Everybody Get a Bike

Recently there was a report how to sell people on biking. Turns out that even though safety is a real concern, dwelling on safety messages kind of turns people off.

Is this really that surprising? Any salesperson would understand why.

Selling Bikes

(That’s why fine print was invented.)

So this got me thinking about advertising bicycling. What kind of messages would sell people on it? Probably the same things that sold me.

First of all, it’s easier to get things done:

Selling Bikes

While saving time on errands you also get exercise:

Selling Bikes

Oh, and if you are looking to make friends bikes can help with that too.

Selling Bikes

And if you found that you have one too many “friends”  you can bike away from them.

Selling Bikes

So for positive bike messages that’s: exercise, quick errands, more time, less stress, enjoying time with friends, space when you need it, and more cake. That’s an easy sell, right? Now I just need some TV air time so I can make everybody get a bike.

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  • Tim D. February 6, 2014   Reply →

    Some of us ride simply because we have fun doing it. I mean really, how many people do you know who have fun on their way to work and home again?

    • Darren Leslie February 9, 2014  

      Well, me for one. I have fun riding my bike :-)

    • Matthias February 9, 2014  

      I also enjoy riding to work by bike (and passing all those cars, which are stuck in rush hour). But more than that, I enjoying it riding back home. :)

    • Wendy February 10, 2014  

      I have fun commuting by subway with my kid. Biking with him to and from work would stress…me…out!

  • KillMoto February 6, 2014   Reply →

    I suddenly realize why there’s a spike in heart attacks when it snows. Sure, some is from sedentary people suddenly shoveling. But I’ll bet a statistically significant number of heart attacks are from drivers – impatient as a baseline, driven totally insane at not being able to pass on the right (in the bike lans – sorry, that’s where we pile our snow!), or blast through red lights or take corners at 35moh or… You get my point.

    Drivers are extra angry in the snow, and some bring on that massive coronary their sedentary lifestyle demands when they take to the roads. Sad, that.

    • Bill S. February 7, 2014  

      Every adult cyclist I know also drives a car. Most of them own a car. I don’t buy the us vs. them idea when we talk about cyclists and drivers. I favor coexistence of the 2 transport modes and increasing awareness, so people will make thoughtful, healthy choices when they need transportation.

  • Opus the Poet February 7, 2014   Reply →

    Definite like! Especially panel 3. I’m an example of definition 2 of “cyclist” : “Eating machine on 2 wheels”.

  • Matthias February 7, 2014   Reply →

    TV AIR TIME!!! That’s a great idea.
    Let’s get it started on kickstarter.com

  • Una Nelson-White February 7, 2014   Reply →

    I know the creep on the bus. I have met him and his kind a million times on the bus. I love it when I do not have to deal with him, when I ride my bike. Thank God it is sunny, 98% of the time, here in Southern California, so I can ride my bike all year round. I recently got my bike stolen and I was so broken up and tearful, that my Dad bought me a new bike the same day of the theft. He knew I would be like a fish without water, without a bike to ride. If only more people realized how wonderful bike riding is.

  • John Pavelich February 7, 2014   Reply →

    For a really awesom end of work day, I cycle to Hot Yoga, then cycle home.

  • anniebikes February 7, 2014   Reply →

    Once we get rid of the whole safety issue surrounding cycling (egads, I need to wear a helmet to ride a bike? It must be unsafe!) I bet more people will come around to the idea that riding a bicycle is a much better way to go.

  • Bob S February 7, 2014   Reply →

    Mighk Wilson’s essay on “Which Cycling Politics: Doom or Possibility?” ( http://commuteorlando.com/wordpress/advocacy/doom-or-possibility/ ) also touches on this choice in messaging. Do we describe cycling as “not as bad as you’ve heard” or “the greatest thing ever”?

  • ///Tobbe February 7, 2014   Reply →

    Soo…that’s what you’re looking for. A guy with a job and chiselled chin. Well, one out of two is not that bad I gguess:)

    • MaxUtility February 7, 2014  

      Yes, but it’s a job chiseling chins, so bases covered.

  • uberfahr February 7, 2014   Reply →

    How about a juxtaposition of some hot and heavy sex — the motorists plump and flabby, the cyclists lean and healthy?

    • Tired of Fat-Shaming February 7, 2014  

      Lots of people with different body types cycle and lots of people with different body types have hot and rewarding sexual relationships.

