BikePortland.org

Community Cycling Center launches “I Ride” campaign

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.

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