Plan a Bike Month Event
Plan a Bike Month Event
To get things rolling in your community, the League created a step-by-step guide will help you in creating a successful Bike Month event in your organization, workplace, city, or state.
In this guide, we commonly refer to Bike to Work Day events, because they’re the most popular. But the tips and techniques in the following pages will help you plan any Bike Month event, from a citywide ride to a small gathering within your own company or organization.
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Read all about 2014 Bike Month in the May/June issue of American Bicyclist
National Bike Month
San Francisco, California hosts numerous bike tours during National Bike Month. On Bike to Work Day, they set up energizer stations in various neighborhoods so that people could stop in on their morning and evening commutes. The energizer stations had food, red blinky lights and reflective leg bands.
National Bike to School Day:
In partnerhips with the League, the National Center for Safe Routes to School now organizes an annual Bike to School Day during the first week of Bike Month. Organize a bike-pool or bike train for parents at your school and engage the next generation of bicyclists! Learn more and get tips at www.walkbiketoschool.org.
Car vs. Bus vs. Bike Commuter Race:
The city of Dallas, Texas has played host to several Car vs. Bus vs. Bike Commuter Races. Motorist, bus driver and cyclist all start and end the morning rush hour at the same spots, but may take distinctly different routes. The bicyclist always wins! This is a sure-fire media event to run on Bike-to-Work Day to encourage folks to give bicycle commuting a try.
Route Mapping Assistance:
Provide links or maps on the company-wide intranet or available in a common break room highlighting common bike-friendly routes in the area.
Create a ride-matching service that provides novice cyclists with names of experienced commuters in their community (or neighborhood!) who can accompany them on their commute.
Identify several meeting locations for suburban commuters to group and ride to key business districts together. Make arrangements for an experienced bike commuter to lead from each location and ride to the Breakfast Rally celebrating their successful trip.
Breakfast or Energizer Rally:
Work with local restaurants and grocery stores for sponsorship or donation of various food items. Be considerate of the time requirements of community employers when selecting the time for your meal. Remember to consider bicycle parking and restroom facilities and trash collection.
National Bike Challenge or Local Commuter Challenge:
Inspire new and veteran riders with a little friendly competition. Encourage your company, advocacy organization, or community to sign up for the National Bike Challenge at www.nationalbikechallenge.org. The online resource not only allows riders to track their miles, but provides community support, monthly prizes and, of course, friendly rivalries.
Bike Commuting Incentives:
Work with local vendors to provide prizes for Bike-to-Work Day participants. Possible prizes include: bikes, accessories, lights, racks, bags, airline tickets, and gift certificates to various local businesses. If sponsorship permits, have T-shirts or reflective commuter vests produced promoting the sponsors.
Ride with the Mayor:
Getting local elected officials in the shows important support for Bike to Work Day. Use this opportunity to highlight good bike facilities in your area, tour the local trail system, and show the elected official how important it is to maintain them!
Open Streets Events:
A growing number of communities are promoting active transportation by temporarily closing a street to cars and opening it to people! Whether biking or walking, dancing or roller skating, an Open Streets or Ciclavia events is a great way to create a community celebration around healthy mobility options.
Smart Cycling Classes:
League Cycling Instructors offer a wide variety of classes for any audience, including Commuters, Group Rides, Traffic Skills and more. Recreational clubs can sponsor group-riding clinics and advocacy organizations can sponsor classes for public officials.
Both entertaining and education, bike rodeos teach kids bicycle handling and safety skills, while also sharing the rules of the road in a safe environment. A great idea for Bike to School Day!
Bike to... Events:
Encourage the use of the bicycle for transportation by working in partnership with local retailers and event promoters to offer special discounts to customers arriving by bicycle. And don’t forget...
Bike valet parking:
Make sure folks know it will be easy to arrive by bike to cycling or other events during Bike Month by providing easy, convenient parking.
Proclamation of May as National Bike Month:
Ask your Mayor, City Council or Governor to officially proclaim May as National Bike Month check the Additional Materials section for a sample proclamation.
