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Old 02-18-05, 11:21 AM   #1
moxfyre
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How do you convince sometime to try bike commuting?

I have several target people that I want to convince to commute by bike, especially my dad, who's 48 and lives only about 3 miles from work. He used to like riding with me when I was a kid, but hasn't done it in years. He basically never uses his car except to go to work and pick up a coffee on the way.

I think it would be good for him and easy and safe. How do you convince friends and family to take it up?
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Old 02-18-05, 11:33 AM   #2
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go with him on a trial run over the weekend. he probably doesn't realize how fast and simple a 3 mile commute would be. weekends are the best to test it out because the traffic is light and you're not in a hurry. good luck.
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Old 02-18-05, 03:12 PM   #3
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This might not work for someone who makes such light use of a car, but I convinced friends to use public transit this way: have the person put every last receipt for a car-related expense in a box for a month: every gas, parking, cleaning, insurance, car loan, etc. expence. Then point out the cost of cycling instead! (Or public transit, in my case that's $63CAD per month for unlimited travel).

I'm too new to biking to have converted anyone yet (give me time) but I have converted several people to public transit. It helped that I would arrive at work on time and rested in the winter... everyone else was late and tired from shovelling snowed-in driveways.
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Old 02-18-05, 03:25 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moxfyre
I have several target people that I want to convince to commute by bike, especially my dad, who's 48 and lives only about 3 miles from work. He used to like riding with me when I was a kid, but hasn't done it in years. He basically never uses his car except to go to work and pick up a coffee on the way.

I think it would be good for him and easy and safe. How do you convince friends and family to take it up?
Does your Dad have a bike? Maybe you could buy him one.

Make sure to get him something that you could use yourself if he doesn't want it, though. Kinda like buying your Mom a catcher's mitt for her birthday ("Gee mom, if you're not using your mitt tonight, do you mind if I take it with me to my game? I'll get it broken in for you...").
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Old 02-18-05, 03:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaperBoy
Does your Dad have a bike? Maybe you could buy him one.

Make sure to get him something that you could use yourself if he doesn't want it, though. Kinda like buying your Mom a catcher's mitt for her birthday ("Gee mom, if you're not using your mitt tonight, do you mind if I take it with me to my game? I'll get it broken in for you...").
Ya, my dad has a bike, a decent older Trek rigid frame mountain bike with slicks. I overhauled it and upgraded the shifters last time I went home, but didn't want to take the bike back with me, because I wanted him to use it.
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Old 02-18-05, 03:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timmhaan
go with him on a trial run over the weekend. he probably doesn't realize how fast and simple a 3 mile commute would be. weekends are the best to test it out because the traffic is light and you're not in a hurry. good luck.
I think the trial run is a good idea. There's nothing quite like "modeling behavior." I unwittingly convinced several co-workers to commute by bike simply by riding to work. First they laughed at me. Then they began to ask questions about bikes. Then they bought bikes and were riding to work themselves.
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Old 02-18-05, 04:06 PM   #7
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Cheaper than my car? Not the way I spend on bike stuff! But worth every penny!
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Old 02-18-05, 04:25 PM   #8
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I've been commuting by bike for years now and I haven't convinced a single person. I've given up. In fact, I'm going to try reverse psychology: if anybody asks me about it, I'll say, "Eh. It's not for you."
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Old 02-18-05, 05:04 PM   #9
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I'm lucky in that many people I work with commute on bike. Probably helps that I work in transportation planning
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Old 02-18-05, 06:27 PM   #10
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Blackberry has it. Just doing it... even though you live elsewhere and you Dad doesn't see you doing like your work colleagues would.

It's really difficult to convince anyone to do something if they don't want to. Have you asked him why he wouldn't consider cycling-commuting?

Maybe bragging about the cost-savings might help. But most people also are happy spending significant amounts of disposable income on their motor vehicles.

About the only one you may be able to convince him on is the health aspect.

I have friends who could quite easily cycle-commute but don't. Even though I visit them regularly at the top of the hill they live on, by riding there. Oh, and they are cyclists who tour. Commuting just doesn't fit their life priorities at present.
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Old 02-18-05, 06:36 PM   #11
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Maybe he would be up to riding his bike to work just one day per week, like on Fridays. That way, he could ease into it and maybe he'd do more.

But really, if he wants to do it he will. If he doesn't, he won't.
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Old 02-18-05, 07:14 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rowan
Blackberry has it. Just doing it... even though you live elsewhere and you Dad doesn't see you doing like your work colleagues would.

It's really difficult to convince anyone to do something if they don't want to. Have you asked him why he wouldn't consider cycling-commuting?
He thinks it's too dangerous, but I think my hometown is WAAAAY quieter and safer than here in Maryland. Plus it's completely flat. He needs more exercise but never can get into a routine because he's always working. I think cycling would be great for him.
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Old 02-18-05, 07:30 PM   #13
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If he thinks it too dangerous, why doesnt that stop him driving his car to work. He is just as likely to be killed driving as cycling.

Try riding with him on the weekend. Search for alternate routes, because the easiest and fastest car route may not be the easiest or fastest by bike.
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Old 02-18-05, 07:44 PM   #14
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Where I worked, I was the only person in my department to ride a bicycle for the first few years. I consistently rode, day in, day out, good weather and bad ... to the amazement of my coworkers. I also participated in a number of cycling events, some of which were written up in the staff magazine.

After a few years of this, more and more people started to ask me about cycling, we got a bicycle rack for our building, and by the time I left about half a dozen people were riding either regularly or a few times a week.

