Bike Chain Reaction: A Social Business to Create Bike Commuters Through Crowdfunding
Today I set aside my blather to convey what may be a good idea. I’ve only had like two good ideas ever, and I’ll cut off my own hair and eat it if it helps to make this the third (this is a trick – because I’m hairless). I’d like to implement the idea, but first I want to collect feedback so that I can better understand if there’s any promise in it. That’s what this post is for. I’ve posed some questions at the bottom – please answer them by flooding the comments with constructive criticism.
The idea is a mechanism to promote bike commuting, which is one of the most important things that civilization can do at the moment, not only to address climate change, but to deal with peak oil and to improve the health, happiness, and atmosphere of cities everywhere. The case for bike commuting is overwhelming - read this to familiarize yourself with the arguments.
Anyway, I call my idea Bike Chain Reaction.
How it works: there’s a website, which makes money by selling bike equipment and collecting donations from folks who wish to promote bike commuting. The revenues are used to buy bikes and equipment for car-commuters who, in exchange, pledge to stop driving and start riding to work.
The program will qualify the recipients of the equipment, make sure the pledges are properly carried out, perhaps using the GPS locators that some city bikeshare programs use. If so, total gas/carbon/money saved by the program can be displayed in tickers on the site.
It’ll only work if there’s an effective way to raise awareness for the program. Here’s how: the program will partner with bike stores. When the program purchases a bike, it’ll do so at retail through the nearest partner store. In exchange for the business, stores will promote the program (through in-store displays, etc).
Some bike recipients may be required to periodically write about their experience in making the switch from car to bike, both to create content with which to promote the program and to help others make the same transition.
Pretty straightforward, right?
Ok, what do you think?
- Good idea?
- Would you participate, either as donor or recipient? If not, is there something similar that you would participate in?
- What might ruin the idea, and how could that be fixed?
- How could the idea be made 10 times cooler?
- What haven’t I thought of?