As the 30 Days of Biking pledge is in full swing, we asked Lois May-Miller, one of the UK recruits, to share her experience of joining a worldwide community of joyful cyclists.
The idea is a simple one: cycle somewhere every day for 30 days — to the shop, 20 miles to work, whatever suits you — then share your adventures online. With winter dragging its feet well and truly in to mid April, the pledge has been the perfect way to motivate people to get into the saddle.
This year over 3,100 cyclists worldwide have taken the pledge to ride every day in April, and then share their stories among the 30 Days of Biking (30DOB) community – using Facebook, Twitter, Vine, Instagram, Vimeo, YouTube and any social media platform they can get their mitts on.
Last September saw a ‘bonus round’ of 30DOB for those who couldn’t wait a whole year for the next one. I hadn’t been riding for very long at this point, and thought this ‘30 days’ idea would be a great motivation to get out on the bike, come rain or shine.
It turned out to be just what I needed. I soon found myself amongst an amazing community of cyclists, both across the world online, and locally. It was wonderful to remember the freedom and independence that cycling offers. It’s that feeling you had as a child, riding about your estate. Your bike was your one and only form of transportation, your chance to be free, and you loved it.
You may wonder why ‘biking’, not cycling. We have our chums in America to thank for the name, and the idea. 30 Days of Biking was started by Zach and Patrick two friends from Minneapolis, in April 2010, and has grown every year since.
I think it is the raw simplicity of the idea that has made it so popular. It is not a campaign or a political statement. There are no forms to fill in, no Strava badge to collect, no certificate at the end. I like anything that cuts the crap and just gets people riding a bike, and 30 days of Biking does just that.
Interestingly, 30 Days of Biking defies the gender balance norm (70 per cent male versus 30 per cent female gender split in cycling) with women making up 60% of those pledging to take part. Whatever the reason for this – it’s brilliant. There is a definite diversity of both people and bikes among the participants.
I organised a 30DOB group ride at the start of April, there were mountain bikes, road bikes, my old single speed and children on tag alongs. That just about sums it up for me. As 30DOB co-founder Patrick Stephenson puts it: “We don’t want you to worry about whether you have the right bike, or whether your butt looks good in spandex. We just want you out there, pedalling alongside our community, whether virtually or for real."
Riding a bike is a simple pleasure – I’ve devoted April to remembering that, and am having lots of fun in the process.
Check out how the 30 Days of Biking recruits are getting on with their pledge by checking out the devoted Facebook page.
Why not take the pledge next April? Keep an eye out for updates of the 30 Days of Biking website.