Sunday, May 10, 2009
Bike "In Style" to Work Week - Flagstaff, AZ! and Contest!!
I'll be continuing my report on the Portland trip soon but must interrupt that story to return to Flagstaff bike commuting in support of Bike to Work Week (May 10 - 15). I've got a little contest to tell you about but I'll get to that later.
This will be my second year participating and I can already see that this year will trump last year's success. Though last summer's spike in gas prices have eased considerably, with so many people concerned about the economy could it be that more and more people are looking for ways to simplify and cope with financial uncertainty? Maybe with the stress of not knowing what might lie around the employment corner, people are experimenting with the tried and true from their or their parents (or grandparents) past. I know my parents got around as kids walking, biking, and riding public transit. Still, others might just be looking for ways to inject a bit of fun and physical activity into their daily lives. For me it is absolutely a combination of all of the above.
A recent conversation with a coworker explored the question of what continues to stop some individuals from taking the step to try bike commuting when it offers so many benefits? What convincing do they need that bike commuting might be a worthwhile experiment? Don't they care? Hmmm . . . begs the question, care about what? Almost everyone cares about something, and I believe after figuring out what that something is we in the bike commuting world have to help the uninitiated overcome the barriers to positive change (and yes, I am borrowing the lingo of my former life as a therapist but I think it applies).
Since this is my blog, I'll start with me and my personal experiment. I wanted to bike to work for years but was scared to try. My friend Elizabeth in Louisville biked to work and school and always looked fabulous. Her bike commuting seemed to compliment her youthful, carefree nature, but also said something about her commitment to both taking care of herself and her community. I had no great fear of being hit by a car but I questioned if I could carry off bike commuting quite as effortlessly as Elizabeth did (and I assume still does). I believe, that like me, most people who don't make the jump from strictly driving to bike commuting stick with their car because there is a better than even chance they will arrive to work fresh and looking NORMAL. I truly believe that a significant barrier to bike commuting for many, many people is the fear of looking odd or weird. I realize how simplistic this sounds but (going back to my experience as a therapist again) I've found that most of us really just want to fit in. Part of fitting in often involves wearing the prescribed uniform of your workplace, which in most environments does not include spandex or perspiration soaked clothes.
Thus, my love of the slow bike movement and all things cycle chic. Last year's trial run with Bike to Work Week lead to websurfing which lead to Paul Dorn's bike commuting tips and later my discovery of Copenhagen Cycle Chic. Paul Dorn provided practical tips on getting to work fresh and ready to work in communities that in many cases still have not priorities multimodal transportation. Copenhagen Cycle Chic and the other cycle chic blogs provided the visual proof that told me I could not only arrive nicely dressed but also possibly be a source of inspiration to others.
Call for Entries - Bike "In Style" to Work!
And now to the contest, I'll call Bike In Style to Work Week. I am inviting my readers where ever you may be to help inspire those of us in Flagstaff to be a little more stylish on our morning and evening commutes, and of course, during those errands that would otherwise put us in our cars. Whether your community is celebrating Bike to Work Week or not, please send me a jpg file of you and your bike in your bike to work best on your way to or from work. Spandex and lycra do not count as Bike to Work Week best. Entries should be sent between May 11 and noon on May 16 to firstname.lastname@example.org. All entries should include contact information and no more than two photos. The entries will be judged by a team of my choosing, whose qualifications are whatever I decide they should be for that day. No contest is complete without prizes. I will award the top three winners, judged by my team of judges, each a Flagstaff Urban Trails System Map and a Route 66 decal, which will be purchased with my own money from the Visitor's Center.