Specialized Combines Social and Their Clout to Get Kids On Bikes

As a new parent (of the cutest kid ever) and a cyclist, I’ve already mapped out my child’s path to bicycle lifestyle. He started off in-utero going for rides on mommy’s bike and on the back of my Xtracycle, and come spring he’ll head out in a trailer, then move up to a ride-along bike, then a tandem, then his own bike.

But what about the rest of the kids out there? How do they find out about cycling, learn to love the two-wheel lifestyle? What’s the path to go from toddler on a balance bike and turn them into a podium finisher or a bike commuter?

That’s the question that lead to Specialized’s new First Gear program, a mashup of social-media and marketing power designed to get kids on bikes. The idea is pretty simple (and pretty brilliant–why don’t more companies combine their message with their marketing like this?), connect people around the world to the small grassroots programs that actually help get kids on bikes.

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The site, filled with success stories and direct links to ways to get more involved in each of the various programs.

The best component of the First Gear program is the Join In page (pictured in the thumbnail above) which breaks down various advocacy and service programs by time commitment and financial outlay. Have only five minutes but you can spare $30? Click the link to buy an IMBA membership. Can you spare 30 seconds and spend nothing? Then sign the People for Bikes pledge.

This quick visual approach is a great way to demystify a complicated issue–it’s something that feels similar to the way that the Obama campaign leveraged smart web design to get people to create at-home phone banks.

Excuse me now, while I go spend five minutes and a few bucks to help get more kids riding bikes.

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