June 12, 2017 § 22 Comments
Geoff Loui came up with the idea of getting a bicycle booth at the annual PV Street Fair in order to interface with people while we’re not wearing Lycra. The idea was public outreach in a forum other than city council meetings, where the default audience wasn’t anti-bicycle, anti-safety, anti-community, anti-black, anti-outsider.
In addition to a volunteer schedule that, although heavy on Big Orange club members, also include great participation from Velo Allegro in Long Beach, BCCC, and SBW, as well as some people not affiliated with any club or group. The booth was staffed from 8:00 AM until 9:00 PM Saturday and Sunday. Most of the time we had more volunteers than available slots, so people just came and hung out anyway.
Thanks to donations from Jessup Auto Plaza (free chap stick), Big Orange (tons of free t-shirts), and lots of others, we were able to give away tons of swag using a spinning wheel for prizes and giveaways. Geoff’s plan was also to distribute a ton of educational material and to focus on kids. Velo Allegro donated an entire box filled with brand new kids’ helmets. Allyson Vought and Austin Loui won the crowd interaction award by engaging countless families and kids in conversation about bicycling and safety.
Unsurprisingly, the crowd at the fair had nothing in common with the anti-cycling rhetoric that is entrenched in Rancho PV and PV Estates council meetings/transportation committee meetings. People were friendly, glad to talk about safety, and not a single person mentioned any of the negative, hostile tropes that typically get trotted out at public forums by an angry minority of anti-cyclists.
Kids were the most enthusiastic about riding bikes, and parents had lots of stories about their kids and about cycling.
This was phenomenal public outreach. Geoff funded the booth out of his own pocket and worked tirelessly to set up and tear down with the help of a long list of volunteers, including The Sherri Foxworthy, who drove all the way over from Santa Monica to help out. Geoff’s project included other organizations, focused on kids, education, and a positive message, and presented bicycle riders for what they are: Members of the community–dads, moms, brothers, sisters, kids.
Outreach like this, especially in communities trying to get their brains around the right of cyclists to exist, is something that benefits everyone. Thanks to all who helped make a difference!
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