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  1. #1
    Senior Member cooperwx's Avatar
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    Selling bicycle commuting

    My sister in law just moved within 6 miles of her job. I asked her if she could bike it, and she said she'd be dripping with sweat by the time she got there (in Florida).

    She's blowing money on a gym membership trying to shed a few pounds. She's 27 and in pretty good shape. After checking, I've found she has a great potential route to work with bike lanes, slower traffic, scenic, flat, safe, etc. To me, there's no reason NOT to bike in.

    The thing I'm beginning to realize is that some people will never seriously consider bike commuting, no matter how feasible I make it sound.

    Anybody else try to convince people that doing it isn't as hard as it seems? How do you overcome objections?

  2. #2
    Designated Drinker Wulfheir's Avatar
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    We need to see pics if we are to make any legitimate suggestions.

    Try doing the route with her on a weekend.
    My Bike Journal Profile

    Oh, you hate your job? There's a support group for that, it's called EVERYONE and they meet at the PUB!

  3. #3
    Senior Member cooperwx's Avatar
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    Can't do the ride with her as 1) I'm 500 miles from her and 2) she doesn't own a bike.

    I'm more speaking in general terms. How have you been successful at talking up the pros of bike commuting to someone who is reluctant.
    Last edited by cooperwx; 08-03-06 at 05:50 AM.

  4. #4
    meep! legot73's Avatar
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    I don't think anyone would object to seeing her "dripping in sweat", so that's no excuse.
    Nothing says "in good times and in bad" like a good pair of fenders

  5. #5
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Ya I'll ride with her for her first week. I just gotta arrange that flight from Canada....
    safe riding - Vik
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Many people are overly concerned about what their coworkers might think. She probably afraid of people thinking she's strange.....

  7. #7
    flux capacitor Orikal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziemas
    Many people are overly concerned about what their coworkers might think. She probably afraid of people thinking she's strange.....
    I know that was the biggest obstacle to my commuting, but I've found a lot of people at my work are interested in cycling. Lots of good conversations.

    Delusion: A false belief strongly held in spite of invalidating evidence.

  8. #8
    Newbie Commuter
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooperwx
    Anybody else try to convince people that doing it isn't as hard as it seems? How do you overcome objections?
    Anybody else try to avoid pushing their beliefs/values on other people?

    Seriously. Share your experience and your love for bike commuting with other people, and then let them make up their own minds. Don't tell them what is best for them...they won't listen.

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    What is her present commute like? I'd imagine driving to work is pleasant. She may just hop in an air conditioned car, glide down a fairly empty road for a few minutes, and park next to the office door. These's no salt to rot out her car during the winter. There are probably no five mile traffic backups. The cost of driving is probably just a few bucks per day. She may find the trip a pleasant interlude in the day. Why not drive?

    There's the idea of saving health club fees by commuting to work. That makes sense, to me because I can't imagine sticking with a health club workout routine. I'll launch into a blizzard on my bike for a trip to work or to the store, and think nothing of it. However, there is no way I would ever want to play hamster in a treadmill. But some people can, and I assume she is one of them. Maybe she has friends at the club and it is a pleasent social thing for her.

    Automotive gridlock, salty winter roads, and a parking shortage got me commuting by bike. If I lived in most of Florida, I doubt that the idea would ever have occurred to me. People will always take the easiest mode of transportation. In most of the country, it is the car.

    Paul

  10. #10
    Neat - w/ ice on the side dalmore's Avatar
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    The most difficult obstacle to overcome is going to be the no bike part. Until she gets that, the rest is academic. Joking aside, get her a bike. IF she rediscovers the fun we all had as kids on bikes - the rest is easy.

  11. #11
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    In my experience, the people who are mostly likely to enjoy bike commuting are people who already enjoy riding a bike. And then when you present commuting as an opportunity to ride their bike more, it's an easy sell.

    But if she doesn't already own a bike, that's an additional hurdle.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  12. #12
    GATC
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    Tangentially, I'm getting antsy waiting for my 5 yr old to discover the fun I remember biking around the neighborhood at his age. Freedom! Visiting friends! He doesn't seem to want it. He does love tooling around in the trailer, at least.

  13. #13
    jim anchower jamesdenver's Avatar
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    I don't sell it - I just lead by example. I've offered to ride with co-workers who live near me or along my route, but no takers in six years...

    I get the same answers if I offer to take someone flying in a small plane. No matter the reassurance you give, and tell them the neat scenery and easy of travel, and skill and knowledge you demonstrate and statistics you spew, just like biking some only see it as reckless and dangerous.

