When Bike Month is Over, What Happens Next?

Maria checks out a possible new ride in San Francisco at Public Bikes

National Bike Month—31 days commemorating bicycle-centric programming to promote community health, local business, and environmentalism—creates opportunities for pedaling to new destinations while peddling the attainable active lifestyle.

Bike Month is now in the homestretch. At this time, people drop out of the bike frenzy as themed events phase out. For many, the workload is intense leading up to May and ongoing, which is why advocates, bike lovers, and neighbors alike experience burnout around this time.

This celebration is invigorating as it is exhausting. Keeping community interest and energy levels high is a year-round task and requires dedication to tackle these general priorities: logging more miles, inviting new riders, striving for inclusivity, addressing a wide-range of needs, and achieving positive health outcomes. 

It is never too early to start thinking about ideas for the following year and creating a game plan to make them happen. Here are some of personal goals and coalition objectives: 

  • Bike more than last week/month/year by joining organized group rides, commuting, and doing more local errands by bicycle
  • Survey the community to compile a list of event ideas and topics of interest
  • Plan events earlier to maximize outreach
  • Expand social media efforts (more tweets, posts, photos, and more meaningful engagement with followers and friends)
  • Diversify and increase participation at all events (volunteers, attendees and community partners) through targeted outreach activities, hosting events at different venues and locations, and involving new collaborators to attract more members of the community
  • Increase participation in every subpopulation by involving members of various groups in event planning (commuters, recreation, sport, and cultural and age groups)
  • Teach more workshops on safety, repairs and riding basics, and include persons who do not own bicycles as potential participants
  • Integrate other transit options in Bike Month activities such as bike rides coupled with train rides
  • Contact at least one local media outlet for pre-event publicity and post-event coverage
  • Have fun, keep a positive attitude, and work as a team to make events more enjoyable and successful (biking is supposed to be fun—don't forget to demonstrate that!)

Before cooling down from Bike Month, make time to discuss, document, and evaluate activities. This information will guide future planning activities and can help overall program sustainability, maintain partnerships, retain the volunteer base and attract new participation. Here are some closing and ongoing activities: 

  • List hits-and-misses of events, including those outside of your community, and observe best practices from successful programs
  • Thank all volunteers, participants and collaborators
  • Follow-up with a survey to solicit feedback from the above group using traditional comment card, informal e-mail, and/or electronic survey
  • Archive photos and videos, and recap activities through a blog and/or Facebook
  • Celebrate and recognize participation of all community members through blogs, tweets, and status updates
  • Discuss next steps, encourage post-Bike Month participation, and share membership opportunities
  • Continue outreach activities and maintain social media updates
  • Engage community on a monthly basis through online meeting spaces, small-scale events, educational opportunities, regular bike rides and meetups
  • Contact local government officials and agencies to recognize Bike Month next year
  • Partner with other agencies to seek funding opportunities from city, county, federal and/or private grants to expand local bicycle activities