‘Reality Bites – Bike Week special’ – We can’t sell cycling how we’d sell soap

This last weekend, at a yoga retreat in Springbrook National Park, I met Hughie. I don’t know where he lives or what he does but I do know he is very passionate about riding a bicycle – and has some serious chocolate cravings!

Hughie’s a regular at the annual BQ Cycle Queensland holidays. He doesn’t shout acclamation for the cycling instead he applauds the big breakfasts, the coffee shop stops and the big achievers; the kids who don’t need to use the support vehicles and the 88 year old man triumphantly rolling into Gympie after a 100km day. Hughie is excited about this year’s ride from Mission Beach to Port Douglas but it seems to me that the value for Hughie is the community spirit and the food, and not the actual cycling.

And here’s the thing – and Hughie’s got it – we can’t sell cycling how we’d sell soap.

That’s why at last week’s Asia Pacific Cycling Congress I asked people what they would do on a perfect Sunday afternoon. I wanted to find out what people really value. I wanted to find out what really motivates people because like Martin Luther King Jr said “If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values”. The people I asked didn’t say riding a bicycle they said fishing, surfing, spending the day at the beach, having a BBQ and drinking a cold beer.

This week in Brisbane it’s Bike Week; a celebration of all things cycling. While bicycle riders; new and old, experienced and inexperienced pack their week with free activities for all ages and cycling abilities bicycle planners and behaviour change specialists up and down the country, me included, will be grappling with how to get more Australian’s cycling because I think we’re realising that in Australia we can’t sell cycling how we’d sell soap.

What do you value?

What do you think we should be doing, collectively, to get more people cycling?