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Posted by on Jan 28, 2009 in Bicycle Culture | 5 comments

Note to Businesses: Target Market to Cyclists!!

I was reading one of the links that Mighk gave in one of the comments to Keri’s post on “smart advocacy” and what the Borough of Hackney (in London) is doing with their cycling plan.

It’s a good read. I really liked the examples of cycling advocates forming coalitions with other groups such as Environmental, Health, Transportation, Economics, Society/Community and Crime/Safety.

I think they may have missed one, though. Business.

It occurs to me that many retailers, restaurants and other service businesses don’t see cyclists as a market. And that’s just a missed opportunity.

These tough economic times are having an impact on how people travel — using their cars less and making fewer long(ish) trips. Merchants and eateries therefore derive much of their business from people who live within a few miles.

What about a marketing campaign aimed at cyclists, saying something like this: “Come and see us!! We are less than 5 miles away (have a map showing business location and neighborhoods within 5 mile radius) — You don’t have to drive, just bicycle up to (name of business) where you can park your bike in our secure bike rack. Show us your bike (or bike helmet) and get 15% off!!”

I mentioned retailers and restaurants. But other types of businesses, such as movie theaters, could benefit from such a campaign. Heck, even a mall developer could roll out such a campaign on behalf of its tenants.

Would it work? Would you ride your bike to a local business that made you an offer like this? Would your neighbors, who only occasionally get on their bikes?

To my way of thinking, it’s another step toward creating a cycling culture in our community.

Your thoughts??

5 Comments

  1. EXCELLENT! I can’t count the number of local businesses that could easily cater to cyclists and which are clueless about the business they could acquire with minimal effort and expense. Drug stores, movie theaters, restaurants, and the mini malls that currently post “no bicycles allowed” signs.

    What’s more, “bicycle friendly business” gives off a “green” glow without getting us stuck in the paint & path spiral. A brochure explaining how to do it and the payoffs would be wonderful – and I’ve never seen such a brochure. I’d definitely favor such places over those that could but don’t…

  2. Sure this would work. It is something I already do, minus the great 15% off offers. I wish that more businesses would supply secure parking for bicyclists. Or even just a rack and not the buggy corral.

    A night at the movies by bike would be an awesome treat. The matinee or early evening movie would afford you a night ride back home.

    Many of my coworkers are “too far” to commute to our place of work. So I ask them to trade off. Use their bikes around the house for short errands. If businesses came through, imagine the outcome.

    So what if I got funny looks for hauling two bags of dog food. It wasn’t in my truck or car. Would have been nice NOT to have secured my bike and trailer in the “mine field” at the pet store.

    For this reason, I have contemplated to asking the businesses I frequent about installing parking facilities and your post urges me to move forward on this.

  3. I’m looking into getting a reply from the West Coast on this wonderful idea.

    http://tinyurl.com/c45okx

    A discussion will be started in the forum, so stop by and give your ideas on making this work for our community. Once I get a reply, I will share the response.

  4. Jose: I went to your blog to read more about this …. would you be able to elaborate more about how you have set this up with an article here in Commute Orlando? It looks great!!! — want to know how it works out as well.