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How to win cyclists and influence drivers

So over the last couple of months you may have noticed that I have posted a few times regarding Australia's National Ride To Work Day. This event is run by the Bicycle Network of Australia and this year fell on Wednesday 12 October. The official purpose of the event is to encourage people to try riding to work for the first time and to also formally poll the number of Australian workers who do commute by bike in order to lobby for better infrastructure*. But for me, this year it was much more personal.

As you know, I work with a man who has commented on a frequent basis that cyclists have no place on the road. For the first few months I worked here, he often expressed his hope that I may be hit by a truck. Now, while he was joking at the time, there's an attitude behind that sort of talk that needs to be addressed before word becomes deed.

So a newly converted colleague and I set to task. We asked Pete how much money we'd need to raise for charity in order to make him ride to work. The target was set at $5,000 and we were underway.

Raising the money turned out to be harder than we expected and it came down to the wire. On the day before the ride was due to take place we crawled up to $4,800 and were set to make up the difference ourselves when the unexpected happened - we got two very generous late donations that saw us blow past our target. In the end we collectively raised just under $7,000 for charity. And that's the most important part. Thank you so much to everyone who donated and supported us!

So the ride was definitely on. We had two riding groups. Pete, our victim everyday hero, was riding with two other guys from our office while the main group gathered in the city to ride a loop before we caught up with Pete for breakfast. Here's the story in pictures:

Here's Pete in his brand new Tyreright Kit 

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Pete was so nervous about riding with cars around that he decided to leave at 5am

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And here he is on the bike

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The bike was supplied with the help of our good friends at BikeBug in North Sydney. They've been my LBS for a few years now and I rate them quite highly. Let me put it this way, they're still my LBS even though I now ride past 8 other LBS' to get to them. On a side note, once they saw this photo (and stopped laughing) BikeBug also gave Pete a new helmet.

Meantime our team at the office were making sure the BBQ was ready for when the riders arrived

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Which is just as well because they were hungry when they rolled in

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All up we had about 30 riders join us for the longer loop in 3 groups based on skill and experience. Seahorse was right with her guess that the pro I'd hinted at was CJ Sutton, who unfortunately couldn't make the ride due to his plane landing on Thursday 13 October.

To make up for this we were joined by PdC's very own Marcus in Oz! Sadly and in a cruel twist of fate, I didn't get to meet him as I was riding escort for a brave young rider who hadn't realised there are hills in Sydney.

A cooked breakfast and a chance to catch up before our grand prize was drawn

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Our grand prize was a new commuter bike (the same model as Peter was riding) and a set of Continental tyres

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Peter graciously drew the winner

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So, in short it was an excellent day and a great ride enjoyed by all. Pete is by no stretch a converted cyclist but we did have 6 riders from our head office ride on the day. We also have a pretty decent new kit that's being worn in various places around the country (turns out our Tasmanian dealers are big into cycling).

I've invited Pete out for another ride with us next weekend. Some easy laps around the park and a coffee. He hasn't said yes yet, but he also hasn't said no...

In either case, he was a good sport about the whole thing, and the "I hope you get hit by a truck" comments have disappeared from the office. For that and the money raised for charity, I'm happy to thank Pete for being involved.

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And lastly, no Ride To Work post is complete without a video montage edited to one of the best worst songs ever recorded.

TYRERIGHT RIDE TO WORK DAY! (via Tyreright)


 

*This year was the most successful event yet with over 45,000 registered riders (and many, many more who didn't register).

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