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Community Cycling Center launches “I Ride” campaign

Posted by on July 23rd, 2009 at 10:38 am

One of a series of posters
created for the campaign.
(Photos by Kim Oanh Nguyen)

Seeking to reshape the image that comes to mind when people think of “the bike community” or “bicyclists”, the Northeast Portland-based Community Cycling Center has launched their “I Ride” awareness campaign.

So far, the campaign consists of a series of promotional posters and an upcoming video that asks a variety of Portlanders to finish the sentence “I ride _____.”

According to CCC Director of Community and Programs Alison Hill Graves, the idea for the campaign was hatched last summer. In an email interview about the project, Graves said when they would bring up the terms “bicyclists” or “bicycle community” in meetings or at their retail shop and classes, the response caught their attention.

“What we heard alot [in reply] was,” she recalled, “‘I’m not a bicyclist. I just ride my bike’ or ‘I’m not part of the bike community. I just ride my bike.'”

Graves said that response struck them as “pretty powerful and true.” The idea of the campaign is to reinforce the message that people who bike do so for a variety of reasons. “They aren’t necessarily making any kind of statement by choosing a bike and not carrying or promoting any particular agenda,” says Graves.

“Showing a wide range of people on bikes can help reshape that image. Bicyclists are people. Plain and simple.”
— Alison Hill Graves, Community Cycling Center

The CCC has been taking portraits at events like Sunday Parkways over the past month or so and will continue to do so until they feel like they have what Graves calls, “a complete picture of people who ride.”

According to Graves, there’s also a bit of political motive to the campaign. At the Oregon Bike Summit in Salem this year, she felt the vibe from the Capitol building that many Oregon lawmakers don’t have a very flattering view of people who ride bikes. “At the Summit,” Graves noted, “it seemed particularly important to dispel the myth that we’re all scofflaws (blowing through stop signs, hogging “their” roads). Showing a wide range of people on bikes can help reshape that image. Bicyclists are people. Plain and simple.”

Graves hopes to display the portraits at City Hall and other public venues. The CCC has also penned the “I Ride Manifesto.” It begins like this:

“I ride

“I ride to the grocery store”
“I ride because I don’t have a car”
“I ride for my health”
“I ride everywhere I go!”

When we think of who rides, we think of you. Riding to school, to work, around the neighborhood, for exercise, because it’s the only choice. You are pedaling moms and 5th graders, artists and machinists, retirees and job-seekers, swing-shifters and nine-to-fivers…”

The campaign is being done almost exclusively by volunteers, including the portraits by accomplished local professional photographer Kim Oanh Nguyen.

Read the rest of the manifesto and see more of the posters at CommunityCyclingCenter.org.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Mark P. July 23, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Very cool!

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  • jeneraldisarray July 23, 2009 at 10:46 am

    We cyclists are all so different and ride for so many different reasons, it’s refreshing to see these posters.
    The volunteer element of their production is supercool as well!

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  • patrick barber July 23, 2009 at 10:58 am

    well done!

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  • nuovorecord July 23, 2009 at 11:09 am

    A great message, really well executed. Nice work, CCC!

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  • ike6 July 23, 2009 at 11:28 am

    Yep, good approach. The so-called Portland “bicycling community,” of which I am a part, could use some help shedding our image as a bunch of sweaty, angry, naked, Critical-Mass, anti-car activists. Biking is fun, plain and simple, and the more people we have biking casually, the better off we’ll all be.

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  • K'Tesh July 23, 2009 at 11:52 am

    I was thrilled when I saw my photo in the mix… (2nd version of the “everywhere” quote). 😀

    My bike was silver and grey back then…

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  • patrickz July 23, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    I always knew we were regular people. Feels good to be recognized. Myself, I ride to see more.
    Ride safe, everyone

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  • q`Tzal July 23, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    … because it’s cheap.
    … because it’s easy to fix
    … because doughnuts are yummy
    … because that feeling of wind in my hair is freedom.
    … because I don’t WANT a car.

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  • Beeman July 23, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    This is a good step. Now we just need to work on policing ourselves so that a raucous few don’t ruin things for the rest of us (cough..idaho stop law..cough).