    • Kagi February 9, 2014  

      The Hungarian bike promotion board already did that one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZM_HTdpgcRE#t=31

  • Marge Evans February 7, 2014   Reply →

    once again you made my day. love it. “I’m your future sexy boyfriend with a chiseled chin and a job” (well I added the sexy part but still,) you are the best

  • MaxUtility February 7, 2014   Reply →

    For the cost of one magazine ad, the bike lobby could probably hire 1000 people, put them in business attire, and just have them ride around. Probably do more for sales…

  • Pingback: Union Jack Creative – Friday Fancies February 7, 2014   Reply →
  • congokid February 8, 2014   Reply →

    Nice idea. Interesting that your main theme is safety, but all the cyclists illustrated appear to be wearing ‘safety’ helmets. Are they compulsory where you are?

  • Jason tanzman February 8, 2014   Reply →

    I normally love your drawings and messages. But I am definitely not a big fan of comics that dis on public transit and sexual harassment. I mean come on! I love bicycling. And I love buses and trains. In the same way we need to work hard to make bicycling safe, we need advocacy and security to make public transit safe. How would we as bikers feel if a bus/train company or advocacy group ran an ad/image of a person comfortable on a bus watching a biker out in the rain get dangerously cut off by a car and the tagline saying “Sure is nice to not have to bike anymore.”

  • Cyclist February 8, 2014   Reply →

    Unfortunately, people who live in the mid and high latitudes need a car no matter what, especially during the winter. Also, there are certain areas of many cities that are just way too violent with crime to ride into/through on a bicycle.

    • Bill S. February 8, 2014  

      I live close to the 56th parallel (pretty far north) and I can cycle almost every day snow or shine. I am lucky that the city provides many bike lanes and is good about snow removal. I don’t even own a car. Life can be lived with a bike as the main transport means even in the winter even in the snow.

    • Greg February 8, 2014  

      While you may need a car, you don’t speak for me, and I don’t need one.
      I also suspect your FUD about crime violence is over blown.

    • Matthias February 8, 2014  

      I also ride my bike during the winter. http://matrehs.alfahosting.org/wordpress/archives/527
      Fortunately, the bike industry has all you need to ride comfortable and save when it is getting cold (http://www.schwalbetires.com/bike_tires/studded for instance).
      I also do not own a car. And if I am in a situation, where driving by car is essential, there is always a car rental or a car-sharing.

    • morlamweb February 10, 2014  

      @Cyclist, I’d say that the need for a car is not the weather but the length of one’s daily travels. If I had to commute 30+ miles per day to work, then I might drive, but fortunately, I live 2.5 miles from work, so I bike 5 days a week, including through winter. See Bikeyface’s recent post on winter biking. I do have a car but I don’t use it much during the week. I haven’t even cleaned it off after the most recent snowstorm. Snow doesn’t dissuade me, either, as the roads are generally cleared very soon after a snowfall (sidewalks are another matter).

    • Jon Webb February 17, 2014  

      I agree that crime is not really an issue — especially in American cities, any more. Yes, crime still happens, but unless you’re trying to make a drug transaction you really don’t have a lot to fear from it on a bicycle. Inattentive or drunk motorists are far more of a danger to a cyclist than crime in any American neighborhood.

    • Sandra April 6, 2014  

      I’m another of the high latitude no car people (I live in Canada’s capital). I cycle about 9 months of the year and bus/walk the other 3 months as my city only clear some of the bike lanes in winter and uses the most dangerous spots to pile up the snow. Granted, I only live 5 km (3 miles) from work and my city is pretty safe and it does take some sacrifice. I haven’t seen a movie since they closed down the downtown movie theatre because I refuse to spend an hour on the bus to see a movie, but I find that these are sacrifices I’m willing to make.

  • Andreae February 14, 2014   Reply →

    Two more for the PSA: being able to smell the flowers; always getting to park right in front of your destination (and sometimes inside!)

    • Matthias February 14, 2014  

      That’s right. I also get the perfect parking place when I come home from the grocery.
      Usually, I go there once a week with my trailer, which fits perfectly into the elevator.
      So I get all that stuff right in front of my apartment’s door.
      Search for “trailer” on my website to get a look at it. There you will also find instructions how to build your own trailer.


  • Kim (@kim_harding) February 16, 2014   Reply →

    If you want to show cycling as save, why the plastic hats? In place where cycling is,/i> safe no one wears them. Real mixed messages there.

    • Indigo March 2, 2014  

      Um…what? You wear a seatbelt in your car, don’t you? Cycling is very safe in my city, and I wear a helmet every time I go out. I can think of at least three times that I was glad to be wearing it.

  • Jon Webb February 17, 2014   Reply →

    I wouldn’t ride my bike if I didn’t enjoy it. All the other benefits are side effects. But it is really, really nice at middle age not to have to worry about putting on pounds. Dessert is so delicious.

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