They just saw how much I enjoyed cycling, how fit I was, and how I was saving money ... and they wanted to be part of that.
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Old 02-18-05, 07:52 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moxfyre
He thinks it's too dangerous, but I think my hometown is WAAAAY quieter and safer than here in Maryland. Plus it's completely flat. He needs more exercise but never can get into a routine because he's always working. I think cycling would be great for him.
YOU think cycling would be great for him. Does he enjoy cycling too? Does he have a bicycle? When was the last time he used it? Does he really want to get more exercise?

If HE doesn't feel the need to get more exercise (a lot of people SAY they should exercise more but have no intention of actually doing anything), and if he has no interest in cycling, you've got an uphill battle to convince him of anything, and nagging will likely only make him dig his heels in and refuse even more.

The best you can do is to ride as much as you can, participate in events where he can come and cheer you on, exude enjoyment of cycling, and get fit . . . then if you're really lucky, perhaps your father will see how much fun you're having and how good you look, and he'll dust off the bicycle and take it for a spin.
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Old 02-18-05, 08:43 PM   #16
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I second the dry run on the weekend. I failed to convince my best bud to commute and live by bike. I another friend who I gave a bike to, bought another one last week and converted the first to fixie just today. He is so hooked, his girlfriend is becoming a bike widow. Sometimes riding will take, sometimes not. But showing the ease of your lifestyle will speak volumes to those skeptics watching you.
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Old 02-18-05, 08:53 PM   #17
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You could tell him that a lot of three mile short trips during which the engine never warms up are bad for his car.


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Old 02-18-05, 09:30 PM   #18
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Do a "dry run" to the coffe shop the next time you go home. "Dad want to go get some coffee my treat......No lets take the bikes it is not that far.....I ride to work____miles all the time...."
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Old 02-18-05, 10:21 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patc
This might not work for someone who makes such light use of a car, but I convinced friends to use public transit this way: have the person put every last receipt for a car-related expense in a box for a month: every gas, parking, cleaning, insurance, car loan, etc. expence. Then point out the cost of cycling instead! (Or public transit, in my case that's $63CAD per month for unlimited travel).

I'm too new to biking to have converted anyone yet (give me time) but I have converted several people to public transit. It helped that I would arrive at work on time and rested in the winter... everyone else was late and tired from shovelling snowed-in driveways.
This is unique.

I've never met anyone that I've been able to convince in taking public transportation because once someone purchases a motor car, they stop buses and trains. On the other hand, you never have to preach public transportation to those who don't own a car and trying to convince the motorist to go back to PT is a waste of time.
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Old 02-19-05, 12:34 AM   #20
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I've never met anyone that I've been able to convince in taking public transportation because once someone purchases a motor car, they stop buses and trains. On the other hand, you never have to preach public transportation to those who don't own a car and trying to convince the motorist to go back to PT is a waste of time.
Its not easy. The things that help here are the winter snowfalls, the quality of our transit system, and the cost of parking. For some reason its the norm for most employers in Ottawa to charge for parking. I know some people who pay over $150CAD a month to park at work.

It also helps to be smug. What, you had a hard time getting here? I left a few minutes early and got here just fine! My conversion rate has dropped now that my commute involves falling out of bed and turning my computer on.
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Old 02-19-05, 08:35 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moxfyre
Ya, my dad has a bike, a decent older Trek rigid frame mountain bike with slicks. I overhauled it and upgraded the shifters last time I went home, but didn't want to take the bike back with me, because I wanted him to use it.

Don't forget to attach one of those atuomoblie cup holders to his handlebars so he can carry his coffe, in the special commuter cup that you give him. Go out on a weekend ride with him and stop for coffee.
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Old 02-19-05, 09:26 AM   #22
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You could tell him that a lot of three mile short trips during which the engine never warms up are bad for his car.
That's what I was going to say. My neighbour drives 1 mile to work every morning and after 5 years, his engine is almost toast.

Quote:
Originally Posted by moxfyre
He thinks it's too dangerous
He's not too afraid of going for a walk is he? Injury to cyclists in traffic parallel exactly the experiance of pedestrians.

He doesn't want to get sick does he? You can tell him there is a minimum level of physical activity that humans need to be healthy and riding his bike to work every morning will give him this without the hassel of trying to find the time to go to the gym.

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Old 02-19-05, 12:27 PM   #23
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You can't convince anybody to do anything.

The man I live with works in the same office I do. I ride to work. He drives. He even went so far as to buy a new bike. He still drives. And he's not an inactive person, either. He just won't ride his bike to work.
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Old 02-19-05, 09:11 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moxfyre
I have several target people that I want to convince to commute by bike, especially my dad, who's 48 and lives only about 3 miles from work. He used to like riding with me when I was a kid, but hasn't done it in years. He basically never uses his car except to go to work and pick up a coffee on the way.

I think it would be good for him and easy and safe. How do you convince friends and family to take it up?
You could tell him that I'm 45 and do it, and that my dad did it, too (he's 80 now.)

But remember that people have to decide for themselves. It's they only way they'll stick with it.
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Old 02-20-05, 03:42 AM   #25
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That's what I was going to say. My neighbour drives 1 mile to work every morning and after 5 years, his engine is almost toast.

He's not too afraid of going for a walk is he? Injury to cyclists in traffic parallel exactly the experiance of pedestrians.

He doesn't want to get sick does he? You can tell him there is a minimum level of physical activity that humans need to be healthy and riding his bike to work every morning will give him this without the hassel of trying to find the time to go to the gym.
I think the Dad already is quite active. Just not by cycling.

I believe that his eyes would glaze over unless the information could be framed to suit his circumstances. And then only one aspect.

While all the statistical stuff is worth talking about among us, I think it is so esoteric that to use it any discussion with an uninterested non-cyclist (and even some of those who are cyclists!) might actually not be productive. It's the old "It won't happen to me" syndrome, I am afraid.
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