2020 has been a doozy of a year and you’re not alone if you’re feeling compelled to give back this holiday season. Year’s end is the perfect occasion to reflect on what made a difference in your life and in your community, and giving back to causes important to you can help set 2021 off on better footing.
Here are some ways to give back this holiday season:
1. Support Your Local Bike Organizations
On the top of the list of ways to give back this holiday season is donating to your local bike advocacy organization. These organizations are the ones that are “on the ground” in your community and your contribution will probably result in changes that you can quickly see firsthand.
Bike advocacy organizations typically work with local governments to improve bike infrastructure and to make streets safer for alternative transportation like biking, micromobility, and pedestrians. Depending on where you live, these organizations may also incorporate educational programs to teach both kids and adults how to bike safely, advocate for changes to laws to permit e-scooters and e-bikes on city streets, or may even help maintain local recreational biking paths.
Bike East Bay celebrates new protected bike lane with ribbon cutting ceremony (article link)
Not sure what bike advocacy organizations exist in your area or region? Googling “[Your city] bike advocacy” should point you in the right direction. Alternatively, the League of American Bicyclists, the leading national bike advocacy organization, has a tool to search for local resources. Go to the League’s State and Local Advocacy resource page, and on the left side, type your zip code into the “Connect Locally” search bar.
For a shortlist of organizations that Po Campo has partnered with and stands by, check out: Transportation Alternatives in NYC, Active Transportation Alliance in Chicago, Washington Area Bicyclist Association in DC, The Street Trust in Portland, LA County Bicycle Coalition, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, and the Cascade Bicycle Club in Seattle.
2. Shop from a Company that Gives Back
As you put together your holiday shopping list, consider the charitable causes your loved ones care about and try to buy gifts from companies that support those same causes.
One shared experience of 2020 is of course the pandemic. We all recognize the sacrifice frontline and essential workers paid to keep things moving, and wanting to give back this holiday season is a common refrain. Earlier this year, Po Campo partnered with NYC’s Biking Public Project, to donate a portion of sales from our Breathable Face Masks to help them supply medical-grade masks to delivery cyclists.Fight Climate Change
If nothing else, keep an eye out for companies that are members of the 1% for the Planet initiative, which means they contribute 1% of sales to highly vetted environmental nonprofit organizations. Our friends Thousand Helmets, Safety Skin, and Portland Design Works are all members and are ready to give back this holiday season as well.
3. Volunteer With a Bike Club
I know what you’re thinking, how does volunteering with a bike club count as “giving back”? Aren’t bike clubs just for fun? In their purest sense, yes – but I’ve been actively volunteering with WE Bike NYC for years and have found the experience to be quite enriching. The club has given me some of my best friendships and adventures and giving back helps me perpetuate that for others.
We Bike NYC group photo
There are different bike clubs for different levels of riding. WE Bike focuses on social rides tailored to newer cyclists, making them welcoming to people just getting their footing on riding on city streets. But even clubs with more experienced cyclists often have rides and training programs. That joy you feel riding your bike? One way to give back is to pay it forward, and introduce more people to your favorite pastime.Build an inclusive community
Another way bike clubs give back is by creating safe spaces for people to ride together who are often underrepresented in more traditional biking groups. WE Bike, which is shorthand for Women’s Empowerment through Biking, invites all women, femme-identifying, and gender non-conforming to its rides. Similarly, Black Girls Do Bike clubs and WTF Bike Explorers create welcoming communities. Volunteering with these clubs helps them to continue to grow their reach, creating a more inclusive bike culture at the same time.
Feeling ready to start volunteering with a local club? Research clubs in your area and then contact them straight away to find out what they've got scheduled in the coming months and ask how you can get involved.
Now that I’ve given you some ways to give back this holiday season, what are you going to do? Let me know in the comments!
Have a wonderful holiday season.