I met Mark Tearle, AKA @_Blixa_ through Twitter and we have a good laugh and a natter about shared values. He is a strong advocate of cycling for health, for fitness, for the environment and for the love of it. He also works for Britain’s top sportive site Cyclosport.org. Here he talks about something close to his heart, 30 Days of Biking. Smashing.
It is the end of October already and I have yet to talk properly about this thing that took place in September: 30 Days of Biking.
Riding a bicycle is extraordinarily ordinary in an extraordinary way.
30 Days of Biking takes that fact, shakes it up a bit, gives it a few pointers and tells you all about it on the internet. 30 days of Biking Blog. The point is to show that this extraordinary ordinary activity promotes health, offers part of the solution for environmental concerns and makes the gargantuan claim that riding a bike can actually be quite fun.
30 Days of Biking is a festival and a celebration of bicycle riding in ALL its forms and all its guises. Dare I say that it is an International Movement. A mass of individuals across the World riding every day in the month of April and September (cos April and September have 30 days!) and sharing their adventures online.
I’m no activist, I don’t believe in telling people what they should or shouldn’t do but I am a pragmatic advocate of cycling. I am also very stiff upper lip and English about it all. Weird innit, that? I am ever so passionate about it, yet excitable, but in a reserved kind of way.
Hang on. I’ve lost the narrative…
I should tell you briefly how it all started. There are a couple of geezers, Patrick and Zach – they are the very best of friends and they live in Minneapolis. Patrick and Zach like riding their bikes so much that they wanted to tell a lot of people about it. They started using a hashtag on Twitter #30daysofbiking and created an event. This event they called 30 Days of Biking; Round 1 kicked off in April 2010.
They enthusiastically promoted and cajoled and soon by the power of social media they had built up a collective of bicyclists and others who made a pledge to ride their bike every day of April too. And it has expanded beyond them and has become self-sustaining.
The #30daysofbiking tashhag flitted onto my timeline sometime in February 2011. I think I can credit Twitter lovely @John_the_Monkey fellow for the introduction.
I’d love you to get involved too. Put your cocks away boys, this isn’t a competition to see who has the biggest and who can wave it around the most!…You may already ride your bike lots, probably most days throughout the year and really quickly too, this is good but it is not the point.
The point is to show that it is possible. To encourage someone who doesn’t ride to ride; and by virtue of more people riding make bicycling more typical and a little less agitating for other road users. Its a fairly simple and positive message.
Mr & Mrs _Blixa_ (Aren’t they gorgeous?! – Ed)
Go and tell your Mum, your Dad, your Sisters and your Brothers, your friends and your other relations, the stranger in the street and the man that comes round to read the electricity meter that you are getting involved? Do it on Facebook or Twitter…You’re probably not "friends" with the electricity meter chap, so it is a good thing to maybe have a chat with him first. Maybe.
Nobody minds what type of bike you get on and there are no rules. Get your shopping. Ride to work. Take part in a race. Organise a group ride with your friends and give it a funny name. Ride in fancy dress or in your pyjamas. Introduce yourself to some new people, have a picnic and ride some more.
Ride your bike for no reason other than just to ride. It doesn’t matter so long as you do it every day and tell us about it on the internet. Don your helmet or your cap and ride.
There’s the 30 days of Biking Blog Twitter feed or have a look for the #30daysofbiking hashtag for more information. Facebook linky is 30DOBfacebook
Round 5 begins in April 2012.
See you then!