Social Action through Cycling

Social action, generally speaking, refers to an act performed by an individual or a group to work towards achieving a goal that is valued by society. Bicycles can be used to support different types of social action, such as charity rides in which a bike ride is the main event in an effort to raise money for a designated cause. Within the context of cycling as a statement, social action is for cycling through cycling. One very important aspect of utility cycling is spreading the word on how using bicycles for transportation, services, and community building is beneficial, and there are a number of purposeful cyclists taking action to inform and excite the masses.

Image Credit: New Belgium Brewery
Image Credit: New Belgium Brewery
New Belgium Brewing takes its mission to be a sustainable and socially responsible business quite seriously. In additional to seeking out ways to reduce its operations carbon footprint and increase efficiencies in its brewing process, New Belgium heads multiple bicycle-related events every year, including the Tour de Fat, which will take place in thirteen cities in 2010. New Belgiums goal is to travel to different places, spreading the good word about the positive societal offerings of the bicycle. In each city, New Belgium will give one lucky cyclist a fully-loaded commuter bike in exchange for the keys to his or her car, and will provide an entire days worth of activities encouraging people of all backgrounds to fight against traffic, laziness, and pollution by choosing a bicycle over a car.Another impressive collection of cycling events is pulled together by SHIFT in Portland. SHIFT is a group of bicycle enthusiasts that doesnt fit into the typical bicycle advocacy organization mold. There are no memberships, no dues- just a bunch of bike-loving folks[with a] shared passion for the bicycle in all its glory. However, this self-proclaimed informal bunch of bike-lovers is accomplishing a lot in terms of enhancing bike culture and bicycle advocacy in Portland through social action. For two weeks in June, SHIFT presents PedalPalooza, which features nearly three hundred different events organized by a mix of individuals and groups with all sorts of purposes and activities. From the Bikini Bike Wash to the Family Cycle Picnics to the World Naked Bike Ride (and many, many more), PedalPalooza reaches a seemingly exhaustive list of demographics, with all events focused on sharing the benefits of bicycles.
Image Credit: BikePortland.org
Image Credit: BikePortland.org
Social action can be your own participation in these or similar bicycle-centric activities, or it can be in your own daily commitment to use your bicycle more often for commuting, for errands, and for recreation. Successful social action requires the engagement of the community, so whether acting as an organizer or as a participant, we can all do our part to support the many benefits of cycling through the many uses of the bicycle.


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One thought on “Social Action through Cycling”

  1. […] overall project of defining Utility Cycling. She focused on stories related to bicycle advocacy, social action and community cycling events. Stacey’s experience working as the buyer and communications […]

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