How to Encourage Your Fellow Citizens to Bike to Work

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Introduction: How to Encourage Your Fellow Citizens to Bike to Work

About: I like to make things for the internets. I also sell a pretty cool calendar at supamoto.co. You'll like it.

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.

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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 mayor@sf.gov 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.

Participated in the
Park Tool Bike Month

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    23 Discussions

    0
    fungus amungus
    fungus amungus

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks, Andrea. We gotta do dinner again soon! Adam's been talking about pizza too long. The time to act is now... or very very soon.

    0
    JowSithm
    JowSithm

    12 years ago on Introduction

    I live in Calgary, Alberta. We have oil. Every day, I see pickup after monstrous pickup following parades of SUV's. Each one has one occupant. The driver. Talking on a cell phone. All stuck, unmoving in traffic. Angry. It is sad. I live for my bike(s). I make a living with my bike. I refuse to own a car. Why work to drive to work? The logic is illogical. I tell people, "Just think, never go to a gas station again ('cept to pee). Free parking (in downtown Cowtown parking is more than my rent). No traffic jams. You get to point and laugh. Just ride the damn thing!

    0
    jstoner
    jstoner

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I recommend a U-lock. Here in Chicago a cable lock is an invitation for thieves. If you want space get a bigger one. Also, be careful--it's surprisingly easy to miss the rack and lock your bike to itself. If you do that, either you will get lucky and see that's what happened, or nnot and assume someone defeated the lock. I plaster my gray bike with duct tape. It's a decent bike, it just looks crappy. I've ridden it for 11 years in Chicago, parked in the street all over the city, from Lincoln Park (ritzy neighborhood) to Back of the Yards (rough neighborhood). I also have locking skewers, which means my quick release lever lives on my keychain.

    0
    JowSithm
    JowSithm

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    U-locks can be a handy deterrent against road raging drivers as well. If an angry driver stops and gets out of the car, grab you're (closed) U-lock by the curved end, and make sure the driver sees that you have it, and are repaired to DEFEND yourself with it. (for God's sake DO NOT attack first (we want to come out as the classy ones)). If shiat hits the fan, what ever you do, DO NOT LET GO OF IT!!! You may want to suck it up and run if this happens. I've been a bike messenger for over 10 years, and it's this has saved my butt on more than one occasion. (Never had to use it though). People three times your size are quite likely to think twice if they think you've snapped and are likely to wail on them with the business end of one of those things. I, in NO WAY am advocating violence, in ANY WAY, but by the time the driver steps out of his (yes, it is usually guys) car, reason and logic are useless. I'd highly recommend doing what you can to exit the situation before it gets that far, as anger and violence make us all look stupid. But there are situations.... and a cracked road rager WILL pray on your defenselessness. I take no responsibility, and use your own discretion. Keep your eyes (and ears) open, and do what you can to avoid the drivers that want to 'play' (they are easy to spot: lead foot, (usually) larger (compensatory) vehicles, tailgaters, in a hurry to get to the next red light, and so on). Use you're head when you ride, and for God's sake, PAY ATTENTION to EVERYTHING that is going on around you.

    0
    JowSithm
    JowSithm

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    (lol, I filled that with typos. Sorry.)

    0
    andygreen
    andygreen

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    Hey, I ride to work (20 miles round trip) and ride for fun on weekends, but avoid riding to the grocery store or any place where I have to leave my bike unattended (destroyed, stolen). Any tips? Thanks!

    0
    JowSithm
    JowSithm

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    That's awesome! I love hearing that people ride to work! There are a few things that you can do to decrease the risk of some one walking off with your bike: One thing that I'd highly suggest is not riding a flashy bike when you have to leave it locked up. (most thieves know little about bikes, and go for eye candy). I'd recommend buying a 'commuter' bike. If you hunt around (pawn shops, ebay, friends, etc) you can find a decent one for under $300. Short of that, you can "crapify" your bike, with stickers or paint etc (but it's hard to do that to a beautiful bike). The second thing is to properly lock your bike with a GOOD lock. Use a good cable lock (U-locks don't have enough room and can cause damage). Avoid the locks with round keys, they're easy to pick. Lock your bike in a public area, and away from parking cars, doors, driveways and places that people are likely to knock it as they walk by. Always (always, always) lock your bike to something solid (sign, light post, tree, parking meter etc. Unfortunately, most bike racks are crap). Put the lock through the back wheel, and around the seat tube so it locks the wheel and the frame. If you want to, take off the front wheel, seat, and seatpoast clamp, and lock them in there as well, or better yet, take them with you (bikes are harder to ride without a front wheel and seat). If you leave your front wheel on, and if your wheels are the quick release, you can use the bolt on skewers, or use a zip tie to tie the skewer to the fork to keep someone from opening it easily. Take a glance around for shifty lookin dudes (probably best to do before you lock it up). If you're paranoid, and/or leaving it for a long time, you can use two locks.

    0
    killerjackalope

    This I like, one of those making things better 'ibles, on a random note I got stopped by police again, Slipstreaming a bus along the dual caraigeway, which apparently is not for bicycles, they had no idea how I was going that fast, neither understood basic aerodynamics...

    0
    leebryuk
    leebryuk

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    I was doing the same thing on my road bike in a rural area behind a large van. He was going pretty fast. He came around a corner where I fell behind and I pumped pretty hard when he suddenly came to a stop. I have NEVER handled a bike so deftly at that moment. It was a combination of a hard turn, front tire washout that was corrected and a move into the shoulder between a prominent ditch and the passenger side of the van. I'm sure the driver didn't do it on purpose. He looked lost. But I learned that lesson. It took me a while for my heart to drop below 200 bpm. My hands shaked all the way home.

    0
    killerjackalope
    killerjackalope

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    I watch for it and stay at a good distance, however when I'm scuppered I just stick my legs out and use them to stop the bike hitting the vehicle... My best on was being behind a bus when someone turning on to the road cut it really fine, shoot over towards the outside lane, dodge the car swinging in between the now braking bus and a van and somehow ending up alive...

    0
    killerjackalope
    killerjackalope

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    Uhoh, what happened? I've always rode MTB so it's not much of a worry to me...

    0
    threecheersfornick
    threecheersfornick

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    Flat tire. Had to keep riding on his rims. Nasty for the bike. On another note, MTB? Mountain bike? (I ride a mountain bike, but my dad rides a road bike. I've never gotten a flat. He gets one monthly.)

    0
    Brennn10
    Brennn10

    12 years ago on Introduction

    In Providence, Rhode Island today, I saw a huge sign for Bike to Work Day. It was so neat. I immediately thought of this Instructable.

    0
    leebryuk
    leebryuk

    12 years ago on Introduction

    Man, this makes me want to live in San Francisco. I live in Tampa and we deal with 4-6 lane roads, 60+ mph traffic and burning sun and killing lightning. I will say that the traffic has become more polite over the years. But that sun is a killer. My jobs range from 12 to 38 miles one way and neither has a shower so sadly it is largely impractical. The volume of cars is deafening and frightening during rush hours (7-9 AM and 4 till 6:30PM). I've biked here most of my life and am use to very heavy traffic and know every short cut. It just turns into diminshed returns after a while.

    0
    GorillazMiko
    GorillazMiko

    12 years ago on Introduction

    Cool! We do that here too, my teacher told me this the other day, like 2 weeks ago. :P But I didn't ride by bike to work because I'm gangsta like dat. +5/5 stars.