Just what should I say?

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
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jan19
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Location: Orpington, Kent

Just what should I say?

Postby jan19 » 20 Jun 2008, 5:51pm

For Bike Week, my local council had a cycling awareness day on Tuesday. I actually had the day off so couldn't go to the stall, but responded to an email asking for "keen cyclists". This involves committing to cycling to work for 50% of your week for four weeks. Its something I do anyway at this time of year, but I thought I sign up to show willing.

I suspect they didn't get too many female takers (especially not ones of my advanced years!) as I got a very enthusiastic email back asking if I'd be prepared to write a daily "blog". What on earth do I say? Once we get past the "I turned left at the lights" bit, the highlights of my cycling tend to be my near misses! I don't vary my route so once I've described it I've no more to say...

Obviously I want to encourage people, but I need to be realistic too. Yes, I can wax lyrical about lovely mornings and the birds singing as I go through the woods but I do also have half my cycle along a busy A road. I suppose I can touch on some of the little things drivers can do to help cyclists to raise awareness.

Has anyone got any advice please?

Jan

eileithyia
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Postby eileithyia » 20 Jun 2008, 7:04pm

I think you've hit the nail on the head with the final paragraph, the sun filtering thru a cloud, wind in your hair, birds, passing traffic stuck at traffic lights. etc. Even busy main roads can have their highlights, flowers in someone's garden, people stood at the bus stop, the soaking from a puddle :lol:
I stand and rejoice everytime I see a woman ride by on a wheel the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood. HG Wells

Khornight
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Re: Just what should I say?

Postby Khornight » 21 Jun 2008, 1:00am

jan19 wrote:For Bike Week, my local council had a cycling awareness day on Tuesday.<snip> This involves committing to cycling to work for 50% of your week for four weeks. Its something I do anyway at this time of year, but I thought I sign up to show willing.

<snip> I got a very enthusiastic email back asking if I'd be prepared to write a daily "blog". What on earth do I say?

do they want the blog everyday or can you get away with writing a blog for the 50% you were originally signing up for?

That only makes ten blogs, I'd suggest concentrating on a different subject on each day... of the top of my head:
:Basic route - including bit of description about yourself (best for first day obviously) how long you've been cycling for...
:Near Miss (caused by other road user) - what you do to avoid accidents and what you'd like other road users to do.
:near miss (causes by you or other cyclist) - bit about bad cycling even if it's just how you don't like how it reflects upon you.
:Seeing other cyclists - any sense of comradery, also a chance to make jokes about any particularly group of cyclists you think are funny... (I find people in full Lycra with really expensive bikes funny... it's the bike equivalent of a convertible!)
:different routes you might take because of roadworks/timing showing the versatility and adaptability of bike
:weather - obvious really, I'd do a day that was really sunny and use it to talk about what you do when the weathers bad...
:clothing
:helmets
And if in the 4 weeks you have a special day (first day of school holidays... st georges day... sheldon browns birthday...) you could do a day about that... obviously each one should sound like it's just about the day and it the subject came into your head while cycling...

Or is all that too contrived?

frankly you could probably just have a look at these forums every so often and look at what gets talked about...

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Basil W Bloke
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Postby Basil W Bloke » 21 Jun 2008, 1:31am

Getting used to the fact that you know exactly what time you will arrive at work regardless of the traffic conditions.
The unacknowledged relationship you are building with that same group of grumpy looking people who you see waiting at the same bus stop every morning as you give them all a big smile as you pass.
The refreshing coolness of the light rain on your face that somehow seems to dry off your clothes as you ride, yet feels so good.
The hilarity you feel inside when you arrive in the office, pump and helmet in one hand and pannier in the other, and your colleagues ask "Did you come on you bike?"
Worry deeply about the oil price news. Speculate on how much a tin of 3 in 1 will cost you next year. :wink:

Don't go on about near misses and "bloody car drivers". There's enough of that about for people to read elsewhere. Be positive
We are normal and we want our freedom
We are normal and we dig Bert Weedon

mhara

Postby mhara » 21 Jun 2008, 7:09am

The everyday sense of elation as you set off.
I mean, who can get excited about driving off to become one more metal box in the daily queue/tailback/stop-start/jam?
I never had the buzz as a motorist that always kicks in when I pedal into a new day. :D

thirdcrank
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Postby thirdcrank » 21 Jun 2008, 7:24am

Basil W Bloke wrote:The hilarity you feel inside when you arrive in the office, pump and helmet in one hand and pannier in the other, and your colleagues ask "Did you come on you bike?"


'Did you come on your bike?' :lol:

That could be the title of my autobiography - which might run to many pages of answers. (But I'm a saddlebag user, rather than an asymmetrical pannier man :wink: )

Dee Jay
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Postby Dee Jay » 21 Jun 2008, 7:34am

Jan, hi!

