on the beach having a great time in their bathing suits, playing in the water, digging with the kids…. and at the end, show them picking up their bikes from the crowded bike stand and riding off with happy smiles into the sunset.

    Show people enjoying life. Make sure they have a bike with them when you show it.

  19. Tad Salyards says:

    The solution is simple. $5 per gallon gasoline.

  20. […] Go Ride a Bike (Chicago’s local cycle chic blogger) has picked up on a similar topic, how to promote cycling, and Cyclelicious has reblogged the topic and Dottie’s […]

  21. RidingPretty says:

    I’ve been doing my little bicycle ‘pretty‘blog for so long now that it amazes me more people don’t get the simple gist of ‘the how and the why’ to ‘market’ a bicycle lifestyle. Hey It’s ALL GOOD. Whatever it takes just do it, share it, show it to the world! Come up with catchy phrases and hehe sell lots of t-shirts, bumper stickers, coffee mugs… example; “Style over Speed.” Or review a Pashely, Batavus on your blog and thus help sell more bikes for your favorite bike manufacturer or handmade bike builder too.

    Please note my area of interest is in fashion and I find more and more fashionable girls to photograph out riding their bicycles, it’s just insane. I also love using Fashion magazine editorial photos, celeb photos,the works. I say the more the merrier!

    Disclaimer: I make fashion orientated helmet covers and other items available through special custom order. I happen to have an artistic side to my nature and merely want to let people know I do this thing, why would I keep it a secret? I’ve worked plenty hard blogging and have done so for the last 2 years by NOT preaching to the choir (ie.established cycle advocates) but outreaching to in my case the fashion loving girls who are brand new to cycling or returning to cycling.. and all because they’ve JOYFULLY been inspired to want to ride!

  22. JEP says:

    A must read in this discussion is James Howard Kuntsler’s “Geography of Nowhere.” While not directly about cycling, it is all about civic planning that takes seriously the real need for community that Americans are dying for. As a Presbyterian campus minister at a large Northeastern university, riding my bike connects me face to face with so many people in our community and on campus that I wouldn’t see otherwise. Good infrstructure and civic planning are much more than a personal preference that should be kept in the private sphere. The reason bike blogs exist is because people can’t keep their love for their bikes to themselves. That’s not Western imperialism or forcing metanarratives on people. That’s just an infectious love that spreads and is easily caught because it taps into a longing that is good–to be with people, to not buy into Western Enlightenment based autonomy and selfishness.

  23. Tom says:

    Am I all alone here? Sell the mechanical advantage!

    Biking is easy. If you are not trying to set land speed records, you can cover vast distances (3-5 miles) in minutes. Try walking 2 miles. In the same time and effort I can go eight on a bike. Plus you can park right out front.

    On a bike, the city is yours.

  24. […] the Simple Bicycling Lifestyle, Part 2 Earlier this week I asked what you would do as a marketer tasked with getting people to switch from cars to bikes. The resulting discussion was […]

  25. […] the Simple Bicycling Lifestyle, Part 2 Earlier this week I asked what you would do as a marketer tasked with getting people to switch from cars to bikes. The resulting discussion was […]

  26. Stephen says:

    One thing I’m doing as a professional city planner is making a series of paper and digital maps for bicyclists. Our thought is that if we can provide the tools for people to navigate relatively safely around our urban area on bicycle, perhaps some folks will reconsider the urge to drive for relatively short trips and commuting to work. It’s not the whole solution, but part of it. As planners, we know that it’s only a matter of time before driving becomes more expensive than it already is, and we also know that up to a third of the population cannot or chooses not to drive. They need choices and options other than a car or an inadequate bus system.

    I used to suit in lycra and Gore-Tex to bicycle to work, but now I ride to work wearing normal clothes as much as possible. I figure that’s a bit of guerrilla marketing as well. I’m not anywhere near as attractive as Dottie and Trisha, but someone once described bicyclists as urban indicator species, and I want to send the message that you don’t have to wear a bunch of ridiculous clothes simply to ride a bike in town.

  27. […] that I am aware of in this area, sadly — who show that it’s possible to do things like ride in skirts, heels, and with huge, pregnant bellies. Being femme is not necessary, but it is an option. On the […]

  28. scott t says:

    tie the marketing into developing infrstructure legislation other wise not much as far as more commuter bicycling will happen much.

    i have read about some cities in uk that closed their downtowns to vehicle traffic save emergency and delivery .

    if that starts to happen more stateside i suppose the marketing will conform to similar occurences.

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