Bike Advocacy from the NRA Playbook got my attention since I am pro-bike and but not pro-gun. The idea is not to whip your handgun out of your saddlebag or jersey pocket to shoot the motorist who ran you off the road. No, apparently the NRA’s success at growing the organization and its almost legendary lobbying power comes from its strategy to make gun ownership something for ordinary people.
So, for cyclists, rather than trying to make riding a bike a special, environmentally-friendly, physically fabulous, morally superior sort of activity, we should be trying to show how regular people ride bikes and you can too. If we marketed cycling and bicycles in NRA fashion, here’s what author Tom Bowden suggests:
The important lesson is to stay on the main messages — the ones most people can accept.
- Bikes are good for America! Let people make their own assumptions why.
- Bikes solve problems! Just let people decide which ones they care about.
- Bikes are fun! But let the riders decide how and where they like to ride.
- Bikes are healthy! And riders can decide if they are interested in weight loss or improving their half-ironman times.
- Bikes are safe! And let people make their own judgment how much protection they need based on the riding they do.
This won’t help with road and street design which overwhelmingly favors cars or funding more complete streets, but I do think making cycling more appealing for regular folks is more likely to succeed than trying to get them to join the lycra-clad, tech-obsessed racing group.
On the flip side, here are 9 reasons not to ride your bike to work which pokes people for making excuses, but also provides some practical advice (like not worrying about having the perfect bike and rain pants).