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  • Jeff TB July 23, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    These would make great “trading cards” to be pulled out and shared during “cycling community” debates.

    Coworker: “cyclist are a bunch of anarchist law breakers”
    me: “you mean these people? (handing card of I-ride-with-my-family woman and I-ride-because-its-fun kid)”

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  • E July 23, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    CCC rocks! Awesome campaign, I can’t wait to see it everywhere.

    I ride because it’s fun.
    I ride because it makes me feel strong.
    I ride everywhere I can.

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  • Breesa July 23, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    Thanks for all of the positive comments, folks! Just wanted to acknowledge the expertise of two volunteers who were integral to the creation of this campaign: Kim Nguyen (the photographer mentioned above) and Marbry Walker, a very talented designer.

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  • a July 23, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    right in the wheelhouse of a positive marketing campaign for cycling

    congrats! looks like a great idea!

    i ride because it’s faster

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  • R-diddly July 23, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    Hear hear.

    I ride because it’s the closest thing to having your destiny in your own hands.

    …and also because it’s simply the superior mode of transport.

    …and because 10 years from now there won’t be any choice.

    Now would someone please “do something about” all these cars. They don’t belong on our roads!

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  • mabsf July 23, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    What a wonderful idea…

    I ride because it makes me feel free
    I ride because it gives me time to think
    I ride because…. is there any other way to get around?

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  • April July 23, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    I love it!! Every kind of person rides bicycles. The more normal it gets, the better!!

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  • vic July 23, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    How can I get some of these posters?

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  • Grey July 23, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    this is awesome. And, for the record… I ride because it makes me alive the way cars make me feel dead. (some of us really do hate cars… but I love people! Including the ones in the cars.)

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  • Brad July 23, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    This is fantastic. Well done!

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  • El Biciclero July 23, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    Because it keeps me from getting old.

    Because some car repairs cost more than a replacement bike!

    Because it makes me appreciate the energy it takes to move mass.

    Because it feels like flying.

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  • xtinA July 23, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    I ride because I hate conformity, adore anarchists, nudie cuties and the non-spandex folks who actually smile when they pass me. I got a wide seat, enough room for all (57 and blue collar)

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  • Metrofiets July 23, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    Wow! I had no idea that they would use my ugly mug for one of the posters.


    Next time I’ll wash behind my ears.


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  • Vance Longwell July 27, 2009 at 9:46 am

    If I criticize this program, it’s not because I don’t like it, necessarily. Here we go again though with a rather small number of people self-assigning themselves a voice for all cyclists. The very diversity which they wish to draw attention too, is the same diversity that should give one pause before speaking for the entire community.

    I am also not fond of the way in which these private groups, with heavy personal agendas, are permeating the downtown civic environment. Banal or not, the CCC is not a city entity, and I’m getting a little tired of seeing their logo splattered all over the city site. Now I see BikePortland is there too. Not kool guys.

    Since when do we as a city pick and choose amongst private enterprises to endorse? Since when is the CCC the voice of all bicyclists. Why should I believe them when Scott Bricker says the exact same thing? So which special interest lobby is speaking for me today? I’d like to know what I think.

    This choice faced us back in the day too. Include all cyclists, and spend your days explaining away the DUI riders, and fixie posers, or throw those riders to the wolves, and serve your own self-interest. We couldn’t come to a conscionable conclusion. It’s good to see the current regime is a lot less sensitive than we were.

    More riding, less talking. Judging from what I see on the roads these days, you all had better hope you don’t cause a ban on gas-burning motors. Most of you could use one on your bikes.

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  • jv July 28, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    This is a great campaign…I actually turned down an opportunity to be interviewed for this, as I didn’t really understand what they were doing/ asking. Now that I see it I wish I would have participated…and I would have added some modal diversity to the mix.

    I ride because it is often faster than driving.

    I ride to avoid paying for parking downtown.

    I ride to work to justify the fact that I own 6 cars in various states of restoration…

    Some members of the Portland Cycling Community love greasy cars as well as bike chains. Maybe that story is not told enough?

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