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What can we offer to an organization like StreetsBlog.org, the League of American Bicyclists or an international bike advocacy group?

What kind of provocative question can one of these organizations ask here, and ask their members to answer?

On a related note, how can riders participate in advocacy when there's a foot of snow on the ground? - Is this a good question?

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I'm not entirely sure what you can offer to larger national/international advocacy groups.

As far as participating in advocacy when there's a foot of snow on the ground? I may be able to help there.

How to participate in advocacy when there's a foot of snow on the ground

  1. A little weather doesn't have to stop you from riding. Check our , and tags, and also http://www.icebike.org/. Basically get a hard-tail mountain bike with disc brakes, put wide studded tires on it, bundle up so your ears, toes and fingers are well protected, and ride.
    Here's some inspirational links:
  2. Most of advocacy has little to do with it being riding season.
    Reaching bicycle riders to grow an advocacy group's membership and funding is going to be easiest to do during good weather.
    However, a lot of the core advocacy work is related to informing governments how to build good bicycling infrastructure, preserving/finding funding for bike projects, etc. Those need to happen any time that congress is in session, city council meets, the transportation planning board meets, etc...
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We have got this thing called a blog. We should use it with a few standard Wordpress features/plugins such as a poll or questionnaire module.

In time we might 'downgrade' the Q+A from being the be-all-and-end-all of the site. Q+A could be how we get new followers, e.g. person with new bike stuck on how to get their gears to work could do a Google search, come to us, find the information they need and then find the wonders of the blog pages/posts.

For an advocacy group there is not a lot of point in them asking just their own members, e.g. if the 'Monster Off-Road Penny Farthing Racing Club' asked their members about whether it was 8'okay to rest a foot on car roofs when stopped at the lights'* then they would get an expected answer/skewed opinion of 'yes', if they were to ask a wider audience then they would get 'no - it gives cycling a bad name'. Bikes.se would offer them that wider audience of regular cyclists to poll/Q+A. That audience would be arrived at by the Q+A in with diffusion across to the blog.

We should consider giving advocacy groups 'contributor' access to the blog so that they can put their own stuff up on there - press releases, 'news', 'surveys' and so on.

People crave content, but, for me, most bike websites are not working. It would be really good if the blog had lots and lots of stuff so that it was 'sticky', making you want to come back to it every day. Much like 'Slashdot' for techies. IMHO press releases for new product ranges would be okay too, however it would be good to get the advocacy groups contributing first, and with a passion. Give them the tools - so they can post their own stuff - and they will contribute. Raise hurdles and it won't happen.

As for the off-season...

In the UK the cycling season is May to September. From a retail perspective the tap goes on at the start of May and off at the end of September. Not even Christmas is of any relevance (box shifters took the kids bike market for that away from the local bike shop at or around the time bike shops started focusing on the high end sales and the bike industry does not bring out any 'must have' gifts for the cyclist).

IMHO the best time to do advocacy is during the off season. Too many 'decision making important people' are on holiday during all of August or catching up in September. Catch them on a grey winter's day with attractive ideas about summer cycling and they are more likely to have time for you. Plus, to get anything done in this world, takes time and persistence. So all year round is needed anyway.

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    I humbly request a membership in this Monster Off-Road Penny Farthing Racing Club – Jeff Atwood Sep 24 '11 at 22:58
  • I'd love for the blog to play a larger role in the site. Unfortunately, when it comes to actual participation, very few people have actually produced any posts. – Neil Fein Sep 25 '11 at 17:21
  • Guilty as charged! – ʍǝɥʇɐɯ Sep 26 '11 at 8:41
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What kind of provocative question can one of these organizations ask here, and ask their members to answer?

It probably makes sense to go through their content and see what implied or actual questions they have, as mentioned in

http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2011/04/helping-the-experts-get-answers/

Could also be worthwhile to follow key folks on Twitter or Facebook for the same reason; what are they asking or talking about there? That's the kind of Q&A they'd probably be interested in.

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