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  1. #1
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    5 Days Without A Car Event

    Confession: I am always on the lookout for ideas that promote carfree living.

    The Bike to Shop thread is a concept that evolved from an idea we tossed around here a few years ago. We called it Bike to the Grocery Store. It died after 20 posts but thank goodness... it's getting a little traction now.

    Anyhoo... I recently ran into a friend who mentioned she had just finished a 5 day stint of living without a car. She normally has a long commute, but the Easter break presented a chance to park the car. The experiment wasn't entirely successful as she had to backslide when moving a casserole to her granddaughter's house. (Of course, here at LCF we applaud such failures since they provide another opportunity for experimentation. ) But she got a lot of exposure to the the concept, learned some things and thought it was an overall worthy experiment.

    Trying short stints without a car... to me this seems like a concept or an event that would get a few bites. It's also an excellent way to draw others into the attempt. For example, my friend has already told all her friends about this and, naturally, many were intrigued. On a larger scale, it seems like something that could be sold to Bike Month committees in every city in the US....

    Do you think this is a good idea?

    Help me craft this program here....

  2. #2
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    I think trying short stints is a good way to go. At the end of my first summer of bike commuting, I said I was going to go into the winter commuting "one day at a time". It was easier to commit to just one more day rather than the whole season. By mid-December, I realized I had taken everything winter could throw at me, so I could plan on going the entire season on my bike.


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  3. #3
    Wookie Fred chewybrian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerv View Post
    Do you think this is a good idea?

    Help me craft this program here....
    Is there a "car free day" along the lines of the Great American Smoke Out? A few people go the day without a smoke, and get the idea they could do without smokes. Maybe if a few people went without a car for a day, they'd see that life goes on without it. (I can remember a time when a day without a car seemed very stressful)

    If there is such a day, it needs a better publicity man.
    Campione Del Mondo Immaginario

  4. #4
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerv View Post
    The experiment wasn't entirely successful as she had to backslide when moving a casserole to her granddaughter's house. (Of course, here at LCF we applaud such failures since they provide another opportunity for experimentation. )

    Do you think this is a good idea?

    Help me craft this program here....

    First ... lose the negativity. Drop inappropriate language like "backslide" and "failure". Using a motorised vehicle is not a failure. It's a choice ... often the best choice for the job at hand. Using that kind of language is just going to turn people off.


    Second ... build on "bike/walk to work" days. Your area has those, right? Most areas do. From what I've seen, they could be promoted a lot more. Get more businesses and workplaces involved. I think we had one of those days in my area just recently, but I'm not exactly sure when it was. It certainly wasn't promoted at all.

    Use Google and look up "National Walk to Work Day" and "National Bike to Work Day". Look up "Bike Week".

  5. #5
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    First ... lose the negativity. Drop inappropriate language like "backslide" and "failure". Using a motorised vehicle is not a failure. It's a choice ... often the best choice for the job at hand. Using that kind of language is just going to turn people off.


    Second ... build on "bike/walk to work" days. Your area has those, right? Most areas do. From what I've seen, they could be promoted a lot more. Get more businesses and workplaces involved. I think we had one of those days in my area just recently, but I'm not exactly sure when it was. It certainly wasn't promoted at all.

    Use Google and look up "National Walk to Work Day" and "National Bike to Work Day". Look up "Bike Week".
    The bike to work stuff is pretty lame. Cool in the 90s but played out.

    I actually think negativity is the way to go. A lot of psychology studies show that negative messages are more effective. (That's why politicians use them all the time.) For carfree ad campaigns, the message should be shame based:

    "The city put in all of these great bike lanes and you wimps are too lazy to use them. What's wrong with you people? Don't you care about the climate? It wouldn't kill you to get a little exercise either."

    and btw, if you have made a commitment to yourself to be carfree, and then you use a car, then yes you have failed. It's nothing to beat yourself up about, but it is a failure. Just like if you committed to work out four times a week and you only work out twice, you have failed. Figure out what went wrong and do better next week.
    Last edited by Roody; 04-21-14 at 04:23 AM.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  6. #6
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    The bike to work stuff is pretty lame. Cool in the 90s but played out.
    That's what gerv is suggesting. Isn't it? Bike to work ... bike to get groceries ...



