Introduction: How to Encourage Your Fellow Citizens to Bike to Work
May 15 is Bike to Work Day in San Francisco. Biking to work is great on most days, but Bike to Work Day is special because the San Francisco Bike Coalition encourages people to try biking to work with Energizer stations all over the city that reward bikers with small gifts and treats.
I wanted to volunteer at one of these stations, but I was sick during the training sessions so that was out of the question. Since our new office is on a major biking route in San Francisco, Folsom St., where half a dozen riders cross with every light I figured we could do something a little special for the riders on our own.
The solution here is to set up a finish line complete with a tape for riders to break through. We had cheerers, medals for winning, and a "mayor" who would hand out medals and pose for pictures with the winners.
Check it out.
Step 1: Make Up a Race and Prizes
Since it's Bike to Work Day we had to have a Bike to Work Race. And what's a race without a medal? These medals were laser-etched and cut out of a few different kinds of acrylic. The mirrored one is my favorite, though.
Step 2: Make Up Some Roles and Cool Name Tags
We needed to have someone give out the medals to the winners and why not invite the mayor? And if the mayor turns you down because you just sent an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and it bounced, then make your own shiny name tag and let your friends be the mayor for a bit.
Step 3: Get Other Friends to Cheer on the Riders
We found that many people figured that the finish line was for someone else and would swerve around it. We needed to guide them to it and cheer them on in the process. These guys even brought their own crepe paper and turned them into pom-poms. Look at that enthusiasm!
Step 4: Make the Finish Line and Put It All Together
We had a couple pieces of PVC lying around and some scrap canvas that we spray-painted "FINISH" onto. Some rope ties it all together and the two people holding it are also in charge of the finish line tape, which was really just toilet paper.
For quick redeploying of the toilet paper after each winner, simply put the roll of toilet paper over the PVC pipe so that it easily unrolls.
Step 5: Catch the Winners and Give Them the Medals
Once people go through the finish line they can be pretty excited and keep on racing down the street past you. We set up the mayor station about 20 feet after the finish line and shouted at them to stop for their prize. Don't try to explain. Just shouting, "STOP! I have something for you!" seemed to work the best.
Don't forget to pose for pictures.
Step 6: Take Lots More Photos
It's a sunny day and people are surprised with something different. Take plenty of pics to remember it all.
A big thank you to everyone involved, including Noah, Rachel, Billy, Bilal, Paul, Mike, Brian, Benji, Matt, and Paul.