Bike to Work Day!
0 comment Thursday, June 12, 2014 |
Once a year, cyclists get a day of recognition, and in most of the lower 48, that day is today. Among the cognoscenti, it can be cause for derision with many new bike commuters dusting off their wheels and taking to the streets and paths for transportation for the first time as adults. This morning, my colleague Stephanie at Complete Streets while on her way to Freedom Plaza overheard a messenger grumbling "Bike to work day can suck my balls".
I don't think that messenger is appropriately appreciative of the best part of this fine day, all the free stuff. Perhaps it is because for every minor alleycat, Chrome, PBR, and anyone seeking to co-opt messenger culture hands out free product, but for the average commuter not enmeshed deeply into bike culture, the freebies come mostly on Bike to Work Day.
Here is what I picked up in between booth babe duties for Transportation for America at Freedom Plaza:

SmartWool gets top honors for their handouts. They were giving away 2 for 1 sock coupons, clip on 3 LED tail lights (including Chinese made PowTek batteries warning "May Explode or Leak Causing Personal Injury") and the best of all, they gave people on booth babe duty their choice of a pair of PhD socks or their new wool arm warmers (I took arm warmers).
ZipCar had a promo for $10 for a year of membership, which I signed up for immediately (normally it is $75), and they gave me an aluminum bottle and recycled pen for the trouble.
The Swiss continue their campaign to push their culture on us by handing out slap bracelet pant retention devices and choco-biscuits. I did rely on their generosity when I realized I needed to cut some twine to hang my banner, and my new friend Markus conveniently had (of course) a Swiss Army knife in his pocket.
Whole Foods was a big let down, offering only a coupon book that you can get in the front of the store any time you go, and a recipe card for Arctic Char.
I would have been satisfied with a whole fish, or even some fillets or steaks, not a recipe.
The organizers also provided water bottles, t-shirts and general good vibes. Mayor Fenty committed a bad faux pas by conspicuously wearing a Cycle Life polo shirt and hat to an event sponsored by City Bikes. I was a little surprised, and I can only imagine what his sponsorship deal must look like to compel him to appear in an official capacity at a bike event dressed in their garb (Note to self: If can't get sponsored because too slow, get elected instead).
The crowd was mostly commuters, and if there is one trend worth noting, it is that all the federal bureaucracies are producing their own kits these days. I saw US EPA and USDA represented by multiple jerseys, and I am aware of NASA and NOAA kits as well. I can't wait until HUD comes out with one, I'm soooo there. A few crazies showed up, easily identifiable by their "recumbant" bicycles, or the giant white rhinoceros carapice one of them had crafted for the top of his tricycle.
All in all, a day to be appreciated. Colorado, you are due in about a month.

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