    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    I actually think negativity is the way to go. A lot of psychology studies show that negative messages are more effective. (That's why politicians use them all the time.) For carfree ad campaigns, the message should be shame based:

    "The city put in all of these great bike lanes and you wimps are too lazy to use them. What's wrong with you people? Don't you care about the climate? It wouldn't kill you to get a little exercise either."

    and btw, if you have made a commitment to yourself to be carfree, and then you use a car, then yes you have failed. It's nothing to beat yourself up about, but it is a failure. Just like if you committed to work out four times a week and you only work out twice, you have failed. Figure out what went wrong and do better next week.
    Well thank goodness there aren't very many people with your attitude or no one would want to ride a bicycle ... or exercise ... or do much of anything Unfortunately it is this very attitude that makes people avoid this forum ... and avoid the idea of being car-free or car-light. One can only hope your post is some kind of [very weird] joke.

    Or if not ... do you consider yourself an abject failure? By your own comments (I quote: "if you have made a commitment to yourself to be carfree, and then you use a car, then yes you have failed") ... you are. Is that really how you think of yourself?


    Fortunately there is a much better approach ... the encouraging approach. Everyone has a choice of how they want to transport themselves from one point to another. Many times, using a motorised vehicle is the best choice, but if a person could walk/cycle or drive, and either method would work just as well ... and if that person chooses to walk/cycle for that particular trip ... great! But they are not failures if they happen to choose to drive ... it's just simply a choice that they have made.

    I would rather see people be encouraged to walk/cycle. Show them that walking or cycling to the shop, the tourist attraction, work, etc. is a good choice for various reasons.

    But don't criticise and call them down if they don't make that choice. What a poor way to convince anyone to do something.

  7. #7
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerv View Post
    Trying short stints without a car... to me this seems like a concept or an event that would get a few bites. It's also an excellent way to draw others into the attempt.

    Do you think this is a good idea?

    Help me craft this program here....
    As I've alluded above, approach it one trip at a time.

    On this particular trip ... to work, to school, to the event, to the store ... can I choose a car-free transportation option?

    Nevermind the whole day or 5 days or a whole month ... focus on short stints, specifically, this next trip.

    This is part of the point of the thread I started about where we walked or cycled today ... let's tell each other the ordinary and interesting places we've gone when we've opted to make that particular trip human-powered. And who knows, maybe some days we might not use a car at all ... and maybe some weeks we might not use a car at all ...



    (Incidentally ... how far was the trip with the casserole?)

  8. #8
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    That's what gerv is suggesting. Isn't it? Bike to work ... bike to get groceries ...





    Well thank goodness there aren't very many people with your attitude or no one would want to ride a bicycle ... or exercise ... or do much of anything Unfortunately it is this very attitude that makes people avoid this forum ... and avoid the idea of being car-free or car-light. One can only hope your post is some kind of [very weird] joke.

    Or if not ... do you consider yourself an abject failure? By your own comments ... you are.


    Fortunately there is a much better approach ... the encouraging approach. Everyone has a choice of how they want to transport themselves from one point to another. Many times, using a motorised vehicle is the best choice, but if a person could walk/cycle or drive, and either method would work just as well ... and if that person chooses to walk/cycle for that particular trip ... great! But they are not failures if they happen to choose to drive ... it's just simply a choice that they have made.

    I would rather see people be encouraged to walk/cycle. Show them that walking or cycling to the shop, the tourist attraction, work, etc. is a good choice for various reasons.

    But don't criticise and call them down if they don't make that choice. What a poor way to convince anyone to do something.
    Gosh, this sure is a negative post by somebody who claims to be positive! I'm sorry you have to call me names and mock me, but ok. It's certainly not the first time you've used a negative campaign against me and others you disagree with.

    To start with, I'm not aware of any evidence that bike to work campaigns actually have a measurable impact. If anybody does know of any evidence, I would love to take a look at it.

