Hashtag Tuesday: #30daysofbiking

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.

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