Monday 27 June 2011

Celebration Stations

What can we do to entice drivers out of their cars and onto their bikes?

I've been thinking about this for a while and with your help (special thanks to AlexWarrior!) I have an idea, that will at least act as an enticement.

In Vancouver Canada, during bike week they set up something called Celebration Stations. That is mobile 'stations' where cyclists can stop off during their commute to and from work, grab some snacks, other goodies, maybe have a mechanic have a look at their bike, enter a competition etc. It's generally a little station set up to celebrate cycle commuters and to say thank you to them.

The new trend for fireworks on bikes to aid visibility meant every commute in Sydney was a celebration

So how would that help to get drivers out of their cars? Surely that is just preaching to the converted!!?

Location, location, location!! You place these stations on the main commuter routes. Routes where cars are typically tailed back.

Imagine you are a driver stuck in a queue. A queue you get stuck in day in, day out. You're fed up of being stuck in that queue, but what can you do? You can't afford to move house closer to work, public transport would take even longer. You just have to put up and shut up.

Now imagine that whilst sitting there the driver notices more cyclists than normal filtering past the queue. Pesky cyclists. Who do they think they are!!? 20 minutes later and 100m further down the road, the driver spies what looks like a marquee at the side of the road. Peering over he notices a big sign....'Celebration Station'.
Eh? What's there to celebrate?

On closer inspection (easy to do at snails pace) he notices that the celebration is for cyclists. In fact the celebration is (and this is written in a poster nearby) a way of saying thank you to the cyclists for being one less car in the queue.

The driver looks at all the happy cyclists, notices that despite the fact that they have stopped off and had a bun (one which they will work off cycling to work), had a chat and a laugh, that they are still disappearing off into the distance whilst he/she is still stuck in that same damn queue....

Mmmm. Maybe I should look into this bike thing......

So what do you think? Let's make Bike Week next year a showcase for cycling, not just a quiet pat on the back for the already converted. Let's shout from the rooftops that cycling is FUNCTIONAL, FUN and FAST!

Who's up for celebrating?


  1. Sounds great but who will actually staff these stations?

  2. At several points in the year the LCC (London Cycling Campaign) have put out stations to help with minor mechanical issues. Mostly on very busy routes.
    I've spoken to colleagues before about the superhighways, and how bike shops could do huge amounts to A. increase cycling B. increase business.
    All they would need to do is hand out free refresments, offer people free advice and just give people tips. On the Superhighway route 7 (which i use a lot) there must be near 7 bicycle shops, and not one of them publishes on the side of road about them selves and it's possible to cycle the whole route without seeing one of them.

    As you know, bike week has just been and gone, and i didn't see anything published about rides or things to do. I'm hardly a hide away in a cave cyclist either, so I think that kind of says wonders about what we are doing for cycling, even in a vast city like London.

  3. Danny,

    This is just at the ideas stage at the moment, so just generating interest and ideas. The practicalities will come later. Perhaps we could get sponsorship, perhaps they would provide people. Perhaps it would be volunteers. We don't know yet.:-)

  4. Gaz,

    Yes I think local bike shop involvement would be good and I think will be vital, but I also think we could get the big boys involved as well, and make this a national event in all of the major cities. It might not be nationwide to start with, perhaps a couple of cities, but it could expand with time.
    I'd expect the CTC could be involved, possibly some of the larger bike shop chains, the likes of Red Bull etc.

    I don't want to think too local with this. As with the change in approach to cycle infrastructure that is happening at the moment towards thinking big, I think this should aim big as well.

  5. why dont you approach halfords to do it when they roll into town on their city tours. All their logistics crew are there and it would generate interest in attendance at the live event. It would be a start.

  6. Hi Anonymous,

    Getting someone like Halfords involved would definitely be a bonus. Need to work out a strategy to approach these big companies though. you only get one shot at bringing them on board.

  7. In 1992 i experienced Operation Dring Dring in Montreal. It delivered refreshment stations on all main routes in to the city and was sponsored by a coffee shop chain.

    I'd steer clear of Halfords and bike shops as direct sponsors, most snack bar chains will provide basic beverages and soft drinks with rolls in return for handing out 'revisit discount' vouchers, and you then can have all cycling interest at any of the locations without territory restrictions (notably at some of the the Skyrides I've noted a gradual pushing-out of the peripheral stalls and activities away from the core arena, which can then deliver a stronger corporate branding, and fill the pitches with 'partners' who can pay the bigger money to be there)

    Dring Dring offered a longer sit and chat plus a passing 'postcode check' to log origin and destination plus frequency of most passing cyclists.

    BTW M8 was well borked tonight and queues still hardly moving at 18.00 enjoyed a personal critical pass the length of North Street.

  8. Locally there is a free cyclist breakfast campaign. It runs at regular intervals throughout the year and in short if you turn up at participating business' you get a bree brew and bacon sarnee! A godsend in the winter!