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Commute By Bike: Josh Lipton and Ted Johnson

How do you talk to a Conservative about the benefits of cycling?

Don’t start by talking about the end of fossil fuels, climate change and transportation choices. Instead Josh Lipton and Ted Johnson invited a guest columnist to discuss the way to begin this dialog — the rest is history. “How to talk to a conservative about cycling,” is a modern classic, you’ll find it on Commute by Bike, where Ted Johnson moderates the discussion.

Ted and Josh are eCommerce gurus; they’ve got several niche websites, like bikeTrailerShop, bikeKidShop and others. They’re actively blogging to enhance their brand and drive traffic to their sites.

Ted’s post contributed to the eventual removal of this sign in Corona del Mar.

But it’s summer and time for a little time off, so Ted visits Colorado for a little vacation and once again proves there is no vacation for bloggers; he starts observing signs in the different towns, signs that discourage cycling. When he returns home and assembles all the photos into a post, he ends by asking, “How does your town say ‘No Bicycles’?” It was a question that resonated with many of his followers. You can blame Ted for the removal of the Fernleaf Ave sign.

So their business is growing and they’re capturing lots of mind-share in the blogosphere, but then an accounting error occurs and American Express yanks their line of credit on short notice. One strike and you’re out! They’re in a cash crunch.

Here’s a growing small business with great prospects for the future in a community that supports them, but they are strung out over cash flow.

It’s an all too common problem for young entrepreneurs.

How will they pay off their line of credit while they desperately seek another source?

Josh Lipton and Ted Johnson

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This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. Absolutely. Eco-Soldiers don’t need to be convinced about the benefits of cycling. It’s the Anti-Eco-Soldiers, the Global-Warming Opponents, and the business minded Conservatives that need to be convinced.

    As a member of a local cycling advocacy group in Long Beach (http://www.BikeableCommunities.org) I strongly advocate that one never argue the merits of cycling but only advocate a concern for safety. Only a fool would argue against saving lives and preventing damage to property: it’s practically unAmerican to argue against these objectives. Increasing safety for cyclists protects everyone: cyclists, motorists and pedestrians.

    My personal cycling advocacy mantra: “It’s all about the safety stoopid.” You can’t justify expenditures from the public coffers for expanded bicycle infrastructure based on issues such as a savings in CO2 output, or decreased oil dependence, etc. The resulting numbers are so negligible [in the short term], no one in their right fiscal state of mind would rationalize expenditures based on these arguments.

    Consider this: If every single American stopped driving [personal use: errands, work, etc.] the U.S. would decrease its total CO2 output by approx. 10%. Every single American. Ten percent. Pretty paltry savings for the actual number of drivers that could be convinced to give up their cars for a portion or even all of their personal driving needs.

    Amory Lovins of The Rocky Mountain Institute [http://www.rmi.org/rmi/] is a major environmentalist, on a global scale, and never uses environmental issues to persuade companies to be green. He show companies how they can save money and be green at the same time. The goal is not a green environment but green in the bank. Yes, that’s how you talk to a conservative.

    I suggest everyone read the book, Pedaling Revolution by Jeff Mapes; he provides lots of numbers that show an increase in cycling is good for local business. Improving local business is good for everyone.

    Safety first. More Liveable Communities later.

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