Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bike Jax Is Seeking Commuter Mentors

How many times have you heard, "I'd bike to work but...(insert excuse here)?" There are a lot of reasons people give for not riding their bike to work. But the root problem for whatever reason they don't ride is fear. Fear of change, fear of the unknown, fear of how society will view them, fear of traffic, fear of weather and most importantly fear of being alone.

In the hope of eliminating the fears of the new commuter and along with the hope of building a community for the new and experienced bike commuter alike for questions and support.  Bike Jax is happy to announce as the first part of our Bike Commuter Services.** The Bike Commuter Mentors program. A program designed to pair up new riders with established cyclists that will help ease the uncertainties of the less experienced.

Become a Bike Commuter Mentor!

We encourage all experienced Bicycle Commuters in the Jacksonville and surrounding areas to join our pool of available Mentors. There is no required level of time for involvement. When a Bike Commuter Coordinator informs you of a new mentoring opportunity. You will decide whether it's right for you before your name is given to the prospective bike commuter. Bike Jax will make every effort to match you with other riders that live and commute within close proximity.

Mentors should be:
  • Somewhat experienced in using the bicycle for transportation.
  • Comfortable in urban cycling and riding in traffic.
  • Familiar with the roadways and geographical area they will mentor in.
  • Capable of effectively communicating with new commuters.
  • Able to recognize when a new commuter's bicycle is in need of maintenance or repair.*
  • If this sounds like you and you are willing to help others join our ranks, please contact us at [email protected]

What Will I Have To Do As A Bike Mentor?

When you commit to mentor a new commuter, we expect that you will:
  • Respond promptly to the request for your assistance and be punctual in participation.
  • Know and abide by applicable traffic laws.
  • Always wears a helmet.
  • Be patient working with the new commuter, and respect a new commuter's decision to terminate a ride because of unacceptable risk or difficulty and work with them in finding an alternative or returning to their starting point.
  • Most mentoring engagements will extend over 2-4 weeks and progress through the following steps:
  1. An introductory conversation over the phone or in person to learn or establish the new commuters route, level of cycling experience and needs along with tips on how to prepare.
  2. As the new commuter prepares for their first ride, you'll answer their questions on equipment, clothing, supplies, and other "tricks of the trade".
  3. Agreement on time and route for the new commuter's first ride to work and upon their ongoing commuting goal.
  4. Accompany the new commuter on one actual commute during the new commuter’s normal commuting time.
  5. Set realistic goals with the new commuter.
  6. Be available for follow-up questions and suggestions as the new commuter gains experience.
  7. Of course, we hope you and the entire mentor group will be able to maintain contact with most new commuters via the Bike Jax Commuter Support Group.
If you are interested in becoming a mentor or have additional questions. Please email [email protected]

*Note: The Mentor is not required to perform any physical repairs to a new commuter’s bicycle.

** The Bike Jax Commuter Services is part of one of the many new programs Bike Jax will be offering once the website is up.


Shek said...

This is a great idea. I have been encouraging (bullying) my friends to start bicycling to work and so far have managed to convert one. The fact that he owns and operates a Nissan Titan was also a small part of the reason!

Anonymous said...

Ooooooh! Can I get a mentor? Do you think you can expand the service to Brevard?

By the way, I picked up the bike yesterday. It's ... different. It'll take a while to get accustomed to the new riding position and seat. And I have to figure out how to carry the damn thing. It's quite back-heavy with a bag on the rack. And the front wheel moves constantly when I carry it.

But, so far, so good.