    Personally, I don't think the positive approach has worked well. When I go to bike to work stuff year after year, I always see the same people there. It boils down to what ILTB calls preaching to the choir. These programs are fun and I have certainly enjoyed the free breakfasts over the years. All the hoopla makes the people who already bike to work feel great about themselves, but I don't see it persuading many new people.

    When you look at public service advertising [PSA] campaigns over the last few decades, very few have worked. You need very strong motivators to get people to modify engrained habits.

    Lady Bird and the crying Indian didn't get very many people to stop littering in the 1960s, although these famous PSA campaigns did make non-litterers feel nice. $100 littering tickets (a negative) were what actually cut down on littering.

    Thirty years of PSAs barely changed the number of people using seat belts. Again, it was new laws that required seatbelt use that got people to use them.

    Similarly, MADD decreased drunk driving by pressuring the justice system to be stricter, not by sweetly persuading drunks not to drive.

    I'm not sure how these experiences with littering, seat belts, and drunk driving apply to getting more people to commute or shop on bikes. I doubt if they will ever ticket people for driving.

    My guess is that the best things to try are 1) improvements in bike infrastructure and removing barriers to cycling, along with 2) non-coercive methods of discouraging car use.

    I have no idea if a negative PSA approach would work, but I'd like to see some communities try it as an experiment. If it doesn't work they could go back to the feel good approach, even though that probably doesn't work either.
    Last edited by Roody; 04-21-14 at 06:32 AM.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  9. #9
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    (Incidentally ... how far was the trip with the casserole?)
    I thought the casserole thing was interesting. Maybe an effective PSA campaign would feature people doing very difficult things with their commuter bikes. Like carrying casseroles, buying kitty litter or taking the cat to the vet, and getting a pizza and a 12 pack home.

    I think featuring difficult chores might be effective for a couple reasons:

    • When you see riders doing hard stuff, it makes you think that plain riding to work is very doable.
    • It brings in that shame element that can be very motivating: "Jeeze, these people are hauling heavy loads, and I can't even haul just myself to work on a bike. I feel uncomfortable with this, so maybe I'd feel better if I at least rode my bike to work sometimes."
    • People will feel cool if they think they could haul 100 pounds of groceries--even if they never actually do it. (This is similar to SUV owners who feel cool because they could go off-reading, even if they never actually do.)


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  10. #10
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    Gosh, this sure is a negative post by somebody who claims to be positive! I'm sorry you have to call me names and mock me, but ok.
    Just summarising your extremely derogatory and negative post. And you called yourself a failure ... not me. I don't call people failures. I don't think of you as a failure even though you no longer cycle or walk anywhere. In fact, I objected to gerv calling people failures. Life happens. But if you want to call people failures ... look in a mirror.



    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    To start with, I'm not aware of any evidence that bike to work campaigns actually have a measurable impact. If anybody does know of any evidence, I would love to take a look at it.

    Personally, I don't think the positive approach has worked well. When I go to bike to work stuff year after year, I always see the same people there. It boils down to what ILTB calls preaching to the choir. These programs are fun and I have certainly enjoyed the free breakfasts over the years. All the hoopla makes the people who already bike to work feel great about themselves, but I don't see it persuading many new people.
    So ... summarising again ... you think gerv's idea is a waste of time? And secondly, not only do you think that programs like what gerv is suggesting are a waste of time, you'd prefer there be laws forcing people to walk or ride bicycles? Is that right?


    These events still occur year after year in places all over the world.

    But one of the reasons some of these programs may not have measurable impact, and one of the reason why the same people turn up at the breakfasts etc., is because the organisations that matter have not been encouraged to participate ... the workplaces.

    If I work at a place that has no bicycle parking and isn't really supportive of people riding their bicycles to work, why would a Bike to Work day encourage me to ride? But if the Bike to Work organisers worked with the businesses to discuss providing parking and other incentives to encourage their workers to walk or cycle ... then people might be more enthusiastic.

    Many businesses have "lunch 'n' learns" or other short training sessions every other week. Some of those sessions include discussions about the dangers of sitting all day long, and other wellness topics. They encourage employees to get up and walk around the office regularly and also to get exercise before and after work. Encouraging people to walk or cycle to work would fit right into those sessions. But I've yet to see anyone come and talk to employers and employees about that.