As per much of the advice you have already received, I think that a good blog is about how you feel, as well as being about what you do.

Don't forget to post a link to your blog so we can read it.

Good luck!
Dee

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Les Reay
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Location: Geordieland

Postby Les Reay » 21 Jun 2008, 8:44pm

Why not exaggerate a bit and give them the kind of story they really want to hear.
Thus: hoisting my 20 stones onto the new acquisition, I tried to remember what the man in the bike shop had said – sit facing the end with the handle-bar, press on the pedals to go, squeeze the levers to stop ... day 7 - with a growing sense of exhilaration, I sped past the lines of stationary traffic... hey, this is fun ... day 12 – jogging up the stairs to the office, my colleagues watched with green eyes, all except the young man from accounts ... day 23 – glowing with the exertion, my svelte-like figure tested the body-hugging Lycra as with powerful strokes I went faster and faster ... and so on.

You get the idea – make it sexy, that's what is needed to get people back on their bikes. If you want, I'll write it – I get a strange kick out of this sort of thing
:wink:

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Dean
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Postby Dean » 22 Jun 2008, 1:35am

Hi Jan!

Apart from blatantly copying everyone else's posts ;) I'd suggest broadening the question - explain your reasons for cycling, the advantages over other forms of transport, possible improvements in facilities which could be made upon your route and at work, and as you say, how other road users can make things a little easier for you.

Oh, and if it was me, I would emphasise the fact that you cycle along the road, rather than attempting to use cycle lanes. But that may not be your opinion.

Of course, if you can include descriptions of freewheeling past lines of fuming motorists with the sun on your back, then do so. Good luck!

Dean

lesley weston

cycling to work - the reality

Postby lesley weston » 22 Jun 2008, 9:46am

I've thought about your dilemma and am in a similar position myself as I'm currently trying to encourage others to get on their bikes through my work. What I find at work is that everyone thinks I'm a bit of an eccentric - after all 50 year olds don't ride bikes do they? Cyclists are superfit - no not all? Cyclists can be regular guys & gals - and maybe to emphasise these points you need to tell people a little bit about your regular life and how you can start off with very easy cycling - utilising canal towpaths or other flat routes. cycle part of the way to work, use a folding bike perhaps etc.

Hope this helps. Lesley :D

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jan19
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Location: Orpington, Kent

Postby jan19 » 22 Jun 2008, 6:53pm

Thank you everyone very much - I think you are right that I should not repeat myself but look at different aspects of the ride, and I hadn't thought of explaining why I cycle even though its a fairly obvious place to start!

I do use the cycle lane when provided, but I can (and will) explain why in one place it is in fact a complete pain and why I'd be safer on the road. I also use the pavement twice (once each way) slowly and carefully, but again I have the opportunity to explain why joining three lanes of traffic trying to merge isn't my idea of safe cycling!

I'm neither young (I'm 50) nor fit (although MUCH fitter than I was) which is why I suspect they think me a valuable recruit.

Again, thank you for all your ideas and help and I'll let you know how I get on.....

Kirst
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Location: Edinburgh

Postby Kirst » 22 Jun 2008, 9:13pm

You could also add in a bit about distance/speed/effort and how that equates to calories used on each trip - various websites will work out how many calories your journey takes you.
I can handle bars and cycle paths but I can't handle cars and psychopaths

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2Tubs
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Re: Just what should I say?

Postby 2Tubs » 23 Jun 2008, 12:27pm

jan19 wrote:For Bike Week, my local council had a cycling awareness day on Tuesday. I actually had the day off so couldn't go to the stall, but responded to an email asking for "keen cyclists". This involves committing to cycling to work for 50% of your week for four weeks. Its something I do anyway at this time of year, but I thought I sign up to show willing.

I suspect they didn't get too many female takers (especially not ones of my advanced years!) as I got a very enthusiastic email back asking if I'd be prepared to write a daily "blog". What on earth do I say? Once we get past the "I turned left at the lights" bit, the highlights of my cycling tend to be my near misses! I don't vary my route so once I've described it I've no more to say...

Obviously I want to encourage people, but I need to be realistic too. Yes, I can wax lyrical about lovely mornings and the birds singing as I go through the woods but I do also have half my cycle along a busy A road. I suppose I can touch on some of the little things drivers can do to help cyclists to raise awareness.

Has anyone got any advice please?

Jan

Hi Jan,

My colleagues used to continually accuse me of being a nutter for cycling to work. So I created this: Rush Hour? In attmept to pursuade them that they were the nutters for driving to work.

It co-incided with bike week a few years back now. But that was pretty much co-incidence.

There are a few other cycling comments on the site. Probably not what you're looking for but it might help inspire you. Even if the inspiration is along the lones of "don't do it like that!"

>;o)

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