Bike Month ride(s):
Bike to Work Day is certainly a highlight but it’s just one day in the month of May. Keep the momentum going by hosting rides with different themes, to different destinations or for different constituencies.
Whether it’s a fashion show, a happy hour or a festival, there are so many ways to share the joy, diversity and camaraderie of cycling. What’s unique about bike culture in your community? Put it on display!
- Write the plan: February
- Initiate Fundraising Efforts: February
- Build Partnerships: February/March
- Recruit Volunteers: February/March
- Promote the event: April/May
- Enjoy the event: May
- Reward Volunteers & Recognize Sponsors: March/May
- Evaluate Success: May/June
- Prepare for Next Year: On-going
See the Bike Month Guide for full descriptions of each step and model resources, like a template sponsorshp letter and press release.
Health & Productivity
More than two-thirds of the U.S. adult population is overweight or obese, costing our nation more than $68 billion in health care and personal costs annually. More than one in four kids are overweight, as well. Researchers compared the relationship between bicycling and walking travel and obesity in 14 countries, 50 U.S. states, and 47 U.S. cities, and found statistically significant negative relationships at all levels. Bicycle commuting is a great way to squeeze regular exercise into a hectic schedule. For a 180-pound man, a 10-mile round trip bike commute burns 400 calories; for a 130-pound woman, this same commute burns 300 calories.
A study of nearly 2,400 adults found that those who biked to work were fitter, leaner, less likely to be obese, and had better triglyceride levels, blood pressure, and insulin levels than those who didn't active commute to work. According to a survey by the Transportation Research Board, more than 80 percent of bicycle commuters believe their health has improved since they started bicycle commuting.
Plus, bike commuters report lower stress and greater feelings of freedom, relaxation, and excitement than car commuters. Employers in the community benefit from a healthy, active workforce, as well. Cyclists on average take 15 percent fewer days off work through illness than non-cyclists, and generally accomplish more work.
There's nothing like riding to stimulate circulation, relieve stress, allow creative thought and establish a positive attitude toward oneself and one's environment. Bicyclists are less likely to be affected by traffic congestion, too. Whether they ride on bike paths or roads, bicycles are much more maneuverable than automobiles. Wide lanes, shoulders and bike lanes provide space for bicyclists to ride right past traffic and on to work.
Bicycle commuting saves on parking fees, parking tickets, fuel costs, auto maintenance costs and transit fares. According to analysis by the League, Americans saved more than $4.6 billion by bicycling instead of driving in 2012 alone.
The average annual operating expense of a bicycle is just $308, versus more than $8,000 for a car. In some large urban areas, it is possible to save more than $200 per month on parking alone. According to CEOs for Cities, New Yorkers save $19 billion per year because they rely less on cars than residents of other major U.S. cities. A new bicycle and cycling gear would pay for itself in a few months. Portland, Ore., residents save $2.6 billion per year thanks to spending less time in cars and more time biking or walking. And investing in bicycle infrastructure is cost-effective, too. For $60 million — the cost of a single mile of urban highway — the city built a full city-wide bicycle network. And biking is good for business, too. Research in multiple cities has shown that patrons arriving by bike visit more often and spend more money. Since the costs of employee parking sites are growing, many companies are looking for cheaper alternatives. It costs the same to build parking for 75 bikes as it does for just 4 cars! Environmental Benefit
The transportation sector is responsible for more than 70 percent of all petroleum use in the U.S., and NASA reports that motor vehicles are the greatest contributor to climate change. More bicycle use means a smaller carbon footprint. During the 2012 National Bike Challenge, Americans kept more than 13 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions out of the atmosphere by riding their bikes instead of driving their cars. Beyond carbon dioxide, cars are the single largest source of U.S. air pollution. Short trips are up to three times more polluting per mile than long trips. When bicycling is substituted for short auto trips, 3.6 pounds of pollutants per mile are not emitted into the atmosphere. Add to that: There are 800 million car parking spaces in the U.S., totaling 160 billion square feet of concrete and asphalt. Ten bikes can park in the space used by a single motor vehicle!