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Moving People to Pedal: Interview with ’30 Days of Biking’ Founder

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Today is the ninth day in a row that I have ridden my bike. For the month of April me and the rest of the GearJunkie staff — and a few thousand other cyclists around the world — have pledged to ride our bikes every day for 30 days straight under the guise of “30 Days of Biking”.

Now in its fourth year, “30DOB” challenges people to get outside, away from cars, and pedal to work, school, or for fun for the whole month of April.

“30 Days of Biking” pledge-takers

Founders Patrick Stephenson and Zachariah Schaap came up with the idea in 2010 in Minneapolis. It started with a handful of friends but has grown to reach thousands. This year, Stephenson said, cyclists in 48 states and more than 100 countries have pledged to pedal.

Make the pledge to ride for 30 days

Largely powered by social media, 30DOB invites riders to share their bike adventures on Twitter and Instagram via the #30DaysofBiking tag. In addition to its online presence, there are group rides and social events that take place throughout the month.

LeMond is into it

Curious to learn more, we met up with Stephenson to talk about his love of bikes and the movement he helped create. —Amy Oberbroeckling

GearJunkie: We love the idea of getting more people on bikes. How did this movement start?

It all started during an especially beautiful March, in 2010. A friend of mine proposed “30 Days of Yoga” on Twitter. I snarkily responded that I wasn’t into yoga, but asked if I could do 30 days of biking instead. I realized five seconds later that it was a rockin’ idea. Shortly thereafter, Zach and I began encouraging our friends to make the pledge.

How did you become so passionate about cycling?

I fell in love with bike commuting in 2010. I started biking to my job in Minneapolis. 20 miles a day on my Surly Steamroller, fixed-gear. Riding that first winter really inflamed all kinds of passion in me. 30 Days of Biking became the way to express that passion, a way to spread what I’d experienced and felt to a few dozen, and then a few thousand people.

Minnesota pledgees excited to ride. Photo by: Lori Klongtruatroke

Where did the movement start?

Living in Minneapolis, it just made since to start here. Plus, Minneapolis is a great city for bicycling, both because of its infrastructure and for its community, which has enough dimension, personality, and life to it to fill a Russian novel.

Cyclists from Minneapolis and St.Paul gathered for this year’s kickoff ride. Photo by: Clark Patrick.

Why do you ride?

Because what this all comes down to, despite all the hoopla and the social sharing and the impassioned advocacy, is. . . just you and your bike. You need to get somewhere, or you need to burn off some steam, and you do that with your bike. You cruise around your world — a much more accessible, open-to-you world, because you don’t have to worry about gasoline or a parking spot — on a bit of steel or carbon, or whatever. It’s easy, it’s efficient, and it feels good.

—Pledge to ride at “30 Days of Biking”.

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