More and more Americans are riding their bikes as part of their everyday lives as a means of transportation, wearing their normal, everyday clothes, without thinking much about it. The national advocacy organization People for Bikes calls these casual, utilitarian bike trips “everyday biking” and they’re on a quest to name the everyday biking capital of the United States through a series of monthly themed bike counts. This competition between 10 cities is all about “fun” and “whimsy” unlike “serious” and “scientific” initiatives to count bikes.
Counts are held on the last Thursday of each month (except November) between 4:30 and 5:30 pm at the corner of 4th Avenue and University Boulevard. The themes and count dates are:
- April 30: Cargo bikes and trailers
- May 28: Racks and baskets (bonus points if you’re carrying flowers)
- June 25: Skirts and dresses
- July 30: Lycra or other spandex kits
- August 27: Kids on bikes (passengers included)
- September 24: Business attire (jackets, blouses, ties, office-friendly skirts and dresses)
- October 29: Costumes (Happy Halloween!)
- November 19: Beards
Running up the score is highly encouraged, so ride by our count location, bring along a friend, and help us declare Tucson the best city for everyday biking! Let us know if you’d like to organize themed bike rides in conjunction with the counts. Bearded ladies, men in tutus, cardboard baskets… let your imagination run wild!
UPDATE (April, 2015): Thanks to everyone who rode by our count location in April, our first bike count (cargo bikes and trailers) was a photo finish between Tucson and Memphis. You can read the full story here and get inspired to join us at the next count to show everyone how wonderful our everyday biking scene is here in Tucson!
UPDATE (May, 2015): This time we ended up #4 (and once again landed just behind Memphis by an even slimmer margin!) You can read the full story here to find out about how we awarded the first ten riders with flowers (donated by Whole Foods Speedway) and what other cities did around the country.
UPDATE (June, 2015): Tucson won big time in June! We trounced the competition thanks to all of you who came out in skirts, dresses, kilts, tutus, and in some cases wearing layers of them all. Here’s how People for Bikes covered our whimsical victory.
UPDATE (July, 2015): Argh! Memphis, once again, took the winning title away from us by .6 percentage points, but Tucson undoubtedly had the most most “whimsical” approach to this count theme. Check out some of the creative outfits in the photos below and read the story here.
UPDATE (August, 2015): We had a great time out there at our count location this month, cheering for all the cute kiddos who showed off their skills riding their own bikes or waved at us from a bike seat. Tucson blew away the competition with the highest number of kids counted in an hour, but came in second again similar to last month – that’s right, just behind Memphis by less than half a point! Here’s what People for Bikes had to say about this month’s competition.
UPDATE (September, 2015): We knew this was a tough one to win for a city with its very own non-business dress code, also known as “Tucson casual,” but we did an outstanding job and won the second place. And, Memphis..? The chart on the right says it all! Check out the rest of the story here.
UPDATE (October, 2015): With no costumes counted in Denver and Portland, this count came down to a tight battle between us and Memphis. Thanks to all the great Tucsonans who showed up in their costumes (or were happy to be “costumed-up” with masks handed out by our fantastic board member Mark), the victory was ours this month! And here’s what People for Bikes had to say about it.
UPDATE (November, 2015): Tucson is the winner of the beard count and #everydaybiking challenge overall. Wo-hoo!!!
Here’s the final blog post declaring the old pueblo “the best U.S City for Everyday Biking.”