    Another reason some of these programs may not have measureable impact might be because the organisations don't work together. We've got walk to work day ... and cycle to work day. On different days. And neither encourage people to do anything but walk on walk to work day or cycle on cycle to work day. I'd rather see them work together. Have several days a year where people are encouraged to walk or cycle or use whatever other human powered method of transportation they like.


    And forget the breakfasts ... I've never been to a walk to work or cycle to work day breakfast. The breakfasts are always in some obscure place which would involve me cycling or walking a considerably longer distance that day. I'd rather see them spend the money in other ways. For example, provide secure cyclists parking areas in workplace locations. Or put together professional, interesting, informative, and encouraging training packages to be distributed to workplaces and schools.

  11. #11
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Just summarising your extremely derogatory and negative post. And you called yourself a failure ... not me. I don't call people failures. I don't think of you as a failure even though you no longer cycle or walk anywhere. In fact, I objected to gerv calling people failures. Life happens. But if you want to call people failures ... look in a mirror.





    So ... summarising again ... you think gerv's idea is a waste of time? And secondly, not only do you think that programs like what gerv is suggesting are a waste of time, you'd prefer there be laws forcing people to walk or ride bicycles? Is that right?


    These events still occur year after year in places all over the world.

    But one of the reasons some of these programs may not have measurable impact, and one of the reason why the same people turn up at the breakfasts etc., is because the organisations that matter have not been encouraged to participate ... the workplaces.

    If I work at a place that has no bicycle parking and isn't really supportive of people riding their bicycles to work, why would a Bike to Work day encourage me to ride? But if the Bike to Work organisers worked with the businesses to discuss providing parking and other incentives to encourage their workers to walk or cycle ... then people might be more enthusiastic.

    Many businesses have "lunch 'n' learns" or other short training sessions every other week. Some of those sessions include discussions about the dangers of sitting all day long, and other wellness topics. They encourage employees to get up and walk around the office regularly and also to get exercise before and after work. Encouraging people to walk or cycle to work would fit right into those sessions. But I've yet to see anyone come and talk to employers and employees about that.


    Another reason some of these programs may not have measureable impact might be because the organisations don't work together. We've got walk to work day ... and cycle to work day. On different days. And neither encourage people to do anything but walk on walk to work day or cycle on cycle to work day. I'd rather see them work together. Have several days a year where people are encouraged to walk or cycle or use whatever other human powered method of transportation they like.


    And forget the breakfasts ... I've never been to a walk to work or cycle to work day breakfast. The breakfasts are always in some obscure place which would involve me cycling or walking a considerably longer distance that day. I'd rather see them spend the money in other ways. For example, provide secure cyclists parking areas in workplace locations. Or put together professional, interesting, informative, and encouraging training packages to be distributed to workplaces and schools.

    You should delete the first paragraph, which is an out and out lie as well as a personal attack.

    The second paragraph, I believe, is probably a deliberate misstatement of opinions I expressed in previous posts. Maybe you use negative attacks because you believe they are effective. That's fine with me, since you're proving my point.

    The rest of the post contained some interesting points. Some I agreed with and some I didn't. But I'm not going to respond to them right now because, frankly, it quit being fun when you went all attack dog on me. I come here for enjoyment and to learn; I really don't expect to change anybody's mind. When it quits being fun, I just leave for a while.

    To rephrase, a lively discussion of differing opinions is fun and enlightening, but the personal lies and slurs in the first paragraph are, IMO, a real buzz kill for me and undoubtedly for others. Again, i request that you honorably remove that paragraph. An apology would also be nice, but that's on you. At any rate, I don't believe I said anything negative about you whatsoever, or at least I hope not.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  12. #12
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    You should delete the first paragraph, which is an out and out lie as well as a personal attack.

    The second paragraph, I believe, is probably a deliberate misstatement of opinions I expressed in previous posts. Maybe you use negative attacks because you believe they are effective. That's fine with me, since you're proving my point.

