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-   -   Spreading the bug? (https://www.bikeforums.net/living-car-free/896377-spreading-bug.html)

lasauge 06-17-13 10:05 PM

Spreading the bug?
 
Has anyone here successfully convinced acquaintances/coworkers to go by bike instead of by car? I discovered the other day that one of my coworkers (in a different department than the one I work in) lives about half a mile from where we work but still drives even on beautiful spring days, he's in his 20's, healthy, and has no kids to drop at school or cargo to carry either. His spending money to be trapped in a pollution spreading box, getting to work no faster than he could with a leisurely bike ride seems like a tragedy from my point of view.

Now, I'm not talking about proselytizing, I think most people here will agree that going around preaching the virtues of bicycling accomplishes nothing except making the biker look like a nagging holier-than-thou jackass. I don't present my choice of vehicles as anything special, and unless the topic comes up because people ask when see me riding in to work, I rarely talk about up bicycling for transportation (most new coworkers never notice I ride to work until the snow starts falling, then my attire starts to attract questions) but I'm not ashamed to talk about it either, I act like it's as normal and commonplace as I wish it was - not because I'm an environmentalist or think that I know better than people, but if I could encourage people to do something I think would bring them some pleasure, I'd be happy to see it happen.

On the other hand, it's somewhat disappointing that I've not seen any real increase in the number of people who ride in several years, just presenting an example of how useful a bicycle can be doesn't seem to convince anyone to leave their cars at home, so I'm wondering if anyone here has had success with a more active approach?

I'm thinking that the next time I end up talking to this coworker I'll ask if he's ever ridden to work, and if not, if he'd be interested in a $50 bike which I could provide - does that sound reasonable?

Smallwheels 06-17-13 10:37 PM

I've been riding to work for three years. I've seen other bicycles in the rack only three times. At my second job there was a guy that talked to me about it a couple of times. I think he did ride a few times but he was already interested in doing it. Seeing me just gave him a little boost. I don't think he stuck with it.

Does offering to sell a bicycle for $50 seem reasonable? Maybe if he wants one it will. Talk about bicycles first and if he doesn't have one then tell him you have one for sale. You can ride it to work and show it to him. If he wants it he can buy it from you on the spot and then give you a ride home in his car with his new bicycle.

I-Like-To-Bike 06-17-13 10:40 PM


Originally Posted by lasauge (Post 15754173)
Has anyone here successfully convinced acquaintances/coworkers to go by bike instead of by car?
[SNIP]
On the other hand, it's somewhat disappointing that I've not seen any real increase in the number of people who ride in several years, just presenting an example of how useful a bicycle can be doesn't seem to convince anyone to leave their cars at home, so I'm wondering if anyone here has had success with a more active approach?

I'm thinking that the next time I end up talking to this coworker I'll ask if he's ever ridden to work, and if not, if he'd be interested in a $50 bike which I could provide - does that sound reasonable?

Might sound reasonable on this discussion list.

Given that you've not seen any real increase in the number of people who ride in several years, even after presenting an example of how useful a bicycle can be, and your personal viewpoint that your coworkers' choices are a "tragedy", your viewpoint will show if you take a "more active approach", and you will be considered by most people "a nagging holier-than-thou jackass," as you already noted.

Roody 06-18-13 12:38 AM

The most I'm going to do is provide information to those who ask for it. One carfree co-worker was taking a cab until I showed her my lights and a "secret" room inside the hospital where I park my bike. Now she rides most of the time. I mapped out a safe route for another guy and he was riding to work until he got fired.

it doesn't always work. One guy told me he would ride but his bike had two flat tires. I fixed the tires for him but he still never biked to work AFAIK.

wahoonc 06-18-13 05:17 AM

All you can do is set an example and be receptive to questions and gently offer help. A lot of people have a very narrow "comfort zone". FWIW I am helping a friend in Iowa move away from car dependency towards cycling, the small town she lives in is great for getting around in by bike. Her biggest challenge has been the mechanical side of things.

Aaron :)

rumrunn6 06-18-13 06:56 AM

for all the crap this one guy used to give me he eventually would try a partial commute in and a full ride home a couple times. I'm not there anymore, so I wonder what he's up to. despite him being an immature a-hole we had good talks about cycling sometimes.

Artkansas 06-18-13 08:31 AM

In all my years, I think I've contributed to three people taking up the bike as transportation. Two were co-workers at a lamp factory where I worked. One was a recovering alcoholic, the other a junkie.

