Let's Catalyze Our Storytelling!

Yve Hart rides home in one of Long Beach's protected bike lanes. Image by Allan Crawford.

Yve Hart rides home in one of Long Beach's protected bike lanes. Image by Allan Crawford.

How can we truly catalyze our storytelling for bike advocacy?

We can focus on capturing the joy of riding.

Two very fun things happened yesterday that play right into our topic for today's blog. First Brian Addison the very talented young editor of LongBeachize.com, and now also the new communications director for Downtown Long Beach Associates (DLBA), sent Allan Crawford and I an email asking permission to use the above image and wanting to know "who's that girl?"

Brian had been looking through different photo archives to spark some ideas for Bike Fest. The image is one I had shared with the DLBA a couple of years ago when I was working with them on Bike Fest, but was never used. The girl is Yve Hart - a local makeup and hair artist who has now added wellness coach to her many talents. In the photo she's riding home from a photo shoot she did with Allan and I, where she'd not only volunteered to do the hair and makeup for both Jen Klausner and Alexis Lantz (both then staff of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition) but also was game to be a model herself.

The image illustrates Allan's marvelous talent at capturing movement and was totally serendipitous. Allan was on his way to another meeting downtown from our photo shoot when he saw Yve again and captured this shot.

Here's what Brian shared yesterday on Facebook after I connected him with Yve:

Come May 30, our annual Bike Fest will launch into 2015 with all things two-wheeled—and before you have a fear that biking must be done with spandex and lycra with sweat pouring out of you, we want to remind you that biking can be stylish.

Take a look at Yve Hart, full-time health connoisseur and mom, looking like she is riding out of a Vogue spread. Don't take our word but her beautiful tale of what riding a bike means to her:

"Bicycling, for me, is about getting out and connecting to nature and my amazing Long Beach community," Yve said. "I am not a lady that puts on lycra and rides for speed. In fact, there are times I go to work all dressed up, looking stylish—and I am happy just to be at cruising level, acknowledging the neighbors and nearby businesses. I love visiting the farmers market on a bike and 'feeling' the neighborhoods out at eye level, up close and personal. My favorite times to bike is when I have my son—21 months old—riding with me, the wind in our hair and sun on our backs."

Yve and her large circle of green minded and talented creative entrepreneurs offer a fresh opportunity for Long Beach to expand its bike advocacy network, and offer a replicatable model we can use regionally, and nationally as well. They excel at collaboration which (which we'll delve more into at our Media & Marketing Love 202 webinar on Thursday February 12, will you join us?). For example Yve is the one who introduced me to our favorite cargo bike riding Mom Shelby Sanchez who graced Momentum Magazine this past summer.

Joy can be successfully captured in images, it can be captured in language, and of course video.

Yesterday my partner Charlie shared with me a video that is now one of my personal favorites along with Pharrell Williams Happy video. Do you know what I'm talking about? Have you seen this?

On just one Youtube link version of this alone I noted it's been seen over 22 million times. Imagine a fun celebratory bike video doing the same. Imagine the impact.

What I love about the video is how officer Jeff Davis of Delaware stepped up to the plate to perform. This is not an impromptu piece, it was planned (and filmed in an empty park) but they did get it in one take on a GoPro. Learn more about it all in this news clip from ABC Eyewitness News LA. The officer's ten year old daughter loves Taylor Swift and so he knows the song cold. The purpose of the video? To help moral with the police during a very challenging time. And it's serving its purpose far broader and wider than probably what the Delaware police department had in mind.

So let's use this as inspiration. In bike advocacy we're dealing with the media, and some of the public, who like to stir up drama promoting there is a car vs. bike war. It doesn't have to be the case. We have a wonderful opportunity to humanize bicyclists through joy.

Now, who's going to volunteer to lip sync to a catchy phrase while riding their bike on camera?