    The rest of the post contained some interesting points. Some I agreed with and some I didn't. But I'm not going to respond to them right now because, frankly, it quit being fun when you went all attack dog on me. I come here for enjoyment and to learn; I really don't expect to change anybody's mind. When it quits being fun, I just leave for a while.

    To rephrase, a lively discussion of differing opinions is fun and enlightening, but the personal lies and slurs in the first paragraph are, IMO, a real buzz kill for me and undoubtedly for others. Again, i request that you honorably remove that paragraph. An apology would also be nice, but that's on you. At any rate, I don't believe I said anything negative about you whatsoever, or at least I hope not.

    See Post 5 . Your post, in Post 5 was extremely offensive to a large number of people.

    So ... I await an apology from you on behalf of all the people you attacked in that post. Thank so much.

    And when you remove your Post 5 ... I'll remove my posts calling you out on your offensive comments: ... advocating negativity ... advocating shaming people into a car-free lifestyle ... calling people who use cars failures ... calling people lazy wimps for not using cycling infrastructure ...

  13. #13
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    LCFers,
    I did not intend to offend anybody, including Machka. I have reread my posts and I sincerely believe that I stated my opinions about bike to work in an objective and non-personal manner. I think most people would agree that there is a line between commenting on facts and opinions versus commenting on other persons who may disagree about those facts and opinions.

    If, however, I did offend anybody, please inform me and I will make amends.

    Otherwise, enough said about this side issue, IMO.
    .
    .
    .
    .
    However, I think this is an interesting topic, and I would love to see us get back on track.

    Maybe not everybody agrees with me that bike to work events have become lame. But, agree or disagree, I'm pretty sure we would all like to come up with ideas to make them even more effective.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  14. #14
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    gerv, I support your idea. I do, however, think that it needs a new and fresh approach ... as I've mentioned in my posts above.


    There have been numerous walk to work or cycle to work days over the years, and one of the things which has frustrated me is the lack of support from my, and other, employers. I might want to walk or ride to work on that day as a celebration of what I normally do, and I might want to encourage my co-workers, acquaintances, etc. to walk or cycle to work too. And people do express interest in it. But our employers don't seem to be on board. They aren't negative about it ... or positive either.

    At one place, I wanted to organise something where the whole office would sign up with the organisation doing the walk or cycle to work day. That organisation had a contest among businesses ... giving prizes to the business with the highest participation percentage. But the enthusiasm was not there. I was told I could put up posters and people could sign up individually if they wanted, but they weren't interested in going in as a whole.

    And when employers and other businesses (schools, shops, theatre, etc.) don't provide anything in the way of cycling infrastructure (bicycle racks, secure bicycle parking, showers, or whatever the case may be), it all becomes too hard for would-be participants.

    I did a training course in one particular building, for example, which had signs both outside and inside the building demanding that no bicycles were allowed anywhere near the building. Well, if I worked in that building (and many people did), I probably wouldn't cycle because ... where would I put my bicycle when I got there? And I've seen those signs on many buildings.


    One area employers are more enthusiastic about is wellness. Many businesses are holding training courses on wellness and promoting wellness programs. That might be something these walk/cycle to work programs could be a part of. It wouldn't be a huge cost to the business to encourage their employees to get exercise before and after work ... in the form of walking or cycling to work.

    So as you craft your program, that might be the direction to go.


    And I also believe that small steps are the way to go. Encourage people to make their next trip car-free. They don't have to make a life-time commitment, just try the next trip by walking or bicycle. If that's doable, then try another trip that way. And before you know it, maybe half the trips are by walking or bicycle. Wonderful!

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chewybrian View Post
    Is there a "car free day" along the lines of the Great American Smoke Out? A few people go the day without a smoke, and get the idea they could do without smokes. Maybe if a few people went without a car for a day, they'd see that life goes on without it. (I can remember a time when a day without a car seemed very stressful)

    If there is such a day, it needs a better publicity man.
    There is World Carfree Day every year. Two world regions do quite a bit to observe it--Southeast Asia and Northern Europe. Typically they encourage everybody not to drive on that day. Some cities close certain congested streets or districts to cars all together for 24 hours.