The third was my Dad, who seeing me commute, became a bike commuter himself. I don't know if I was a direct influence there though. He never asked me any questions about it.

Roody 06-18-13 09:54 AM

Sometimes I can't resist a snide comment.

For example, when there was a big snow storm while we were at work, I loved pedaling past co-workers who were scraping snow off their cars. I yelled, "Boy, I'd sure hate to be driving in weather like this!"

A couple of times I have gloated that I probably got home before they even dug their cars out of the snow and ice. They might say, "Yeah, but at least I was warm." I reply, "when I'm pedaling, I warm up a lot faster than your car heater does."

Lately they have been griping about the spike in gas prices here in the Midwest. All I can say is, "Oh, have gas prices gone up? I really hadn't noticed."

fat_bike_nut 06-18-13 06:37 PM

I don't unless they bring it up first. I also doubt that anyone in my department would be interested in a bike commute, because as I stated in another thread, most of my co-workers live pretty far away from the workplace. About 20-60 miles away (one-way) from the workplace. That's far enough away that I would just drive. Public transportation has very limited service during my commute to work hours (3:00 A.M.-ish). But if the service wasn't so limited and awful at 3:00 A.M., I'd definitely take it over driving because parking is a PITA in San Francisco. The ones who are close enough to work either don't know how to ride or have no interest in cycling, period. At least from the ones who brought up the fact that I commute by bicycle.

I see other bikes on the racks occasionally, but it seems like my bike is the only one that's consistently there Monday thru Friday during my work hours.

no1mad 06-18-13 07:01 PM

If I didn't already have a bike and had a half mile commute, I'd just walk. Of course, I did walk 3 miles r/t for 3 years before investing in a bike...

DX-MAN 06-18-13 07:04 PM

Seems to me there are two ways to try and convince people to do something they'd rather not do (the case with most people about bike commuting); you either preach it or sell it.

I'm no preacher, for sure, and evidently I'm no salesman, either; lately, I haven't even been able to convince my co-worker (who USED to ride ALL THE TIME!) to get back into it! He keeps giving me these excuses about the kids, his start-up jewelry business, not having time, etc..... Now, THIS is the guy that "enabled" my rediscovered passion for the ride, 13 years ago! How bad am *I*, that I can't get THIS guy back on the bike?!? LOL!

People around here live by their preconceived notions, and resist anyone without a teaching certificate, in a class they've PAID for, telling them ANYTHING. SO I just ride.

gerv 06-18-13 09:09 PM


Originally Posted by Artkansas (Post 15755172)
The third was my Dad, who seeing me commute, became a bike commuter himself. I don't know if I was a direct influence there though. He never asked me any questions about it.

That would make me immensely proud. Congratulations!

PedalingFool 06-18-13 10:57 PM

There's a 55 year old female on my Facebook that seen all my pictures and videos of my rides that says she's getting a bike because of me...

This is the kind of high class woman that has long fingernails, always wearing high heels, and fancy dresses. Not sure if she's really going to
go through with it though... especially since the weather here in Michigan hasn't been exactly bike friendly much at all this season.

Roody 06-19-13 10:37 AM


Originally Posted by PedalingFool (Post 15758105)
There's a 55 year old female on my Facebook that seen all my pictures and videos of my rides that says she's getting a bike because of me...

This is the kind of high class woman that has long fingernails, always wearing high heels, and fancy dresses. Not sure if she's really going to
go through with it though... especially since the weather here in Michigan hasn't been exactly bike friendly much at all this season.

That's great!

It's funny that this thread came up just now....

Just a couple days ago, I was talking to a female co-worker of about that age, also with the fingernails. She told me she had gone on a 16 mile bike ride that morning. She agreed with my observation that, far from being exhausted from her longest ride ever, she seemed to have more energy than usual.

I said, "Gosh, if you can do that, riding to work would be a piece of cake." She agreed, but said she wouldn't want to ride home in the dark when our shift ends at 11:30 PM. I said it was too bad she would have to leave her bike at work if she rode in.

Then, a couple minutes later, I heard her on the phone with another co-worker, who lives down the street from her. "Hey, if I ride my bike to work tomorrow, can I throw it in your van and get a ride home?"

So she had the idea herself, but in a way, I planted the seed. I also helped her plan a safe and pleasant route to work. I know she's only doing half a commute, and she will only do it when the weather is great. But, hey, baby steps....


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