Bikabout donates 25% of its revenue each year to support local non-profits that advocate for better biking. And while that may sound altruistic, we want to be explicit about the fact that our motives are entirely selfish. We're trying to remake North America the way we'd rather it be. Let us explain.
We want bikes to be quietly and seamlessly integrated into normal daily life for North Americans of all stripes. We want North American cities to be so safe and easy to bike in that it ceases to be a conversation point. No longer will it be in any way remarkable that you arrived somewhere - anywhere - on a bicycle. It will become unremarkable because ridership will be so common that it no longer draws attention any more than arriving in a Honda Civic does. We want women and children to feel safe enough to bike anywhere in town. We want the elderly to be able to extend their mobility and independence by biking, to say nothing of their health. And these things will never happen if people don't feel safe enough biking in their town.
Your local city councilors and mayor have the ability to radically remake many aspects of your city - for better or worse. They're making decisions that can affect you tangibly in every single meeting, from bike lanes to parking restrictions to zoning issues. And they're usually pretty reachable, but an unorganized clamor of individuals asking for variations of similar things is not as persuasive as a well-supported local advocacy group. Advocacy groups organize and harmonize the message from all their members, and present a unified front to elected officials. Advocacy groups have a regular audience with community leaders. Advocacy groups are respected, and their input is usually considered very carefully.
It is for this reason that Bikabout steers 25% of its proceeds towards advocacy groups who agitate for better biking infrastructure. As volunteers and board members of local non-profits ourselves here in Boston, we've seen first-hand what kind of power advocacy can have on a city. 2015 Boston is light years ahead of 2007 Boston, and it is mostly due to the hard work of well-organized advocacy volunteers. We know that if you build it, they will come. And we know of no better way to get it built - in our town and in yours - than to fund the tireless advocates who keep the conversations focused on what matters. Advocates get results, so advocates get our dollars.
what you can do
- Book travel at Bikabout.com. It costs you nothing extra to reserve a hotel or book a flight, but we get a little kickback through affiliate advertising, which goes to fund advocacy.
- Volunteer! There's almost assuredly a great advocacy group in your town, and they need your support. That support often comes in the form of manning a table at an event, or doing traffic counts at tricky intersections, or taking tickets at an event. Sometimes you even get a swanky t-shirt.
- Donate one coffee every month. Forgo one insanely overpriced coffee every month, get a french press at work and sign yourself up for $5 monthly giving program with your local advocate. Sustainable giving like this provides a reliable income stream to the organization, it's brainless for you with automatic debit and you'll feel so good.
- Do normal things by bike with your friends. Go out to dinner, see a movie, visit a museum, go shopping, invent an errand...just do it by bike. The more of us there are doing it, the safer and more "normal" it becomes.