There’s a guy on a bike riding up and down the east coast pitching a program called “Bicycle Benefits.” The guy is Ian Klepatar and BB is his program to encourage businesses to reward customers who arrive by bicycle.
Simple and effective are two words to describe this program. A business chooses what reward to offer a customer who arrives on bike, the customer gets rewarded and everyone wins.
The program is so brilliant and effective that I’ve asked Ian to send in updates from the road. He left his hometown near Saratoga, New York two weeks ago to start his trek around the east coast, talking up the benfits of “going by bike.” Klepatar attended the Washington DC Bike Summit then lit out for Boston. The first of many entries on his travels follows.
Boston, MA: Today was like so many days that cyclists and bicycle advocates know all too well. Whether we are pushing for bike lanes on a new street in our community or getting cut-off, doored or disrespected among traffic flow while commuting to work, we know the feeling in others just “not getting it.” Unlike the past three days since I arrived in Boston, business owners didn’t really seem to be that interested in the benefits of bicycles. ‘You know there aren’t really that many bikers that come in this restaurant’ they tell me. I guess in my eyes, if somebody knows how to ride a bicycle, they are automatically a biker. At the same time just because we ride bicycles, it doesn’t make us bikers. So I go on to tell the uninterested owner the benefits of participating in a program which promotes physical activity, helmet use, alleviating congestion and parking hassle.
The concept of the program is pretty basic. Businesses in the community offer discounts/rewards in order to entice community members to jump on their bicycles and visit the restaurants/businesses by bicycle. Upon arriving by bicycle and showing the affixed Bicycle Benefit helmet sticker, the individual receives the designated discount/reward.
However, just as we often struggle to convey the many benefits of bicycle paths connecting neighborhoods to community centers or the importance of complete streets http://www.completestreets.org/ legislation to our elected politicians, I too wonder why some people don’t get it…Perhaps it’s been a while since we all felt the joy and benefits of riding a bicycle.