Friday, May 15, 2009

Good Ambitions, Poor Execution: A recap of the Bike to Work Day events in Duluth

I awoke early to get downtown with the first bunch of commuters. Downtown is where the activities were scheduled to be; at MN Power Plaza and at Fitgers.

On my way in I managed to flat my front tire, but had all the good stuff with me to fix it up and continue on. I was offered help by only one person who passed me. Thanks for the offer!

I managed to make it downtown in one piece and met up with Doug and his neighbor Dave (see previous Sunday ride post for Doug and Dave). They had been there about 10-15 minutes and were two of about 9 people, four of which were there working the event. Radisson was out with scones and orange juice which was nice (note: next year, coffee and hot coco! :o) thanks!). This one pretty much met what was advertised.

Refreshments provided by the Radisson Hotel : PASS
Bike inspections from local bike shops : FAIL (I guess Ski Hut didn't feel like getting out of bed so early)
Demonstration on how to use the bike racks on a DTA bus : PASS
Bicycle commuting tips and information : PASS
Bike storage for bicyclists that day will be available at the YMCA : Don't know, assuming PASS

Who was there?
Arrowhead Regional Development Commission (ARDC) : PASS
Duluth Area Trails Alliance (DATA) : PASS
Duluth Transit Authority (DTA) : PASS
Fit City Duluth : Unknown
Greater Downtown Council (GDC) : Unknown
Radisson Hotel Duluth Harborview: Pass
YMCA : Not that I seen
Citizens : Yup...

Now, on to Fitgers!
"Fitgers, KQDS, 92.1 Lite FM and Continental Ski and Bike & Red Rock Radio have joined together in an effort to encourage Duluthians to ride to work!We're hosting "BIKE TO WORK DAY" all day at Fitgers, Friday, May 15th.We'll have free gift bags for cyclists (full of cool stuff), free safety checks, free Fitger's coffee & food, prizes and local celebs! We encourage cyclists to challenge their co-workers and pledge that they'll ride to work for Western Lake Superior Habitat for Humanity. The cyclist with the most pledges will win a bike from Continental.Pledge forms available at Fitger's front desk, Continental Ski and Bike or Red Rock Radio."

So, there was Continental Ski and Bike ready to fix your bike (thanks for the pump up of my tire), and there were two ladies from somewhere- not too sure, but they had coffee and clif bars and Gatorade G2. Thanks- were good... Did not notice anyone from Fitgers per se, and for sure not KQDS, 92.1, or Red Rock Radio. The gift bags full of "cool stuff" wasn't so much... Sorry, but yea, (Duluth superior magazine, some other miscellaneous papers, a bike map (ok, useful),and some coupon books, and a smdc heart shaped blinky light)... Frankly, I think most of this could have been done without. I think it's costly and kills a bunch of trees. To pawn it off as "cool stuff" was a bit of a stretch (for me at least). Lastly, "prizes and local celebs"? Maybe they meant a ride with MNBicycleCommuter! I must have won then as we put on 25.5 miles today.

Lastly, after a ride around Duluth, Doug and I made it back to Fitgers for the fashion "event".
"Bike to work fashion event. Our models will be walking around inside the building handing out goodie bags and showing off their fashions, and we also plan to have them out on the lake walk to talk to folks there. We'll have people modeling clothes from Continental Ski & Bike, one of the sponsors, and then Fitger's, Beneton, Trail Fitters and maybe Life is Good will have their own models showing their clothes as well."
Well, I did see them, but it surely didn't come off as a fashion event. Besides, most of the people walking around or those on bikes were wearing some of the same stuff anyways. Good thought, but I feel it was a poor execution.

That's kind of my feel on the whole day- good ambitions but poor execution. This was the second year for the bike to work day in Duluth. I hope it can grow and become much larger next year.

Cheers,
Jeff

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