    Sorry - just feeling cynical

  14. #14
    Commuter JohnBrooking's Avatar
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    I'm surprised no one's asked the obvious question that would address the one objection she's already stated (so far): Does her workplace have a shower? If not, other options include trying to arrange something with a nearby office or health club that does have a shower, or just not riding very hard and changing clothes and cleaning up with baby wipes when she gets there. (Maybe that just seems too gross to her.)

    If you can address that and she's still uncertain, it could well be an image thing or some other more subtle resistance she has, and the sweat thing is just the first, most obvious reason that occurred to her.

  15. #15
    Commuter JohnBrooking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg
    Tangentially, I'm getting antsy waiting for my 5 yr old to discover the fun I remember biking around the neighborhood at his age. Freedom! Visiting friends! He doesn't seem to want it. He does love tooling around in the trailer, at least.
    He's got lots of time. Maybe he's just naturally shy and it will take a few years for him to "get it". If your wife is anything like mine, it will be years before she trusts him to go anywhere by himself anyway. Pretty soon I'm sure he'll be asking you to take him for a ride (on his own bike, not the trailer).

  16. #16
    jim anchower jamesdenver's Avatar
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    I don't sell it - I just lead by example. I've offered to ride with co-workers who live near me or along my route, but no takers in six years...

    I get the same answers if I offer to take someone flying in a small plane. No matter the reassurance you give, and tell them the neat scenery and easy of travel, and skill and knowledge you demonstrate and statistics you spew, just like biking some only see it as reckless and dangerous.

    Sorry - just feeling cynical

  17. #17
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    Well, if it makes you feel any better, the route you provided me when I first started made it significantly easier for me to expand my commute. In effect it allowed me to expand what routes I would consider viable. Plus, I lost an additional 30 lbs after bumping up from 6 miles a day to 30 and then to 45.

  18. #18
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    1) you shouldn't post her picture without her permission.

    2) set a good example and people will follow if they want to.

  19. #19
    meep! legot73's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by random97402guy
    Anybody else try to avoid pushing their beliefs/values on other people?

    Seriously. Share your experience and your love for bike commuting with other people, and then let them make up their own minds. Don't tell them what is best for them...they won't listen.
    +1

    Enough people approach me, either out of genuine interest or guilt. I avoid being preachy at all costs. I expect the same of others.

    Coworker perception of your cycling is heavily infulenced by your attitude towards it. If you're "sharing the love", it becomes admiration, just like you'd admire someone who absolutely loves knitting and makes a lot of sweaters, no skin off your back, good for them.
    Nothing says "in good times and in bad" like a good pair of fenders

  20. #20
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    +3...by example

    I picked up commuting to the office from a coworker about 5 years ago...before that, although i used to bike on the weekends, it never occured to me to ride to the office (17km through downtown Toronto each way) + I now do 1.5 hours at lunch

    Although I'm the only year round commuter, we now have 4 regular commuters here, plus 3 occasional riders

    As we now have so many riders here, when we built the new office, we added showers, lockers, an outside bike rack, and full laundry facilities

    Its great with this heat today...shower at home, shower when i come in, shower after lunchtime ride...morning clothes are out of the dryer in time for lunch, and get a fresh change for the afternoon

    same in winter with the ice and snow...heat lamp in the shower and office clothes in the locker

    missed only 6 days in 2005 (ice storm), none so far this year

  21. #21
    meep! legot73's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jm01
    +3...by example
    As we now have so many riders here, when we built the new office, we added showers, lockers, an outside bike rack, and full laundry facilities
    You forgot the repair shop facilities.

    Man, I thought I had it good. Laundry would be great.
    Nothing says "in good times and in bad" like a good pair of fenders

  22. #22
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    I hope you got her permission to post a photo of her. If not, I would think you have more to worry about than how she gets to work.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by farrellcollie
    I hope you got her permission to post a photo of her. If not, I would think you have more to worry about than how she gets to work.
    ...no kidding ...she's now got her 15 minutes of international fame

  24. #24
    Neat - w/ ice on the side dalmore's Avatar
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    What's the objection over posting a mug shot of someone? you see millions of them at any of the photo libraries on line... everyday people doing everyday things.

    It's not like he posted her address and directions to her house or something... I see no problem with the photo.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by dalmore
    What's the objection over posting a mug shot of someone? you see millions of them at any of the photo libraries on line... everyday people doing everyday things.

    It's not like he posted her address and directions to her house or something... I see no problem with the photo.
    maybe you should ask her what she thinks...maybe i should cut and paste that face onto another web site???

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