30 Days of Biking
30 Days of Biking
Words by Mark Tearle
Sometimes just riding your bike for the sake of riding is just what you need… that feeling when you were a kid; you’d take your old battered hand-me-down bike, brakes rubbing on the wheel rims, saddle split at the seams, if you had gears only 3 of them would work, but it didn’t matter, you were off on an adventure with friends, to build a dam in the stream or to tear it up in the woods, or build a ramp out of bits of plywood you found in your dad’s garage…do you remember?
30 Days of Biking, an initiative founded in Minnesota by friends Zach and Patrick is now celebrating its 4th year, has seen a steady growth in participation from a few hundred friends in the US city of Minneapolis to a world wide movement of “joyful cyclists”.
Patrick Stephenson, 30 Days of Biking co-founder states “30 Days of Biking is not elitist. It is not a political statement. We don’t want you to worry about whether you have the right bike, or whether your butt looks good in spandex. We just want you out there, pedalling alongside our community, whether virtually or for real. Our goal is not to reject cars so much as promote bikes as a viable alternative to cars. We want you to remember how riding around your neighbourhood felt when you were a kid, when a bike was your only transportation and you loved it. We want you to remember the freedom bicycling offers. The happiness, the independence. These things aren’t lost to the ages or the past. They’re still available. And, ultimately, they lead to a healthier life.”
Joining 30 Days of Biking means making a two-part pledge:
1. To ride your bike every single day in April, and
2. To share your adventures online.
The basic premise is that during the month of April it doesn’t matter how far you ride, or on what bike, whether you are training for an ironman or getting yourself to school or work. Taking the pledge means to ride your bike every day, then tell your story— with Facebook, Twitter, Vine, Instagram, Vimeo, Tumblr, YouTube, DailyMile and more.
In April 2012 over 4000 people worldwide registered a pledge on 30daysofbiking including three time Tour De France winner and World Champion Greg LeMond, who also resides in Minneapolis.
As those behind 30 Days of Biking point out, as a bicycling movement 30DOB is unique because 60% of participants are women, defying the bike world’s typical 30W/70M breakdown.
Lois May-Miller of 30 Days of Biking UK says: “I absolutely love that 30 Days of Biking defies the norm in cycling when it comes to gender balance: 60% of our participants are women. Riding a bike is a simple pleasure; the bicycle a simple, yet wonderful machine. And 30 Days of Biking is a simple idea: ride your bike every day for 30 days and share your experiences online in whichever ways you like. There’s no form to fill in, no Strava badge to collect, no certificate at the end. I like anything that cuts the crap and gets people riding a bike, and 30 days of Biking does just that.”
The organisers are hoping to build upon this success, with cycling still on a major rise in the UK after the Olympic successes of Team GB, cycling has never been more popular. The team that has got behind the initiative in the UK are encouraging individuals to join together to organise group rides and share cycling experiences in the real world – you can see what is going on and interact in the UK via a 30 Days of Biking UK specific Facebook page 30 Days of Biking (UK) or via Twitter hashtag #30daysofbiking
At BritishCycleSport.com we’re passionate about riding our bicycles and sometimes it is important to remember just why we like it so much. Today is the first day of spring, yet with the barometer still stubbornly pointing towards winter, somewhat languorously unenthusiastic for the more clement conditions we enjoyed last March and April, this April may well present a little more of a challenge to find the motivation to ride every day.
I’ve made the pledge, will you?