Friday, October 3, 2008

Friday's A+ Award of the Day

Today’s A+ Award goes to Tian Harter from California. Many ideas out of the West Coast are too radical for my tastes, but this story is definitely one worthy of repeating—especially with the state of the economy and gas prices today.

Tian Harter started a campaign titled: “Don’t be Fuelish.” The campaign was a way to promote bicycle commuting. He never dreamed of how successful it would become.

Tian said, “I just wouldn’t have predicted a few years ago when I started producing my bumper stickers that I’d be seeing $4/gallon gas so soon.”

He soon formed an allegiance with the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition as a way to promote “Bike to Work Day”. Together, this group of bike afficianados set up close to 50 stations (called “Energizer Stations”) which provides the bicycling commuters refreshments, giveaways, and just plain old encouragement.

Tian’s philosophy is to make everyone who breaks free from the fuel trap feel special and noticed on a community level. Local businesses are happy to donate as well, so the prizes these bicyclists receive are often quite substantial, like a free dinner or discounted sports equipment. In addition, Tian and friends work with local heavyweights like Google and Yahoo as well as major government and community agencies, whom also help foster a “commuter bike approach” with their employees.

“Bike to Work Day,” which started 14 years ago in San Francisco, has now spread nationwide. Bicycle friendly cities from across the U.S. participate, increasing the public awareness and importance of moving away from fuel-reliance.

I live six miles from my office. Unfortunately, in my community there are no safe routes for me to take to get to work. The only road that leads to my office is a 4–6 lane highway, with the speed limit of 55 miles per hour on most of it. So, while I would love to take a bicycle to work, I just don’t see it happening any time soon. And, when I mention buying a motorcycle to commute to work, my wife reminds me that I take our son to daycare each morning and pick him up in the afternoon! Not sure they make helmets for an eight-month-old!

Anyway, Mr. Harter has a great idea! He deserves an A+ Award for the day. Way to go! Way to go!


  1. I wish I could bike commute. Even if I didn't have small children and carseats to transport, though, I've found that mountain areas just aren't real conducive to biking as a commute (for riding, they can be very good).

  2. I like this guy's idea however, California is different than many areas. (Can I get a witness to that?) :) I work one mile from home but can't commute due to the nature of my job (pastor who may need his car at a moments notice). I ride on some pretty hilly country but nothing like the moutainous area K talks about. I foresee more people taking on Tian's challenge though as things get tougher.

    I have enjoyed your A+ awards this week Steve. Nice change of pace from many blogs, including mine. Well done!

  3. Bill...I know what you mean about a moment's notice on your job. As a pastor, you really can't commute--it is impossible. I'm afraid many of us have jobs like that, or we live in an area like Karma, where biking to work wouldn't be safe! So, I'm not sure what the answer is, I've looked at every option I know and right now, I don't have a solution for me personally. Maybe one day, gas prices will come down! Yeah right!

    And, yes, California is very different!

  4. Thank you for that nice award. Funny that I found out about it by googling my name all these years later. I've been car free even more years now. I haven't owned a car since 2006.


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