    Here in Michigan (and I presume some other states), they have changed Bike to Work Week into Smart Commute. This is two weeks when they encourage anything "anything that is not 'one person/one motorized vehicle'." Mainly it's a social media contest, between different sized workplace teams, to see which teams can rack up the most carfree (or car pool) trips. And now it lasts two weeks.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

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    Fixed Kitty wipekitty's Avatar
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    Denver used to have a thing similar to Smart Commute called Ride Smart Thursdays. It was mainly meant to promote increased transit usage, but also encouraged walking/biking/carpooling. I don't think it worked out so well - probably because most of the advertisements were in the buses.

    I really like the idea of something like this because it gets people in the habit of using transportation alternatives over a longer period of time - it's easy enough to get all gung ho for Bike to Work Week, but it doesn't encourage any long-term changes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    I thought the casserole thing was interesting. Maybe an effective PSA campaign would feature people doing very difficult things with their commuter bikes. Like carrying casseroles, buying kitty litter or taking the cat to the vet, and getting a pizza and a 12 pack home.

    I think featuring difficult chores might be effective for a couple reasons:

    • When you see riders doing hard stuff, it makes you think that plain riding to work is very doable.
    • It brings in that shame element that can be very motivating: "Jeeze, these people are hauling heavy loads, and I can't even haul just myself to work on a bike. I feel uncomfortable with this, so maybe I'd feel better if I at least rode my bike to work sometimes."
    • People will feel cool if they think they could haul 100 pounds of groceries--even if they never actually do it. (This is similar to SUV owners who feel cool because they could go off-reading, even if they never actually do.)
    I think this is absolutely right.

    To add to this, I think it is important for such a PSA campaign to feature normal-looking people in normal-looking clothes doing difficult tasks on bikes. If you're just hauling 100 pounds of groceries, you really don't need a fancy bike or technical cycling gear. Most of us understand this, I think, but it can be a difficult concept for people who are new to the bike lifestyle (including some riders who do have fancy bikes and technical gear.)

  18. #18
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    All great ideas here. I glimpsed through these at work today, but couldn't put together a reply.

    I do agree with #Machka 's suggestion that we avoid negativity... I also agree with #Roody 's suggestion that Bike To Work challenges aren't wildly effective.

    I wouldn't expect this program we're discussing here to move any mountains either. But it might be a fun event and it might get people talking about our dependence on the automobile.

    But #chewybrian 's comment rings truest for me

    Is there a "car free day" along the lines of the Great American Smoke Out? A few people go the day without a smoke, and get the idea they could do without smokes. Maybe if a few people went without a car for a day, they'd see that life goes on without it. (I can remember a time when a day without a car seemed very stressful)

    If there is such a day, it needs a better publicity man.
    I'm hoping we can be the "publicity man" here, create something that could go viral... or at least could be picked up by someone and morphed into a useful idea.

    Anyway let's try working together... pitch in ideas. No idea is a bad idea. Lurkers of the world... speak up!

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wipekitty View Post
    I think this is absolutely right.

    To add to this, I think it is important for such a PSA campaign to feature normal-looking people in normal-looking clothes doing difficult tasks on bikes. If you're just hauling 100 pounds of groceries, you really don't need a fancy bike or technical cycling gear. Most of us understand this, I think, but it can be a difficult concept for people who are new to the bike lifestyle (including some riders who do have fancy bikes and technical gear.)
    You get it! I would agree that it should be normal people--but slightly better looking or cooler than the average person. People are most persuaded by spokesmen that they perceive to be just a little bit "higher class" than themselves.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

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    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    So after thinking about this a while... I'd like to pitch this:

    Name of the program: 5 Days without a Car Challenge. I'm hoping this would particularly appeal to cyclists . We have so many who flock to do centuries, brag about their first overnight bike tour, first winter commute... our challenge could be along similar lines.

    The challenge could evolve as a Facebook open group, where seasoned car-free cyclists could pitch ideas (ie, solve the casserole paradox mentioned above...). Cyclists who completed the challenge could post their experiences or show photos. Perhaps we could get an organization like Undriving to help.

