Fun + Tough

Published 2010-04-01

Today, asked me to share my ideas about “improving the future of cycling.” Here’s what I wrote them:

Check out this ad, for the Gap:

This ad for pants does more for bike advocacy and bike love than any specifically “bike advocacy” or “bike love” video I’ve ever seen. This one ad reminds me what’s so great about bikes, it makes me want to go out RIGHT NOW and RIDE BIKES WOOHOO!!!!

Sexy people riding bikes and having fun, with cool background music. Cruiser bikes, not fixies or racing bikes. Downhill, not up. No damn helmets.

The problem with “bike advocacy videos” is that they’re preaching to the choir. The choir goes “hallelujah!” and everyone else thinks “quit preaching at me.” If our goal is “get more people on bikes” we need to stop preaching and just show how awesome bikes are. Talking about global warming or lycra won’t get more people on bikes, it’ll just get bike people to ride more. There’s a difference there.

Now check out this ad for Miller Beer:

If you want to sell bikes as sustainable, save-the-earth, stop dependency on foreign oil etc., this ad shows how to do it. Bikes are tough. Tough guys ride bikes. Uphill. In the FRICKING SNOW. (And again: no helmet.) Take that OPEC! “Man. Power.” This ad makes me want to ride bikes for the exact opposite reason as the Gap ad: to stick it to Big Oil, to be tough. (It also makes me want to drink beer, but I digress.)

Put the ideas behind these two ads together. Fun + Tough. You probably couldn’t do both in one ad but wouldn’t that be cool? Even cooler if you could do it without v/o.

p.s. Go to and sign the pledge!