So... I wrote a book that makes the economic case for bicycle transportation. It's a book full of facts, stories, and a vision that has the power to reshape our country. And I want to bring it and the ideas in it to cities and towns up and down the east coast, from Montpelier to Miami—and to give you the tools, words, and pictures to bring Bikenomics to your own communities.
The book is Bikenomics: How Bicycling Can Save the Economy. It comes out on December 1. The title makes a bold claim, and the ideas inside more than back it up. The data are in, and there's no denying the economic case for bicycle transportation at a personal and a civic level. I can tell you why in under 20 minutes; or you can dive into the book and come out an expert, ready to go.
This coming June 2014, I'm taking the book on tour. Dinner and Bikes is a DIY tour in bike shops, church basements, community centers, and food co-op community rooms. It won't be just another awkward reading, either. I'll give a spirited, interactive presentation about the economic case for cycling, followed by a screening of Joe Biel's exciting new bike activism documentary Aftermass. Best yet, during the program you'll be enjoying a vegan and gluten free feast prepared by chef Joshua Ploeg.
And you're invited to be a part of it—whether or not we're able to come to your city.
Our plan is to begin the tour in NYC around June 1st, then drive (yep, a car...sigh) north along the coast, and back south slightly inland. We'll head to Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York State, Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida. On the way back to NYC we'll fit in as many inland cities as we can. And we'll try to do it all in under 5 whirlwind weeks.
If you live somewhere along the eastern seaboard and want to talk about putting on an event in your town, get in touch! You don't need to back this project to bring us to your town. Actually, the point is quite different, which brings me to:
What is this project for?
Making connections. We want to talk with you, learn about your local bike scene, and share ideas. The goal of this tour is to build connections with and within communities. So let's connect! Maybe you live in Dover and want to help us set up an event on this tour. Or maybe you live in Omaha and want to talk about doing something with us in the future. Or maybe you just want to read the book or even give a presentation to your own community about the economic benefits of bicycling. That's great too.
Making our tour affordable. The bulk of the funds from this project will go to sponsoring events. Here's the background:
Our events are exciting and effective ways to lighting a fire under a local bike movement or organization. That's why we do it—not to make money. But... the tour costs money to do, and we all still need to keep the lights on back home. To make the math come out right, our organizers in each city need to come up with at least $500 (more for a larger event), which covers groceries, our car rental and gas, and what amounts to a bit more than minimum wage for our time at the events.
In a lot of cases, this isn't a problem. The money comes from either a generous sponsor or folks paying $20 at the door or some combination of the two. But in some cities the economy is not so excellent. Sponsors are hard to find, folks can't afford a lot at the door, and organizers are busy and spread thin. These are the cities we most want to visit, the ones where we and the attendees always seem to have the most fun, and the places where bicycling is often the most transformative.
So we are asking you, the world, to sponsor this tour. We are going to use funds from this project to sponsor events in as many cities as we can. We'll still ask organizers in sponsored cities to come up with a small amount, but we'll cover the rest. The more this project raises, the more events we'll be able to sponsor.
You'll be the sponsors—not just of this tour, but of new energy in bicycle communities across the United States. In exchange, we'll thank you profusely, send you books, and keep you supplied with a steady stream of photos and write-ups about the events that you're helping make happen. And we'll keep doing what we can to create change, one church basement at a time.
About the rewards
More about the books and movie rewards
The books are our newest works. We'll have these with us on tour, but if you can't wait that long, snag your copy here on this project.
More about the books and movie from the publisher: Bikenomics: How Bicycling Can Save the Economy is Elly's new book. Aftermass: Bicycling in a Post-Critical Mass Portland is Joe's new movie. And This Ain't No Picnic: Your Vegan Punk Rock Cookbook is Joshua's gorgeous, colorful, silly, venerable new manual of DIY deliciousness.
More about the DIY Presentation
Can't make it to a tour event? Do it yourself! Everyone who backs this project at any level will get access to slides, notes, and presenting tips that you can use to give your own Bikenomics talk. Both slides and notes will be sent to you as PDF files. Bring them to your city council, your workplace, your church, your school, your club, your bike shop, and share this presentation, adapting it to suit your local needs and examples.
More about the events
Want to organize an event in your town, either on this tour or another time? Get in touch and lets talk. You do not need to back this project to organize an event. We just need to work out the details (and it can be a bit of work!). If you aren't on our route for this tour, we'll put you in the spreadsheet and do our best to work you into a future tour. Unless, of course, you choose the highest reward level, in which case you can summon us to your town to do an event.
Want to sponsor a specific event? Let's talk about that as well. Our tour schedule is still up in the air, so it's too soon to make decisions just yet about specific cities that this project will sponsor. So if you run a food co-op in Charleston or Savannah and want to sponsor the groceries for an event in your town, we should work that out separately... just to make sure we have an organizer and a date that works in your town.
We can't wait to visit.
Risks and challenges
This is our fourth year doing this tour (and the fifth tour I've organized), so there are no longer any mysteries about what can and will go wrong.
We've got all the run of the mill stuff sorted out: Driving routines, A/V issues, setup and cleanup, the million logistics that go into planning a non-hectic event.
Still, tours have thrown a lot of unexpected situations in our path. Here's a sampling of past disasters: A tornado touching down during an event; our rental car catching on fire; nobody arriving to unlock the venue; losing the key to the venue's only bathroom; a jealous cat marking the tour money while we slept; illness putting one of us out of commission; literal computer meltdown ten minutes before the event...
What can I say? The show always goes on, and usually with aplomb. Whatever happens, we're ready!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (29 days)