For the first Bikes.SE contest, we'll be giving out gift certificates of $1,200, $800 & $500 to 3 New York City-area riders whose bikes have been stolen during the past year. 5 runners up will win a Kryptonite New York bike lock.

  • Each contestant will be asked to "answer" his/her story in 400 words or fewer AND "prove" his/her circumstances by getting upvotes from 5 new Bicycles.SE users.

  • After 3 weeks, the top 10 upvoted stories will be judged by site moderators. The story-tellers that best convey "the awesome value of bicycles" will be awarded the prizes.

Everything in bold is up for debate - as is the design of choosing a winner.

(EDIT: Sorry for not making this clear: This is the first contest. We know Stack Exchange is everywhere -- there are more of you abroad than stateside. But we have to start somewhere, and I'm thinking why not a place where I can "get my hands greasy." Let's see how this contest works, hone the process, and then go global.)

What ya think!?

Update: We're reconsidering the details, discussed over here: Bike Contest - Reconsidered

  • How best to publicize this? Link to this thread? Will there be a post on the main stack exchange blog? Would like to spread the word. Aug 30 '11 at 17:28
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    Bicycle Habitat will help promote this initiative, as will Flavorpill. I anticipate more publicity, though as of now, these will be the official partners. And yes, we will get coverage through the Stack Exchange network. Aug 30 '11 at 17:38
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    Why is it only open to New York City-area riders? Are you planning future contests for each and every other city in the world?
    – onestop
    Aug 30 '11 at 17:39
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    I don't live in New York nor has my bike ever been stolen but I'd like to see more competitions/events like these.
    – Ambo100
    Aug 30 '11 at 17:55
  • @onestop: Please see the edit note above. We haven't forgotten about you world! But we have to start somewhere. Aug 30 '11 at 18:13
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    I'm really torn, this is a great offer but far too limited for this community. It would be a much better precident to offer a contest open to everyone, even if less generous, than to make the first such contest so exclusive to only those in one very small (geographically) region. In a nutshell I think I'd like to close as too-localized :-/
    – STW
    Aug 31 '11 at 2:00
  • @STW - I hear your concerns. Clearly, you're not the only one who has them. Bicyles.SE is lucky to have users in so many places - we'd be a pretty lame site if we didn't. We are going to find a way to get you all involved in future giveaways & contests. We've got it in our budget to do so. Lemme know if you have any ideas for the next contest. And feel free to shoot me an email: sbrand@stackexchange.com Aug 31 '11 at 14:28

I think that there is scope for an insurer or other third party to be interested in a 'version of this competition'. Some basic questions could be tagged on, for instance, how long the bike was left unattended, rough time that it was stolen, (or time noticed that it was stolen), the lock that had been used, type of bike, colour of bike, value of bike, presence of CCTV, street furniture attached to, location (e.g. street), presence of other bikes parked in the vicinity, reported to the police, how long it took for a replacement steed to be purchased, etc.

Such a survey can be put into an excel chart and wrapped up into a press release which can then be given to mainstream media to get more site visitors. An 'unexpected finding', e.g. 'NY geeks most likely to get bikes stolen on Tuesdays' should emerge from the survey and be 'newsworthy', even if it confirms what we already know.

As for the 'angle', 'what got you mad when you had your bike nicked' is probably more insightful. I have had three bikes stolen, once the attitude of my employer got me mad, once my being drunk (at a party, trusting those present) got me mad and once the attitude of the police got me mad. The turkey of the lock that I owned also got me mad the last time. The insight of the 'what got me mad' angle is personal (e.g. I could have parked up somewhere more sensible) and societal (e.g. employers should provide secure facilities).

I know beautiful storytelling has its value, it is just I feel that something good could come out of a collective hindsight thing.

  • +1 for the 'collective hindsight' thing, despite nonrandom sampling. Aug 31 '11 at 5:04
  • @ʍǝɥʇɐɯ - I think "What got you mad" is a great question to ask and it should be included in the prompt, once we have it written up. But I'm unclear how mods would judge a response to that without being fickle. Still, I agree we can improve upon the "the awesome value of bicycles" standard and I welcome any improvements. Aug 31 '11 at 14:06
  • @ʍǝɥʇɐɯ - Also, I very much like the statistical analysis idea, though as David says, any conclusions won't be very scientific due to sample size. Still, if any trends appear, we should absolutely market them, perhaps as an infographic blog post, or something else. Aug 31 '11 at 14:08
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    @Sam -1 for focus on being mad: it's stupid and dehumanizing.
    – ChrisW
    Sep 2 '11 at 0:51

I think this is a great idea. Not only will this replace somebody's bike, but it's a great way to get the word about the site out. A few thoughts on the scope of the contest:

It seems clear that the NYC metro area is included (nearby NJ, Connecticut, NY State) but it might make sense to indicate that, if someone can physically get to NYC, they can enter. That'll open this to Pennsylvania, Delaware, DC, even Rhode Island and so on. You haven't specifically limited this to the city that never sleeps, but maybe indicating "if you can get to New York City, you can participate" would be a nice touch. That would keep this limited to NYC for the sake of the contest and awarding the bike (and whatever shops end up setting the bike up) but also make this more inclusive.

Edit: I'm assuming here that this is only the first such giveaway, and that other areas will have similar giveaways in the future. While I find it disappointing that this first contest is limited to the NYC area, I fully understand the desire of SE to keep the first one close to home.

  • Love this idea. It will be so. Aug 30 '11 at 19:18
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    Can downvoters please expand on what they disagree with here? Do people disagree that we should expand this to more than NYC, or do they not like that the contest is limited to that area? Aug 31 '11 at 15:10
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    @Neil Fein - I have not voted on the Q or the A, however, there is a lot that is not quite right about this competition, well that is my 'gut feeling' anyway! Leaving regionalism aside, I don't think it works properly as a competition. I have helped a lot of people get a new bike after having theirs stolen, they tend to replace quickly - if at all - and, from a retail perspective, sympathy is given but no special deal. The deal is not normally asked for, even if they are repeat customers. I think that smaller prizes will give equal results. Sep 1 '11 at 19:56

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