The goal of a Bicicultures event is to bring people who care about bicycling into conversation, particularly people that don’t normally have the chance to talk. Events focus on creating as much space for informal conversation and resource sharing as formal panels, speakers, and roundtables. The event should be a space to grow new collaborations and ideas to improve bicycling for all!
The first step for hosting a Bicicultures event is to get in touch with Adonia Lugo and Sarah McCullough, founders of Bicicultures. We are happy to provide assistance and advice at all steps in the process!
We encourage local organizers to tailor the event around their local needs, concerns, and questions. No two Bicicultures events need be identical, though we do have a few guidelines and details we insist upon. There are here to ensure the open, inclusive, and unique role of Bicicultures.
- Bicicultures events must be free and open to all. Donations may be requested to defray expenses, but no one should be turned away for lack of funds or expertise.
- Focus on bringing together people not normally in conversation. Use the event as a chance to unite disparate conversations around bicycling, such as connecting researchers and advocates. Bring planners, architects, radical activists, grassroots organizers, local community members, designers, consultants, shop owners, industry professionals, or whoever makes sense for your local context into dialogue with the world of academia and bike advocacy. Be prepared to learn from each other in unexpected ways!
- All participants should be attentive to others and respectful. Organizers should make an effort to promote an atmosphere of inclusivity and safety (see information on safer spaces for one good example of such practices). Everyone coming to a Bicicultures event arrives with their own unique set of expertise. Participants need to respect each others’ diverse knowledges and work toward making conversations generative and curious, rather than adversarial and defensive.
- Events should focus on understanding the cultural aspects of bicycling, and should keep qualitative and everyday knowledge as the focus of conversations. While quantitative research and approaches are welcome, such work should be situated within the context of less number-based forms of cultural knowledge.
- We suggest (though do not require) holding Bicicultures events in tandem with other large conferences or gatherings, such as academic or advocacy conferences. This gives you a chance to take advantage of the fact that many people with great expertise and experience are visiting from out of town, and might want to participate in your event.
- Think of the event as a way to make a local intervention and engage in national and international conversations about bicycling cultures. We recommend tailoring the focus of the conference to your local needs and desires. We also recommend using the event as an opportunity to bring in expertise from outside the community. Think strategically, and consider both unknown and locally known individuals.
Funding a Bicicultures Event
Where can you find potential resources to host a Biciculture event? We recommend on focusing primarily on local resources. Consider drawing in organizations as partners in planning. Finding individuals within the organization friendly to the Bicicultures project can prove helpful. Send out an email to the Bicicultures listserv and other networks early on in the planning process in order to recruit potentially interested parties.
Budgets can often be tight, so sometimes it is easier for an organization to give in-kind support or volunteer support than money. Be creative in thinking about how you can meet your event’s needs. Examples of things that can be asked for as in-kind donations: meeting space, food and beverages, bicycles and home stays for out of town guests, printing, flier design, publicity via local media, A/V materials… Also consider all the ways that volunteers could lend a hand: publicity and flier distribution, set up, registration, clean up, food preparation, A/V expertise, transporting equipment, etc.
When soliciting funding, keep in mind that Bicicultures has no status as a 501(c)3 nonprofit. We are simply an informal network. You may consider partnering with a local nonprofit to see if they would be willing to sponsor the event and act as the recipient of any donations, thus make them tax-deductible for the donor.
Below are just a few organizations to consider for partnership in a local event:
- Colleges and Universities. See if they have any research programs or departments who might be invested in bicycling research. Also consider looking into programs or initiatives with an emphasis on issues of equity or social justice, or issues of race and gender. Departments with an emphasis on sustainability or environmentalism may also have potential. Student groups can also be a valuable tie-in. Having a supportive partner within the institution is usually helpful and/or necessary.
- Local bicycle advocacy groups. Connect with immediately local advocacy networks and advocacy groups in nearby cities. They can be potentially helpful in publicity, volunteering, ideas, and funding.
- City Offices. Connect with your local bicycle/active transportation city staff person, if your city has one. If not, try for other city offices such as transportation or public relations. Regardless, work to connect with diverse city offices and officials to garner any support they can provide.
- Elected Officials. Hosting such an event can help to build goodwill with local government leaders as well, so get in touch with the mayor’s office, local councilpersons, etc. They may also know of other supportive organizations.
- Local bike shops/businesses. Inform local bike shops and bike-friendly businesses of your event. They may be willing to sponsor in some capacity via cash or in-kind donations.
- Recreational bicycling clubs. Local road or mountain biking clubs often also wish to support local advocacy work, and exemplify one of the many cultures of bicycling. Such clubs usually have large memberships and can be good resources for your event.
- Other local bike projects. These can include DIY bike projects, youth bike projects, grassroots organizations, informal networks of riders, social rides, etc.
- Grassroots organizations and other nonprofits. Depending on the emphasis of your local event, it will make sense to reach out to various other local organizations. Think carefully and creatively about who might be interested and invested in your issues and concerns.
- Community leaders. Remember to consider productive ways to include more informal community leaders in your planning and funding process.
More details will continue to be posted here, but in the meantime, if you have questions, get in touch!