Hashtag Tuesday: #30daysofbiking
I’d have to say that the very first cycling hashtag to ever catch my attention was #30daysofbiking. It was a genius idea by @patiomensch and @zachamon, and officially launched on April 1, 2010 (and I’m still kicking myself for not thinking of something like this myself).
On April 1 they’ll kick off round three of #30daysofbiking….are you committing to riding your bike every single day in April? Never heard of #30daysofbiking? Well, simply put: It is the commitment to Bike somewhere every day in April, then tweet your adventures using #30daysofbiking.
Most of you have likely seen countless posts, tweets, and advertising for this April’s #30daysofbiking, but we’re here to bring you the background and beginnings of this fantastic creation……Here it is.
@patiomensch: It began with a 10-person-strong group ride on the eve of my 27th birthday, a ride shyly led by me and Zachariah Schaap, a.k.a, @zachamon, my truest, bestest friend.
Through Twitter and Facebook, we assembled cyclists on March 16, 2010, bicycling en masse from deep uptown Minneapolis to a bike shop called Angry Catfish in south Minneapolis. As we rolled up to ACF, store owner Joshua Klauck met us with a plate of green St. Patrick’s cookies. Then, we all drank beers and ate burgers at the amazing burger joint next door and biked to Dinkytown’s Kitty Cat Klub, for more drinks, in the dark. I didn’t ride home till past 1 a.m.: the night ended with local veggie messenger Randall Dietel’s bike pumping electronic music as, all together, we rode past East Bank university buildings toward home.
That was the originating ride, the ride that got our little group together. A week or so later, @lizbastian, on Twitter, got something called #30daysofyoga started. I wasn’t into yoga—I’ve tried to get into it, since, and it worked for a few days!—so I proposed #30daysofbiking. @zachamon and I began to promote it hardcore, while everyone from my pre-birthday ride, including @nicycle, @sloped, @marcoscopic, @jessinader and @darcialexis, jumped on this new hashtag. Everyone they knew followed suit. I created a list of those who’d pledged to ride. The list grew long and longer. Then suddenly, thanks to the intervention of @rycera, we had a domain name in 30daysofbiking.com, and #30daysofbiking turned into a rocket: It took off.
“We ride our bikes every. friggin’. day.”
Hundreds of registrants later, Zach and I were interviewed for the Star Tribune, for Minnesota Public Radio on “All Things Considered,” and most exhilaratingly, on live television by KARE 11. Our KARE 11 interview took place in the studio’s “backyard” lot, where—with his sweaty bike clothes on—Zach complained he stunk. In response, KARE’s legendary meteorologist Sven Sundgaard stepped from the shadows and said, “Don’t worry, they can’t smell you on television.” Not being smellable is sometimes important to dudes who bike all the time.
After these promotional efforts, our first group ride for #30daysofbiking, on April 1, 2010, was a monster. At least 40 people showed up, and it was a little overwhelming. We had no idea how to lead a ride that large, but somehow, we corralled everyone around a few lakes in Minneapolis and ended up at dinner at Chatterbox Pub in South. That’s how it began.
LTB: Who all was involved with getting the word out and making it happen?
@patiomensch: Zach and I were the primaries, but the crowd I mentioned above tweeted and blogged non-stop for the cause. Nicole Weiler, known in Twitter land as @nicycle, was especially essential to our early efforts. She and associate Paul Wichser created one of Round 1’s signature group rides, the Short Shorts Ride to ARTCRANK, for which I wore pink lycra short shorts of which all photographic evidence should be destroyed. The bits were visible—it was cold and smooshed out!
Also notable was Raccoon Rally, an alleycat perpetrated by Greg from Urban Bean Coffee and @darcialexis, whom we’ve lost to New York City. Gratifyingly, that got Minneapolis’ bike messenger community involved in our event.
LTB: How do you feel about the success of the first two #30daysofbiking events?
@patiomensch: The success has been staggering, overwhelming, life-changing, exciting, endlessly impressive. All of this started with a few tweets. Round 1 was big, but Round 2 (September 2010) had almost 1,000 participants from all around the world; I don’t know anyone from Costa Rica or Malaysia, but residents of those countries have participated in something I created. People we’ve only met through tweets tell us #30daysofbiking has changed their lives profoundly. How do you respond to statements like that, or incorporate them into your sense of your life and what you feel you’ve accomplished? It’s amazing!
Each registrant makes of #30daysofbiking what they want. We can only post a few tweets, but it’s you—the rider—who defines how #30daysofbiking will go for you. Where you’ll ride, how far. It’s a moldable thing.
LTB: What will be different for round 3 starting on April 1, 2011? What are you doing to make it bigger and better?
@patiomensch: The key is that we’re getting more and more exposure than ever, which means more and more people will sign up. We’re professionalizing our advertising, with help from dudes like @loganogden, @scoharris and @pfutz. We can tweet like magicians, now, and everyone who participated with us in the last two rounds seems more interested than ever in getting their friends and cities signed up, too.
More people equals more success. We as cyclists know that when more of us are on the road, we are more safe—we became a fixture, not an invasion. #30daysofbiking is about increasing exposure to cyclists and, ultimately, about changing the public image of a cyclist—from a sub-cultural law defiler to a regular guy or gal on their way to work, but on a bike rather than inside a car.
We have even more spectacular group rides planned for this year. A fashion-centric ride, another short shorts ride, a denim ride. Another 50-mile Grand Rounds ride. I’m planning a month-long geocache alleycat that will take cyclists all around Minneapolis and St. Paul. It’s going to be a great adventure, with another party and another alleycat race at the end.
LTB: What is the coolest or most interesting thing that has happened as a result of #30daysofbiking?
@patiomensch: I met my girlfriend for one, with whom I now live.
I’m most impressed by Matthew Jensen, who makes rare appearances on Twitter as @omgmrj. He hasn’t missed a day of bicycling since we started the event, on April 1, 2010, and because we’re closing in on our first anniversary, that means he’s nearing the famed next level of #30daysofbiking: #365daysofbiking. I co-created this thing and even I haven’t managed that. Daym, dude.
Do it. Commit to 30 days of biking and show off your passion for the bike. Oh, and follow the #30daysofbiking hashtag during April…..It’s going to be one very busy tag.