How can cyclists reach out to the community and gain street cred? Way #1: Ride with a vet.

by Eric Shalit on November 15, 2010

Reaching out to the community and building street cred, a Security Forces soldier for Provincial Reconstruction Team Kapisa, Sgt. Carlos Velasquez, repairs an Afghan childs bicycle today while providing security for the team at the Governors compound in Mahmood Raqi, Afghanistan. Kapisa PRT works with the Afghan govenrment to increase infrastructure and necessary services including schools, roads, and medical facilities . (U.S. Air Force photo by Captain Darrick B. Lee Public Affairs Officer for Provincial Reconstruction Team Kapisa)

I believe at the end of the day we are more likely to be judged by our deeds than by our words. There’s so much animosity towards cyclists. What can we do to earn some respect and street cred in our communities?

I was recently friended on Facebook by a Seattle bike dude who’s friends with some of my bicycle friends. He’s in the Army over in Afghanistan, and clearly wants to stay in touch with the bike community here in Seattle.

Last week was Veteran’s Day. I was reading another veteran friend’s Facebook thread about the meaningless of flag pins and Support Our Troops bumperstickers. I suggested that when the bicycle dude returns from Afghanistan, we should have a group bike ride in his honor. They think this is a great idea that should be rolled out to the community at large, considering Ft. Lewis and McChord bases are within our reach.

I’m not talking about decorating our bikes in flags, wearing Uncle Sam patterned spandex and having a parade. I’m thinking along the lines of inviting recently returned vets to join us doing what we love to do.

By sharing our passion with people in the greater community, not just our buddies, we can make a difference in the world and enhance how cyclists are perceived.

I’ll post more about this once it gets beyond the idea stage. Please pass it along if you think it has any value.

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