Shopping by bike really registers

Shopping by bike really registers

As you may have heard, SVBC is sponsoring something called Bike to Shop Day. We were approached by our super volunteer (and blogger extraordinaire) Janet Lafleur with this wonderful idea. Bike to Work Day is great, she said, but why limit it to work commutes? People can use their bikes for all types of trips, and we should be working with businesses to show them just how important it is for them to support their pedal-powered clientele. Plus, she said, it will be fun! Like, with candy and stuff! How could we turn her down?

We’ve been mulling over small business outreach for a long time here at SVBC. We know that bike mean business, but sometimes it’s difficult to convince our local business owners. If only everybody knew that bike infrastructure can boost retail sales (even as car travel gets slowed), or we could effectively show our neighbors that people who shop by biking or walking actually tend to spend more than people who drive to shop, we could create new allies in our small business community. Well, Janet’s idea was simpler than anything my colleagues and I came up with: show people how easy it is to shop by bike, let businesses know that people are headed their way by bike, and throw some discounts and goodies into the mix to make it fun. Voilà! Bike to Shop Day was born.

I hope you’ll join me for a little car-free consumerism on May 17. It’s easy! We have tutorials, a map of all the participating businesses, and a drawing you can enter when you show us how you shop by bike. Did I mention there’s candy?

5 Comments

  1. I already bike to work and would love to bike to the store. However, it’s usually hard to find a bike rack, or somewhere safe and in the open to store my bike. I know a few people who have had their bikes stolen in the suburban parking lots where I live, because it’s easy to remove them without other people paying much attention.

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  2. I’ve had the same problem. I have spoken to store managers, left suggestions in their boxes, and written to headquarters of lots of businesses (Safeway, Home Depot, Lucky’s,…) begging for decent bike racks near the entrance of the building. Despite years of doing this there has been no action at all ( a typical reply is that the business leases the building so they have no control). So now I roll my bike right into the stores with me. It gets some stares, but no employees have said anything yet. Maybe if more people did this the stores would finally ask the building owners to take out 1 or 2 parking spaces to provide parking for us!

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  3. Wow, I must be living a sheltered life here in Mountain View. I lock my bike up all the time when I shop (with a cable lock at that) and have been pretty lucky. I’m usually only in a shop for under an hour which probably helps vs all day at work or at a Caltrain station.

    The worst I’ve had happen in the South Bay/Peninsula is losing my headlight on Cal Ave in Palo Alto during yoga class. That was bad because it was dark so I had to call my husband for a ride home. I also lost a Brooks saddle once in San Francisco’s SOMA but that area is infamous. It’s one reason I like to use bike share in San Francisco.

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  4. I bike to work every day. I use my bike for everything including grocery/mall shopping. I wish malls especially would have a better place to lock your bike. Example the great mall, their bike rack is way out in the parking lot. They have huge open spaces in the from where they can easily fit a bike rack, but they do not. With gas prices on the rise I hope more people will turn to their bicycles and if retailers / malls become more bicycle friendly, maybe there will be a rise in bicycle activity!

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  5. Agreed on the sentiments about the lack of bicycle racks near entrances at businesses. I still rather bike to destination so I always u-lock+cable right by the doorways. I’ve seen kids walk their fixies into Great Mall with no trouble but they’re usually in pairs so one friend can watch over the others bike. Where I park my bicycle at Valley Faire mall I either park by the entrance or park it at one of the upper levels (yes, I’ve climbed my way up but I’ve also used elevators) and lock up by the entrance there. It’s also best to park it closest to your destination so if you plan on shopping at Forever 21, park and lockup at the nearest entrance that leads to Forever21. Also as Janet says I also don’t spend too long away from my bike.

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