What can I (or we) do to help?
There are plenty of ways to contribute to the cause of cycling, of course. In cities that experience long, wet, cold or dark winters, it is especially helpful to have more individuals and organizations with a deepening understanding of the systematic barriers that exist and the solutions that work best: the who, what, where and why of cycling in the winter. After all, sometimes even the strongest advocates and most experienced engineers appear to forget that cycling is not relegated to beautiful sunny days in June.
Think winter
So, whether you embed the thinking directly into detailed designs yourself or you are giving your local street engineer advice, there are always ways to "think winter". You can help everyone simply by becoming familiar with the many examples where winter cycling is normalized or growing, read up about winter-specific maintenance/design practices and share. We are here to help. (Shameless plug: becoming a member is a great way to support our work and to help us help you.)
Spread the word
However you get your info, spreading the message that winter cycling is for everyone does make a difference. In the decade in which we have been operating, we have seen dramatic shifts in how we talk about the issue of cycling year round. It has been a decentralized and powerful group effort. You may be a private citizen who considers themselves an advocate and is a member of a local cycling advocacy group. In that case, staying tuned to our social media is one great way to stay informed so that you can create or amplify powerful messages. When something needs to get built, or something needs to change, there is no end to interesting detailed design considerations to learn about that will be of interest to the public and the powers-that-be. Every step along the way, there are people helping move society forward in more ways than we can measure.
Make the right decisions
You may even be in a position of authority right now — someone with the power to make important decisions that directly influence policy or construction or operating procedures. In that case, we offer you an opportunity to connect on some of the details, draw inspiration and gain colleagues all over the world. You can be a part of it by telling that story.
Show the beauty of winter
We believe there is an important role for people in the arts and the humanities to play too. Winter, after all, sometimes has a "PR problem". Some people still think of cold weather as "bad weather". Some see snow or rain as a nuisance. This is a challenge but also an opportunity — one in which great communicators have made a big difference. We love seeing efforts that explore the inherent beauty and enabling characteristics of winter. From animation contests about winter cycling, to paintings, to blog posts about skiing — it all helps human beings unpack our biases. One image can have a deep impact on how we feel about being outside. After all, connecting with nature is in our bones as human beings. So whether you are a writer, filmmaker or a collage artist, we urge you to recognize that communication and inspiration matter.
Science and research matters too. We make it our business to find and disseminate any research into this topic we can find. What started as a trickle a decade ago can now fill an entire conference and then some. This is why we love sharing and inspiring research in the health and social science sectors. You will find our feeds and conferences often delve into issues of mental health, psychology, equity, ethics and science in order to better understand the uniqueness of winter and transport. If you are a professor of urban planning or public health, for example, why not dive into a fascinating subject and let us know?