    Perhaps someone who lurks here might be on a bicycle advocacy committee and include it in their Bike Month package.

    On that note, anyone have any refinements? Better way to pitch the challenge? Web sites, organizations would could promote it??
    Last edited by gerv; 04-21-14 at 08:40 PM.

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerv View Post
    So after thinking about this a while... I'd like to pitch this:

    Name of the program: 5 Days without a Car Challenge. I'm hoping this would particularly appeal to cyclists . We have so many who flock to do centuries, brag about their first overnight bike tour, first winter commute... our challenge could be along similar lines.

    The challenge could evolve as a Facebook open group, where seasoned car-free cyclists could pitch ideas (ie, solve the casserole paradox mentioned above...). Cyclists who completed the challenge could post their experiences or show photos. Perhaps we could get an organization like Undriving to help.

    Perhaps someone who lurks here might be on a bicycle advocacy committee and include it in their Bike Month package.

    On that note, anyone have any refinements? Better way to pitch the challenge? Web sites, organizations would could promote it??
    For hardcore cyclists, a "Carfree Century" might be appealing. 100 miles in one day, but you must include transportation riding skills like going to stores and restaurants, hauling groceries, and staying clean enough to visit public establishments. Other skills might be included like taking a bus with your bike and night riding.

    I have done many 60 or 70 mile days like this, but never a full century. It would be fun, and would also demonstrate that bikes are practical for covering long distances.

    If you did the century as part of a 5 day carfree challenge, you might want to make the next day a rest day--no bike travel at all, just use walking and/or transit. This would demonstrate the other modes that are available as a Plan B.
    Last edited by Roody; 04-21-14 at 09:14 PM.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  22. #22
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerv View Post
    On that note, anyone have any refinements? Better way to pitch the challenge? Web sites, organizations would could promote it??
    As I mentioned ... do a Google search on all the Bike to Work days and Walk to Work days. Then contact those organisations. Work together with existing organisations.

    When this one is doing one thing and that one is doing another thing, they all lose their appeal.

    But perhaps if you could get several to work together and have a coordinated car-free day once a month. As wipekitty says, a Bike to Work day or week is OK, but doesn't promote or encourage long-term change.

    These events also lose their appeal when they exclude people. For example, some Walk to Work days don't want anything to do with cyclists or rollerbladers ... and some Bike to Work days don't want anything to do with pedestrians or people who ride the bus. It's all good. The best events include anyone opting for human-powered transportation of whatever sort ... or public transportation.

    One good Walk to Work day encouraged people to walk all the way to work, or if they were some distance away, they encouraged people to take the bus or drive halfway and walk the rest. They were inclusive of everyone ... encouraging everyone to get out and do at least some walking. (No negativity or shaming techniques.) That organisation set up a website where people could post pictures and comments of their walk, and many did. And many mentioned that this was the first time they had ever walked all or partway to work ... they hadn't really thought about doing it before. For some who walked partway to work, it was an eye opening experience that they could make the trip half-bus/half-walk and get some exercise and get to work in about the same length of time.



    You mentioned Facebook ... have you done a search to see if there is a Facebook page for something like this already?

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    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    The bike to work stuff is pretty lame. Cool in the 90s but played out.

    I actually think negativity is the way to go. A lot of psychology studies show that negative messages are more effective. (That's why politicians use them all the time.) For carfree ad campaigns, the message should be shame based:

    "The city put in all of these great bike lanes and you wimps are too lazy to use them. What's wrong with you people? Don't you care about the climate? It wouldn't kill you to get a little exercise either."

    and btw, if you have made a commitment to yourself to be carfree, and then you use a car, then yes you have failed. It's nothing to beat yourself up about, but it is a failure. Just like if you committed to work out four times a week and you only work out twice, you have failed. Figure out what went wrong and do better next week.
    I hardly think that very many people will bother to walk or cycle to work if physical fitness is the only reason given for doing so. All of the advantages must be on the table, including the amount of money one might be expected to save and the fact that it's a green way of getting around. This isn't negativity; it's honesty. If a few climate change deniers are put off by such a message, so be it.
    Smug, car-bashing cyclist and public transport user.

