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HER Helmet Thursdays, Part II

Year-round, people love Bicycling Monterey County. And the HER Helmet Thursdays Project is adding to the reasons why.

May 31, 2011 update:  Also see the “All Participants–and FAQs” page.

New Year’s Day 2010 update:

HER Helmet Thursdays was launched Thanksgiving Week 2009.  Want the history? Refer to four posts:

  1. Introducing HER Helmet Thursdays:  An Ecology-Economy Partnership (11/24)
  2. [This post] HER Helmet Thursdays, Part II – Frequently asked questions (12/5)
  3. You’re a Big Girl, Now—Hey, HER Helmet Thursdays Is for Boys Too! – The quick response of community leaders (12/16)
  4. HER Helmet Thursdays:  Ecology-Economy Leaders – Charter participants, 12/24 (with detailed list, updated thereafter)

Earth Day 2010 update:

Want tips on schedules and stamina, estimating arrival time, additional route tips, and more?  See “Partner Up.”

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HER Helmet Thursdays, Part II

Does “HER” refer to girls and women?

No, this project includes both male and female cyclists. HER refers to Mother Earth, who benefits from more people cycling!  And it is also an acronym for the  H-E-R businesses and organizations who are in the project.  Please read on to learn more about H-E-R.

First, what’s the goal here?

HER Helmet Thursdays is a sister project to Tips for Tourists Bicycling Monterey County, the free, comprehensive online visitors guide.  Both are community service projects, whose purpose is to support the goal of many Monterey County municipal, business, and other leaders to make our county one of the most bicycling-friendly places in America!  Progress toward that goal benefits both our ecology and economy.

For locals and tourists

Many local leaders recognize the value in making this a more bicycling-friendly destination for tourists and a more bicycling-friendly place for local residents.  (For evidence, see “Bicycling Reports to Scottish Parliament and Monterey City Council.“)

Tourists planning trips often hear about the bikeways in Monterey County, including the 18-mile Monterey Bay Coastal Trail that stretches from Castroville to Pacific Grove.  Even in winter, many arrive from colder climates and appreciate our milder temperatures.  They find biking here a great pleasure year-round. (Although winter is our rainy season, we still get a lot of beautiful winter days without rain.)

It is not for visitors alone, but also for and among local residents that there is keen interest in making our home the most bicycling friendly place it can be.  People here bike to just about anywhere, from church to the pool hall.  Many bike to classes and activities, to do errands or shopping, to meet friends for lunch or a client for coffee, or just to savor the great outdoors.

Partnerships for a more bicycling friendly county

Since there’s growing interest in making MoCo more bicycling friendly, how does one do it?  One doesn’t!  Seriously, no one person can make this happen, but a widespread community commitment can.  That means not just municipal leaders or environmental groups, but business leaders and other organizational leaders too.

Business leaders and those heading up other organizations are stepping up to the plate, and now in a new way:  by participating in HER Helmet Thursdays. The project was launched Thanksgiving week, and many charter participants have expressed not just a willingness to participate, but great excitement and enthusiasm about this opportunity to support bicycling here.

So, what exactly is this project?

HER Helmet Thursdays is an ecology-economy partnership. It meansHotels, Educational attractions and Entertainment venues, and Restaurants encourage bicycling by giving a discount to cyclists on Thursdays. And why Helmet”? Walking in with a bike helmet is simply the way to show you’re bicycling!  Lodging places have special options, outlined below.

What good does that do?

A lot! HER Helmet Thursdays works in a practical, tangible way.  Participating businesses/organizations help make this a more bicycling friendly place—for both locals and visitors—when they put out a special “welcome mat” (discount) for cyclists on Thursdays.

As a result, they increase the number of people who bike here.  Good things happen, like a reduction in vehicle traffic and carbon footprints, benefiting everyone.  And health improvements for those cycling, such as better cardio fitness and higher endorphin levels (think joy!). People slow down and connect with one another and with their surroundings more.  And they feel better. Those are only a few of the benefits.

And of course, there’s the economic benefit of introducing new customers/guests who are motivated to get out and cycle to these spots every Thursday.  As the program builds, it will help attract new tourist attention to the increasingly bicycling friendly nature of Monterey County.  And that means drawing new visitors who are looking for cool places to go, and new reasons to go there!

How long will the program continue?

HER Helmet Thursdays was established to help with long-term sustainability of the ecology and the economy. You may read more in the11/24/09 post.

The intention for HER Helmet Thursdays is that it be built on relationships, expand steadily, and continue long into the future. This isn’t a quick-start, short-term discount promotion.

The discount offers from charter participants listed below are effective immediately. There is no end-date scheduled.  Think of the great law of the Iroquois: In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations. The project goals of sustaining the environment and the economy  are long term goals.

May I take your helmet, Sir? Appropriate attire in elegant settings.

See “Bike to elegant venues, including fine dining establishments.”

 

Do you have to bike to MoCo for a lodging discount?

No.  It’s certainly an option, but no one has to bike all the way to Monterey County for a lodging discount!  Instead, just BYOB (bring your own bicycle) or rent a bike for one day or longer from any MoCo bicycle rental location.  See specific details at “How to Get a Lodging Discount.”

What about bike storage while lodging?

  • For visitors renting a bike for one day:  they’ll likely be returning it to the bike shop before night.
  • For visitors who brought their own bikes, or are renting for two or more days:  some will want to lock them up inside their vehicle; others will be comfortable locking them outdoors on their vehicle’s bike rack.  Both these options are not necessarily recommended for bike security.
  • For bike security, virtually all lodging providers have some option for overnight bike storage.  Just ask!  You may be surprised to learn that many lodging businesses have their own on-site bicycle storage lockers or storage rooms already designated for bikes.
  • Please contact me if you anticipate a bike storage challenge; I’m happy to see what’s possible to resolve it.

Sweet! How can I help?

Inviting new participants personally is something I truly enjoy doing.  HER Helmet Thursdays is an ecology-economy partnership, intended to be built on relationships.  Reconnecting with people you already have relationships with, or forming new ones, is an important aspect of the project.

Personal invitations are a slower process than getting a mailing list and sending out letters randomly, but it is so much more pleasurable.  It’s fun to bike or walk around and connect in person with these people who are not only the core of our local economy, but at the heart of community life too.  Renewing these relationships or making new contacts out in the community is a delight.

Maybe you would also enjoy inviting new participants! For details on how to invite your personal favorites to participate or how to participate as a HER business or organization, please refer to the Introduction to HER Helmet Thursdays. Once there, check out the “How to participate” sections.  Or, just contact me.

If you’d like to know about other ways to help, please refer to Acknowledgments and Opportunities.

“Be it resolved…

that Monterey County be a more bicycling friendly place!”

With a new decade here, what a cool—and realistic—resolution:  take new steps to make Monterey County one of the most bicycling friendly places in the country.   There are so many ways that realizing this goal will have a positive impact on the lives of our visitors, and change local life here for the better!  Thank you for your interest and support.

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