Bike-to-Work Day as a Multipurpose Tool
 
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We are full swing into biking season. May 27th was National Bike-to-Work Day and June 10th was Cycle Commuter Day here in London, Ontario. In the wake of bike-to-work initiatives throughout the country (and beyond), I want to bring some attention to the relevance of such events.

Bike-to-work initiatives go beyond merely promoting healthier choices for people and reducing carbon emissions. A bike-to-work day is a useful tool in designing cities for people. In 2016, I published an article called Bike to Work Day: a potential tool for planning and fostering sustainable mobility) in the scientific journal JEMS (Journal of Environmental Management and Sustainability) where we demonstrated, based on a city-wide campaign in Curitiba, Brazil, the usefulness of such an initiative as (1) a promotional tool, (2) a cultural-shifting tool, (3) a tool to boost the local economy, and (4) a planning tool. I want to share some of our findings from 2016 in a four-part series.

1. Bike to Work Day as a promotional tool

Getting more people on bikes is the most obvious goal of a bike-to-work day. That means the main target audience is new cyclists and it is important to devise an adequate strategy for this particular group of people.

But who are the potential cyclists? In 2006, Roger Geller, the Bicycle Coordinator for Portland, Oregon, released a paper that proposed a new typology of cyclists, entitled “Four Types of Cyclists.”

  • Strong and fearless

  • Enthused and confident

  • Interested, but concerned

  • No way, no how

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Geller estimated that 60% of the population falls under the “interested, but concerned” category and a study conducted a few years later found similar numbers in 50 metropolitan areas in North America. This is very good news. A bike-to-work day can focus on people who are already willing to give the bike a try, and they represent the majority of the population.

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From a health behaviour change standpoint, not everyone is ready to jump into action. Different people are in different stages of readiness for change. People who are ready to try a new habit are in either the contemplation, or preparation stage. Strategies must be tailored to the specific needs of these two groups, which include among other things: sharing information; building confidence; finding role models; and making the first bike ride as easy and convenient as possible by addressing the main barriers to cycling. Of course, it’s not possible to solve all the issues with a bike-to-work day event, but they should be addressed as much as possible. In our case that included:

  • Access to a functional bike

  • Wayfinding

  • Support from co-workers

  • Safe cycling infrastructure

The 2016 article demonstrated that it was the first time a local cycling campaign specifically and intentionally targeted the “interested, but concerned” demographic, and 29.4% of the participants were riding to work for the first time (information based on a survey with 320 valid answers). This is a remarkably high number of beginners, almost 1 out of 3.

Finding #1: targeted campaigns can yield much better results than one-size-fits-all campaigns.

Next in the series: Bike-to-Work Day as a cultural-shift tool

 
We're hiring a Bike Mechanic/ Community-Builder!

As part of the Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) program, this role will span 9 weeks with 30 hours per week. There’s a flexible start date, with the earliest being May 13th and the latest being June 3rd. The pay will be $15/ hour. The candidate must be between 15 and 30 years old.

Overview:

London Cycle Link (LCL) is a small but growing non-profit organization that is dedicated to making cycling a natural choice for every Londoner. We imagine a London where bikes are commonplace, and everyone feels confident riding. We work to achieve this vision through advocacy, education, research, and community-building. A major component of LCL’s work is the operation of Squeaky Wheel Bike Co-op (SWBC), which is a member-supported DIY bike shop that facilitates cycling education and empowerment. SWBC is operated by a team of volunteers and our executive director.

We are now searching for a self-motivated, diligent, and enthusiastic person to join the LCL team for the summer! Our summer employee is intended to provide more dedicated support to the shop operations (details outlined below) during the busiest part of bike season (although, we tend to think every season could be bike season)! Through this position, a motivated candidate will have opportunity to build their technical/ mechanical, client service, digital marketing, and team leadership skills. The successful candidate will work closely with our executive director and volunteer team to make a significant contribution to our community impact.

Through their positive attitude, confidence in cycling, and eagerness to learn, our summer employee will directly help get more Londoners on bikes!

Duties:

Support the Squeaky Wheel Bike Co-op and its parent organization, London Cycle Link, in daily activities. This will consist of two main categories of work: supporting the Co-op, and supporting the organization as a whole.

