24 Ideas for National Bike Month
Two-dozen ways to engage and energize your community—and ride together more—while celebrating bikes
Words by the League of American Bicyclists
Ready to get things rolling in your community? Here are 24 big ideas for the 31 days of National Bike Month for your shop to use, share and expand upon!
Mark the calendar
Bike to the Store. Bike to the Ballpark. Bike to a Date. The beauty of this virtual event is that the possibilities are endless! This low-stress social media campaign encourages folks to ride for all the reasons relevant to them. Use a universal hashtag (i.e. #BikeMonth2019 or #BikeToEverywhere), take a photo and post it on your streams, encourage your followers to do the same, and you’ve created a chain reaction! Compile all the photos at the end of May to create a photo collage blog or a short video, and choose your favorite “entry,” or the most creative to win a prize.
2. Proclaim May as National Bike Month
Ask your Mayor, City Council or government to officially proclaim May as National Bike Month.
Get the community rolling
3. FREE (Basic) Tune-Ups
Host a basic tune-up event for folks who haven’t pulled their bikes out of the garage in a while. Solicit volunteer help from bike tinkerers and enthusiasts (if need be), offer up your space, and spread the word! Nobody likes squeaky brakes during Bike Month, and it’s a great opportunity to get prospective customers through the door.
4. Local Independent Bike Dealer(s) Day
Work with local bike advocacy groups and fellow bike shops to call attention to the local independent bike dealers in your community, even your competitors (a rising tide lifts all boats, after all). Just because you understand the major part local bike shops play in building a more bicycle-friendly America—providing resources, advice and support to the community of riders—doesn’t mean they do. Designate a day—or better yet, a week—to make sure they know it, too.
5. Host a Community Bike Sale/Swap
Choose a time and place, and invite locals to bring their no-longer-needed bikes, parts and accessories. For those casually curious about riding, or unable to afford a brand-new bike of their own, a pop-up shop with used bicycles could be just the solution to get them rolling, not to mention a great introduction for new cyclists to your bike shop.
Empower confident riders
6. Smart Cycling Classes
Offer classes to suit your customers’ needs, whether they’re commuters who want to learn to ride with traffic, or roadies interested in group riding skills and etiquette.
7. Bike Rodeos
Both entertaining and educational, bike rodeos teach kids bicycle handling and safety skills, while also sharing the rules of the road in a safe environment.
8. Know Your Rights
Host a workshop on your legal rights on the road, and consider inviting a local lawyer or law enforcement official to field questions and provide real-life examples. Tap the League’s resources at bikeleague.org/bikelaws.
9. Bike Mentors
Create a ride-matching service that connects novice cyclists with experienced riders who can help them plan rider-friendly routes and, perhaps, accompany them on some rides.
10. The ABCs of Family Biking
Host a hands-on event that gives families the chance to learn about and test bikes and equipment that make riding with kids fun and feasible. This is your chance, too, to demonstrate what sets your products apart—in comfort, experience and performance—from big-box bikes.
11. Bus On Bike Demonstration
Though many communities have buses outfitted with front bike racks in order to facilitate a more connected transportation network, plenty of people don’t understand how to use them (and are more than a little nervous about having their first crack in front of a busload of commuters). Work with your local transit system to host a training, t your bike on the bus with ease.
Incentivize travel on two wheels
12. Bike Commute Incentives
Work with local vendors to provide prizes for Bike Month events or Bike to Work Day participants, like bikes, accessories, lights, racks, bags, and gift certificates to various local businesses. If sponsorship permits, produce T-shirts or other swag promoting the sponsors.
13. Offer a Bike Valet
Partner with popular local venues to make biking the easiest and most efficient way to arrive by providing quick, safe and convenient bike parking.
Get out and ride!
14. Organize Bike Month Ride(s)
Bike to Work Day is definitely a highlight, but it’s just one day in the month of May. Keep the momentum going by hosting rides with different themes, destinations or target constituencies. The options are endless!
15. Cyclofemme—Ride with Mom
Celebrate another May event—Mother’s Day (May 12)—by organizing, promoting or taking part in Cyclofemme, an international day of women’s rides.
16. Ride with the Mayor
Getting local officials to ride shows important support for bicycling. Use this opportunity to highlight good bike facilities, tour the local trail system, and show your elected officials how important it is to maintain (and perhaps, if you’re lucky, even expand) them!
17. Free the Streets!
Open Streets events create a community celebration around healthy mobility options by temporarily closing the street to cars and opening it to people. Learn more and find examples at openstreetsproject.org.
Engage local partners
18. National Bike to School Day
In partnership with the League, the National Center for Safe Routes to School now organizes an annual Bike to School Day during the first week of Bike Month (May 8 in 2019). Organize a bike-pool or bike train for parents at your school, and engage the next generation of bicyclists. Learn more and get tips at walkbiketoschool.org.
19. Throw a Bicycle-Themed Party
Whether it’s a fashion show, a happy hour or a festival, there are so many ways to share the joy, diversity and camaraderie of cycling. What’s unique about bike culture in your community? Put it on display!
Advocate for better biking
20. Bicycling Town Hall
Working with your local advocacy organizations and elected officials, host a town hall to hear from community members about what would encourage them to ride more. Learn what the most common barriers to bicycling are—then get the conversation rolling on possible solutions.
21. Participate in a Ride of Silence
Honor those injured or killed while cycling on your community’s public roadways by hosting a Ride of Silence (rideofsilence.org).
22. Commuter Convoys
On Bike to Work Day (May 17) or during Bike to Work Week (May 13-19), identify meeting locations for suburban commuters to gather and ride to key business districts together. Make arrangements for an experienced bike commuter to lead from each location and, potentially, ride to a (restaurant-sponsored) breakfast celebrating their successful trip.
23. Energizer Stations
On Bike to Work Day, set up an aid station—stocked with coffee, bananas and baked goods, as well as safety gear like red blinky lights and reflective leg bands—at your shop, or along a major bike commute corridor, so people can stop by and fuel up on their morning commutes (change up the food and drink options for the evening commute). It’s a great way to meet die-hards, and to encourage and support new commuters.
24. Stage a Car vs. Bus vs. Bike Commuter Race
Follow the lead of Dallas, Texas, and host a race where a motorist, bus driver and cyclist all start and end the morning rush hour at the same spots, but may take distinctly different routes. The bicyclist typically wins—and it offers a great hook for local media to cover.