Let Bike Your Park Day Build Your Audience

September 12, 2017

Jeff Mow (left), superintendent of Glacier National Park, and other Glacier National Park staff enjoy breathtaking views during a bike ride with Bike Walk Montana representatives.

Bike Your Park Day, a free, world-wide event to encourage people to explore parks and public lands by bicycle on September 30, can help your business or community group increase customers, members, and supporters. Adventure Cycling is calling on businesses and community groups throughout the world to use Bike Your Park Day and its promotional resources to expand your audiences — and there’s no cost to you.

Last year, over 11,000 people participated in 1,439 Bike Your Park Day rides with some rides led by businesses and organizations including Kevin Madzia of Century Cycles in Peninsula, Ohio. “Being near our local parks brings people into our stores, and we help those people enjoy those parks more by providing bikes, accessories, and repairs,” Madzia said. “So it was natural for us to encourage more people to visit the parks by promoting Bike Your Park Day.”

Here’s how Bike Your Park Day can boost your business or organization.

Bike shops and outdoor recreation stores

You want to get new customers in your door and we all know from Marketing 101 that one way to do that is by putting on events. But events can take a lot of time and money. Fortunately, Bike Your Park Day is a ready-made event with free promotional tools available to anyone who hosts a ride. If you don’t have a lot of time or extra resources, Bike Your Park Day can be fairly simple. Set a time on September 30 for your customers and potential customers to meet at your store and promote your ride through your website, email lists, and social media channels by using the free resources on the Promote Your Ride page. Think logo, hashtag, social media posts and images, a poster, a flyer, a press release, newsletter text, etc. If you’re not sure where to start with the promotional resources, check out our recent blog.

Bike Shop in Henderson, Nevada will lead a ride to Lake Mead National Recreation Area on September 30.

Design a route, to or through parks or public lands, that’s approachable for your customer base. If you have a lot of beginners or kids participating, you might want to make the ride shorter and more beginner friendly. The ride can be on shared roads, bike paths, or on a mountain bike trail. Most shops have nearby public lands — like national parks, state parks, forests, parkways, greenways, wildlife refuges, monuments, historical sites. If there aren’t public lands within bicycling distance of your shop you can also start your ride at a park or other public lands.

Even if the ride doesn’t start at your shop, you can still use Bike Your Park Day to promote what you do. Hand out swag with your logo or distribute coupons. Offer bike demos so participants can try out your products. Or host a post-ride barbecue, or just provide water and light snacks, to encourage people to stick around and socialize. Their experience will create a level of trust that will make them want to come back and shop at your store.

Be sure to register your ride at BikeYourParkDay.org and it will appear on the interactive map of rides. Also, email us and we’ll mail you Bike Your Park Day stickers for your group.

Bike clubs, meetup groups, and bicycle advocacy groups

Use Bike Your Park Day to recruit new members, gain supporters, or to educate your community about what you do. If you have an office, start your ride there. If you don’t have a physical location, partner with a bike shop or start your ride in a public place. Hand out swag and educate participants about what your group does. You can even hand out free introductory memberships or include a sign-in sheet to collect contact information.

Or use Bike Your Park Day to promote a specific upcoming event or initiative by giving a short presentation or sending out information after the ride. Finish the ride with a social event to create connections between riders. Many bike clubs and advocacy groups have limited or no staff. Call on volunteers to lead the ride and help with other event logistics, like coordinating post-event treats. If you don’t have a budget for extras like food and swag, get a sponsor to underwrite the costs or meet at a coffee shop or brewery and have participants pay for their own drinks and snacks.

Free Cycles in Missoula, Montana led a ride to Milltown State Park for 2016’s Bike Your Park Day. Some cyclists stayed and helped plant trees for the park.

Parks and public lands and their friends’ groups

Rangers and other park staff can lead rides to show off bike facilities like trails, bike rentals, and hiker/biker campsites. Work with friends’ groups to organize a Bike Your Park Day ride if parks are short on staff. As nonprofit organizations, friends’ groups can even make Bike Your Park Day into a fundraising event to create a much-needed revenue stream for their parks.

Some parks might choose to offer free admission, and some offer it anyway since Bike Your Park Day is on the same day as National Public Lands Day. Other parks have offered free camping for cyclists who arrive by bike on Bike Your Park Day. Late September is the off-season for many parks and public lands in the U.S., meaning campgrounds and facilities could be empty. Fill the void with happy cyclists who will likely come back in the future.

Since Bike Your Park Day and National Public Lands Day coincide, parks can also use the opportunity to get cyclists to participate in a service project like trail building or park cleanup. It could be as simple as encouraging people to ride their bike to the location of the service project. 

Parks can turn their National Public Lands Day event into a Bike Your Park Day event by asking participants to ride to the location of the service project. Here, a local mountain bike group builds trails in Montana.

Tourism agencies

Gene McGee, mayor of Ridgeland, Mississippi, enjoys post-Bike Your Park Day snacks with a park ranger after riding on the Natchez Trace Parkway. The Ridgeland Tourism Commission organized the event.

Bicycle tourism brings many economic benefits to local, state, and national economies. Statewide and local tourism agencies can use Bike Your Park Day to promote your local attractions and entice out-of-town visitors to explore parks and public lands in your state or region by bike. Partner with a park or bike club and other businesses wanting to promote a service or product to cyclists.

Youth groups and other community groups

The same principles apply to almost any group wishing to expand its audience, membership, or customer base. Inspire a youth group like girl scouts, boy scouts, or 4-H to be part of Bike Your Park Day. The experience will have a lasting impact and may turn some youth into lifetime bike travelers.

Think outside the box and get your book club, knitting group, or softball team to lead a Bike Your Park Day ride. If expanding isn’t your goal, use Bike Your Park Day to create stronger bonds between your existing members. 

This group of kids rode to Lehigh Gorge State Park in Pennsylvania for Bike Your Park Day in 2016.

Register your ride by September 18 for a chance to win prizes

As a bonus, register your group’s Bike Your Park Day ride by September 18 and you’ll be entered to win a bike from Advocate Cycles and an Amtrak trip for two, with bikes, to Glacier National Park.

Thank you, sponsors

Bike Your Park Day wouldn’t be possible without our generous sponsors. Thanks to Visit MississippiVisit Ridgeland, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana, Advocate Cycles, Amtrak, and Black Coffee Roasting Co. for their support.

Photos 1 & 4 by Saara Snow | Photo 2 by Ian Graves | Photo 3 courtesy of Ethel MacDonald | Photo 5 by Mina Thorgeson | Photo 6 by Jennifer Mann

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Bike Your Park Day Bike to or within nearby parks and public lands with thousands of people around the country on the same day — Bike Your Park Day on September 30, 2017. Bring friends and family to join the ride and discover the outdoor adventures in your backyard. Make it your own experience: ride any distance; go with friends, family, or join a group; bike on trails or roads. Visit a national or state park, monument, historic site, river, seashore, recreation area, preserve, forest, wildlife refuge, or parkway.  #BikeYourPark

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