Squeaky Wheel Bike Co-op Responsibilities:

  • Assist and educate SWBC members in bike maintenance

  • Collaborate with volunteers and the Executive Director (ED) to manage the shop inventory, merchandising, sales/ transactions, etc

  • Provide knowledgeable and friendly customer service to all patrons, including folks who are brand-new to the organization

  • With the support of volunteers and ED, problem solve any issues that may arise in the bike shop

  • Build and repair donated bicycles to be distributed through our Bikes for Newcomers program or sold as affordable transportation.

  • Support the ED in volunteer coordination and scheduling for SWBC

London Cycle Link Responsibilities:

  • Assist in the design, logistics, delivery, and promotion of cycling workshops and cycling advocacy events.

  • Contribute to the organization’s digital marketing/ storytelling. Capture the “life” of the bike shop and events and share publicly through social media, blogs, graphic design/ creation of promo materials, etc.

  • Support the ED with other administrative tasks such as responding to emails/public inquiries, screening volunteer applications, managing documents, writing grants, etc.

  • Imagine and implement new ways to promote cycling in London.

Requirements:

  • Experience with bicycle maintenance and mechanics

  • Experience in event planning and support

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills

  • Demonstrated interest in teaching and advocacy

  • Demonstrated capacity for team leadership

  • Comfortable cycling in the city

  • Enthusiastic and friendly

  • Self-motivated

  • Diligent time-management and organization

  • Eager to learn

  • Dependable

  • Capacity for creative problem solving

Assets:

  • Familiarity with major topics in cycling advocacy

  • Experience in digital storytelling/ marketing/ promotions

  • Experience in cycling education

  • Retail service experience

Qualified individuals should email their cover letter and resume to Daniel Hall (director@londoncyclelink.ca) no later than Thursday May 9th with the subject line “Summer Job Application”.

London Cycle Link strives for equal opportunity in employment. We welcome applications from persons of diverse backgrounds. Accommodation will be provided in all parts of the hiring process as required by AODA. If you require accommodations, please let us know of your needs in advance. We sincerely thank all candidates for their interest; however, only those selected for an interview will be notified. No phone calls please.

Daniel HallComment
BRT is the best option for cyclists

Dear City Council,

I am writing on behalf of London Cycle Link, a non-profit representing hundreds of Londoners who cycle and desire a more bike-friendly city.

After reviewing the 19 projects eligible for provincial and federal infrastructure funding, the best projects for moving cycling forward in London are the 5 core BRT projects. The original BRT plan incorporates important cycling connections and offers a reliable, frequent, and fast transit alternative when cycling is not possible.

There are three transformational cycling improvements that are part of the north connection and Wellington Road Gateway projects. The first is proper cycling infrastructure across University bridge. Earlier this year when the bridge was closed to vehicular traffic, the bridge was safer for cyclists and encouraged many people to choose to ride to campus. This will also be the case with protected bike lanes on a widened University Bridge. Second, the north connection extends cycling facilities from Western University to Masonville. This will offer another great option for North London residents to get to campus and for students and faculty to get to Masonville. Finally, the third cycling improvement is Wellington Road between Base Line and Bradley. Having a safe cycling connection here will make it possible to ride to Victoria Hospital from the south, and for many people to reach the retail destinations along Wellington Road. All three of these improvements will be transformational for encouraging more people to bike in London.

Further to improved cycling projects, having reliable, fast, and frequent transit in London will allow more people to live a multi-modal lifestyle. There are many people who want to cycle when the weather is nice and the destination can be accessed safely; however, there are many other trips that may need to be completed using a different mode of transportation. A rapid transit system will benefit trips along the corridor and any transit trip that can use the corridor for part of the trip. A London with good cycling infrastructure and a reliable and frequent transit system is much more attractive to help Londoners leave their car at home. This will increase the number of cyclists dramatically.

Please proceed with the 5 projects that comprise the original BRT plan. This is the best plan for a vibrant, healthy, accessible London and the best plan on the table for cycling.

Sincerely,

Daniel Hall

Executive Director

Daniel HallComment