The Bike Commuting Green Dot

Today’s Guest Post is brought to you from Renaissance Bicycles.   A very cool company bringing heritage and craftsmanship of bicycles with today’s latest technology. This is a re-post from their own blog, with their permission.

Seth Godin, the author and social media marketing maven, is one of the most interesting and relevant people on the Web. He recently wrote a short article entitled How Big is Your Red Zone? that illustrates the balance between the time and effort needed to engage in a new activity as contrasted with the long-term benefits. This idea is not new, but Seth’s take on the one key element that determines long-term success is insightful.

Seth Godin Article

Renaissance BicyclesEvery activity worth doing has a learning curve. Riding a bike, learning to read, using Facebook” the early days are rarely nothing but fun.

“Take a look at this three part chart. The first shows how much joy someone gets out of an activity. Over time, as we discover new things and get better at it, our satisfaction increases. At some point, there’s a bump when we get quite good at it, and then, in most activities, it fades because we get bored. (In the top graph I’ve also added the Dip, showing the extra joy from being an expert, but that’s irrelevant to this discussion).

“The second graph shows the hassle of that same activity. Riding a bike, for example, is horrible at first. Skinned knees, bruised egos. Twitter is really easy to use the first few times, so not so much red ink there.

“The third graph is just the two overlaid. That zone on the left, the red zone, is the gap between the initial hassle and the initial joy. My contention is that the only reason we ever get through that gap is that someone on the other side (the little green circle) is rooting us on, or telling us stories of how great it is on the other side.

“The bigger your red zone, the louder your green dot needs to be. Every successful product or passion is either easy to get started on or comes with a built-in motivator to keep you moving until you’re in. This is so easy to overlook, because of course you’re already in…

Hopefully as you read the article, the application to bike commuting is obvious. There are lots and lots of individuals in “the Red Zone” of bicycle commuting – in fact you probably already know a few – and they need the big Green Dot. Not the obnoxious, smug, public spectacle Green Dot, but the cheer leading, supportive, you-can-do-this-too Green Dot.

In other words, the most effective means for the cycling community to promote the very thing we value is ” to promote the thing we value through inclusion. Certainly infrastructure, equipment, advocacy, safety, etc. are all relevant issues, but they are all a sidebar to what will really make a difference ” You.

Though it sounds like a theme to an After School Special, actively taking the time to positively support and encourage others is the real golden ticket to increase cycling for transportation. Connecting with the aspiring bike commuter, treating them with respect, and helping them achieve their goals are the fundamental keys to increased ridership. In other words, lose the Us / Them mentality and just be a big Green Dot.

In a soon-to-follow post, we will list the Top 8.5 things you can do to be a Green Dot for Red Zone bicycle commuters. In the mean time, let us know your best practices, success stories, and words of encouragement.

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4 thoughts on “The Bike Commuting Green Dot”

  1. Anna Helm says:

    Get a great commuter backpack to stash your work clothes while you ride, especially important in a hot,humid locale like Houston. Mine has a frame that creates an air pocket next to your back and has a sleeve for a CamelBak.

  2. texantiff says:

    Great idea! I’m going to have to find a few more folks to add to my green dot! I’ve been commuting by bike very sporadically, and have really seen a decline in the warmer months. I just can’t find enough joy to get past the hassle! I’m gonna work on it, though. Anna, I may have to talk to you more about where to buy a good commuter back pack!

  3. Mike says:

    I try to ride my bike into uptown charlotte, but more often than not I wear gym clothes into town then change at the office or gym. Both necessitate transportation of work clothes in a neat pressed manner.

    The best option I have found is the Eagle Creek Pack-it-Folder. It packs tight and has a hard insert to help protect from wrinkles. I can fit an entire suit (after being carefully folded and having the dry cleaners go heavy on the starch) into this baby and it comes out looking pretty good. I got mine at REI

    1. Mike – Where do you commute in Uptown? Would love to have a meetup!

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