Friday, October 21, 2011

How to Increase Cycling in the City

Everyone knows that cycling is an environmentally responsible way to get around town. While purchasing a decent bike is cheap, most people still opt out for the convenient transportation a car provides. If we were to conduct paid surveys and online polls, most people would say that they want more sustainable and affordable ways to commute.

Cycling may get excellent poll numbers and publicity, but people still refuse to actually do it on a consistent basis. In order to get more people into this healthy, sustainable, and fun activity, the community needs to create more incentives for its residents. Here are some solutions to help get people out of their cars and pedaling to their destinations more often:

Paid Advertising

When you look out on the road, there are tones of mobile advertisements: NASCAR drivers are sponsored by major corporations, major corporations are using mobile billboards, and regular people are getting their vehicles sponsored in order to save on gas money. Why shouldn't cyclists be able to do the same thing?

Lance Armstrong wore the USPS' logo on his uniform for several years because he was seen by millions. Smaller businesses with smaller budgets can place their brand image on local cyclists who commute to work every day on busy city streets.

Social Events

In many cities, there are people using Facebook to plan cycling pub crawl events. Groups of riders dart around town on their bikes and visit designated pubs for refreshment. While these types of events are gaining popularity, there is one that stands above the pack. The World Naked Bike Ride is a massive event taking place over many cities that encourages riders to “Bare as You Dare.” This clothing optional event helps raise awareness for sharing the road while promoting positive body-image issues.

Whacky Races

The New Belgium brewery located in Colorado sponsors a series of races across the country simply dubbed the Urban Assault Ride. In these city-wide races, teams of cyclists pair together to race through their respective streets, parks, and neighborhoods while stopping at checkpoints to complete obstacle courses. After the race is over, New Belgium offers a healthy sampling of all of their brews for the thirsty participants. This is a good way to juxtapose the physical fitness of cycling with the atmosphere of a backyard BBQ.

Mobile Reward Apps

In London, the RecycleBank company is starting a programme that allows smartphone users to download an app that rewards them for physical activity. This app lets people who walk or cycle around town gain points which they can then redeem at local merchants. This is an excellent way to get people to become more active and rely less on their cars. It is essentially bribing them to get more physical, but the ends justify the means.

There are several other ways that cities are trying to garner an interest in cycling. This will eventually lead to a more physically fit population, better air quality, less pollution, and less congested traffic during rush hour. All you have to do to participate - just strap on a helmet and start cycling.

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