Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on August 3rd, 2011 at 9:09 am
Sponsoring race teams and events has been a standard way for bike shops to “support the community” for years. But what about people who don’t race? What about people who just ride in the city to get from A to B?
Yesterday, a shop based in Northwest Portland, 21st Avenue Bicycles, launched The 21 Ambassadors program, “to directly support the urban cyclist.”
“With the continued growth in the amount of people using their bicycles solely as a means for transportation we hope to create a new model for our community and our industry.”
21st Avenue, along with program partners Trustyswitchblade and Portland Design Works, is looking for 21 Ambassadors to participate in the program (applications are due by August 15th). Ambassadors get big discounts on shop purchases and a pre-packaged Road Aid Kit full of tools and parts.
The program isn’t set up for the Ambassadors to simply ride around as usual. In exchange for these perks, Ambassadors are expected to live up to their name. Check out the list of Ambassador Commitments that come with being a member of the team:
- To stop and offer assistance to fellow cyclists.
- To follow all rules of the road and set the standard for exemplary riding behavior.
- To carry their Road-Aid kit with them on all rides.
The 21 Ambassadors program supports team members, who are then expected to support others — and support the reputation of bicycling by being model citizens while riding. Sounds like a great idea to me.
Here’s more from the program’s mission statement:
“We are the 21 Ambassadors. We believe that riding a bicycle is more than just the sum of its parts. To ride a bicycle is to be part of a community, to share a common experience, as much as it is about good health and helping environment. This is a community that we love and support, a community that we all help to grow pedaling through the cold wet winter mornings, the long carefree summer nights and everything between. We believe that as a community we should support each other in bad times as well as good. We, the 21 Ambassadors are here to help you. When tires flat and spokes break, when chains fail and gears groan, when you need a hand we hope to be there to assist. We dream that your bike will always run flawlessly, that the world can be perfect, and yet, until all the stars align, we hope to help with what we know how to do, getting you and your bike back on the road.”
It’s the hope of program creators that this becomes a model for the industry and they encourage other shops in Portland to set up their own teams. They’ve set up a website they hope can serve as a hub for the teams.
The 21 Ambassadors officially launches on September 1st, to coincide with the BTA’s Bike Commute Challenge.
Learn more at 21Ambassadors.com.
Have a look at the website. http://21ambassadors.com/
It is our hope that this inspires other shops in Portland and other cities to set up their own commuter teams. Ideally we would love to see this website work as a hub. Stay tuned for more updates.