  24. #24
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    gerv, a couple questions about your 5-day plan.

    1) Are you thinking it would be Monday to Friday ... or any 5 days of a week?

    2) Are you thinking it would be at a specific time of year (like the third week of April) ... or any time of the year?


    One of the reasons I ask is because of Roody's comment below. If you're thinking it would be a specific Monday to Friday, then you also need to factor in the fact that people work. It would be difficult to take a day off in order to ride a century. This was one of the issues I had with the breakfasts that seem so popular with Bike To Work days. They'd schedule a breakfast in some obscure location from 7-9 am ... but I had to be on my way to work, or at work, by then.

    If you are thinking it would be a Monday to Friday thing, then things like work and school need to be kept in mind. Utility cycling. Getting people to and from work, school, shopping, etc. ... providing links to resources, working with businesses and local governments to support human-powered transportation for that week, etc.

    If you're thinking it could be any 5 days, that might open it up to include a few non-utility events.


    Now regarding the time of year, are you thinking this would be a world-wide thing, or just something in the US? If US, then you can likely choose a good time of year. Worldwide, however, poses some weather issues.





    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    For hardcore cyclists, a "Carfree Century" might be appealing. 100 miles in one day, but you must include transportation riding skills like going to stores and restaurants, hauling groceries, and staying clean enough to visit public establishments. Other skills might be included like taking a bus with your bike and night riding.

    I have done many 60 or 70 mile days like this, but never a full century. It would be fun, and would also demonstrate that bikes are practical for covering long distances.

    If you did the century as part of a 5 day carfree challenge, you might want to make the next day a rest day--no bike travel at all, just use walking and/or transit. This would demonstrate the other modes that are available as a Plan B.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Well thank goodness there aren't very many people with your attitude or no one would want to ride a bicycle ... or exercise ... or do much of anything Unfortunately it is this very attitude that makes people avoid this forum ... and avoid the idea of being car-free or car-light. One can only hope your post is some kind of [very weird] joke.

    Or if not ... do you consider yourself an abject failure? By your own comments (I quote: "if you have made a commitment to yourself to be carfree, and then you use a car, then yes you have failed") ... you are. Is that really how you think of yourself?


    Fortunately there is a much better approach ... the encouraging approach. Everyone has a choice of how they want to transport themselves from one point to another. Many times, using a motorised vehicle is the best choice, but if a person could walk/cycle or drive, and either method would work just as well ... and if that person chooses to walk/cycle for that particular trip ... great! But they are not failures if they happen to choose to drive ... it's just simply a choice that they have made.

    I would rather see people be encouraged to walk/cycle. Show them that walking or cycling to the shop, the tourist attraction, work, etc. is a good choice for various reasons.

    But don't criticise and call them down if they don't make that choice. What a poor way to convince anyone to do something.
    There seems to be a misunderstanding of the difference between failing to achieve a goal (or failing at a task) and being a failure. Was Edison a failure? Of course not, in spite of the many times he failed to succeed in his pursuit of an electric light. Failing at a task or while pursuing a goal is akin to learning to succeed. When one gives up, and thus fails no more, then one may be a failure, at least in terms of that task/goal. Truly being a failure would involve a much more widespread habit of quitting to the point of a character flaw. Your insistence that failing at a task is the same as being a failure is what is being perceived as negative, IMO.

    Considering how few people in those countries that have English as the dominant language actually ride bikes, claiming that "going negative" would somehow keep the people who don't ride from riding is nonsensical at best. I agree with Roody that a public shaming campaign would be more effective than lollipops and flowers. In my home state of California, the state made some powerful anti-smoking ads that were incredibly negative, but so effective the tobacco industry sued to get them off the air. Car addictions kill hundreds of thousands of my fellow citizens every year. I think we are overdue for a bit of public shaming and education of the consequences of this deadly addiction.

    That's not to say cars don't have a place. Just as opiates are great medicines that are deadly when abused, so it is with cars. They can be great tools, but, at least where I live, we tend to overuse them in ways that damage the environment, our economies and public health.

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