We have ride to work days, ride to school days, critical mass rides, world naked bike rides, so why now do we need Bike Hour? It is because the rides I have mentioned have failed to mobilise the vast majority of people, who own bikes, and wish it was safer to use them.
There are 1.6 working bikes per Australian household—and I guess similar numbers in other industrialised nations. That’s 12 million Australians with bikes. Those bicycles’ combined value: roughly $5.5billion. Yet Australia has virtually no designated bike paths, of the kind taken for granted, and heavily patronised, in counties like Denmark and the Netherlands. It’s as though we have stockpiles of trains, but no tracks.
People aren’t so angry about this that they would join organised rides, dominated by people with extreme and very particular views. They bought their bikes to ride them, not be part of mass demonstrations. An agreed hour, that we can each observe however we like, seems the best way to have our presence made known, while remaining true to the very individual nature of cycling.
Through consultation with the bike advocacy community I’m a part of through Twitter, I arrived at the 2 annual equinox days, between work and dinner time, as the best times for regular Bike Hour events. That means Bike Hour is from 6-7pm, your time, and its location is directly under your wheels as you ride. You don’t have to be a part of a group. In fact, you might enjoy it more if you’re not. Local champions of Bike Hour are encouraged to use their mustering powers to arrange events for the end of the ride. In my city, a few of us will end Bike Hour at Newcastle Harbour.
Bike Hour was not conceived to make anyone money, or even provide anyone with a job. Neither was it conceived for the media. Instead we’ll use social media to share little clips of our Bike Hour observance, that we can simply shoot with our phones. Post yours here, and you could win a prize.
Media inquiries can be directed to me, Steven Fleming, +61 (0)422486271 (just not when Eastern Australians are sleeping). Here are hi-res versions of the posters. Here are America versions. Here is a Facebook event page: and here is a facebook community page.
MARTYRDOM HAS BEEN SHOWN NOT TO WORK, SO RIDE SAFELY, AS AWAYS