Cycling Over Sixty

Love To Ride

May 17, 2024 Tom Butler Season 2 Episode 42
Love To Ride
Cycling Over Sixty
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Cycling Over Sixty
Love To Ride
May 17, 2024 Season 2 Episode 42
Tom Butler

Gear up for an inspiring episode! Tom Butler kicks things off with a story about a unique Mother's Day “cycling” trip. Then, he dives into his latest interest in his pursuit to explore ways to reverse metabolic dysfunction.

Tom welcomes Laura Cisneros from Love to Ride to the podcast. Laura shares the organization's mission to empower people to experience the joy of cycling. You'll also hear about Love to Ride's vision for improving bike infrastructure and a sneak peek at exciting new cycling technology.

Thanks for Joining Me! Follow and comment on Cycling Over Sixty on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cyclingoversixty/

Consider becoming a member of the Cycling Over Sixty Strava Club! www.strava.com/clubs/CyclingOverSixty

Please send comments, questions and especially content suggestions to me at tom.butler@teleiomedia.com

Show music is "Come On Out" by Dan Lebowitz. Find him here : lebomusic.com

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Gear up for an inspiring episode! Tom Butler kicks things off with a story about a unique Mother's Day “cycling” trip. Then, he dives into his latest interest in his pursuit to explore ways to reverse metabolic dysfunction.

Tom welcomes Laura Cisneros from Love to Ride to the podcast. Laura shares the organization's mission to empower people to experience the joy of cycling. You'll also hear about Love to Ride's vision for improving bike infrastructure and a sneak peek at exciting new cycling technology.

Thanks for Joining Me! Follow and comment on Cycling Over Sixty on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cyclingoversixty/

Consider becoming a member of the Cycling Over Sixty Strava Club! www.strava.com/clubs/CyclingOverSixty

Please send comments, questions and especially content suggestions to me at tom.butler@teleiomedia.com

Show music is "Come On Out" by Dan Lebowitz. Find him here : lebomusic.com

Tom Butler:

This is the Cycling Over 60 podcast, season 2, episode 42, love to Ride, and I'm your host, tom Butler. Welcome to my podcast, where I give updates on my progress as I use cycling to get and stay fit, and this is also the place where I share conversations I'm having about health and bikes and bike transportation and about anything else bike related I can think of. Before I share anything else, I want to announce that I'm going to do a group challenge in the Cycling Over 60 Strava Club. Want to announce that I'm going to do a group challenge in the Cycling Over 60 Strava Club. The challenge is to see how many miles we can ride as a group during the week of National Senior Health and Fitness Day. I'll be doing a random drawing for a $50 REI gift card for one club member who rides during the week of National Senior Health and Fitness Day and that falls on May 29th this year. I will be putting more information in a club post soon.

Tom Butler:

I had a fun experience on Mother's Day. I am used to cycling on a trail that used to be a railway, but on Mother's Day we took my wife to Rail Cycle, mount Rainier. At Rail Cycle you use a special rail cart that is fitted with four sets of cranks turned by pedals. You go out for a short 1.5 mile piece of track and then have a bit of time just hanging out as they turn the carts around for the return trip. You coast for most of the trip out, which of course means that you have to do some work. On the trip back, however, it was pretty easy going because it was only a slight grade. My only complaint was the seats were not very comfortable. I would rather be sitting on a bike saddle than in those seats, but it was a fun and unique way to see a little bit of countryside.

Tom Butler:

As I have often shared, I am wearing a continuous glucose monitor. The main thing this provides is an option for me to experiment with what causes a spike in my glucose levels. I still see this as a secondary indicator of how my body is functioning, but I do think it is helpful to monitor my blood sugar. Until I can do continuous insulin monitoring, it provides good data. Lately I've been seeing some high blood glucose at times when I shouldn't have much glucose on board at all, for example when I haven't eaten for more than 12 hours. So I am very, very curious about what contributes to this elevated glucose? I am okay with this elevated blood glucose if it is a result of burning fat, and that is because I believe my visceral fat stores are the major contributor to my metabolic dysfunction.

Tom Butler:

Now I have a new area of interest. I want to know more about glucagon. Briefly, glucagon is a counterbalancing hormone for insulin. If blood glucose gets too low, glucagon triggers gluconeogenesis. Now, if you want to know more of an explanation, you need to do a Google search on it. When you think about it, I spent years dumping large amounts of sugar into my body. If that activity can alter response to insulin what we call insulin resistance seems likely that I could have also altered the response to glucagon. With that in mind, I was able to find an article from four years ago that stated that the University of Copenhagen was just introducing the concept of glucagon resistance. Now I believe it would be helpful to not only be monitoring my insulin levels but also my glucagon levels as well, and I'll be trying to figure out how to do that. Regardless of those levels, however, I believe that continuing to reduce visceral fat ultimately is the course to return to normal insulin and glucagon function.

Tom Butler:

Now, once again, if any of you know an endocrinologist for me to bring on the podcast. I would love to discuss this with someone who really knows this stuff. As I've mentioned before, the scale is the only consistent way that I can monitor my visceral fat. It is a lousy way of doing it, but it is the only thing that I can do consistently. I am planning to do another DEXA scan soon to compare to what I had done last fall and again, this isn't a perfect assessment, but it is better than the scale.

Tom Butler:

My current weight situation is that I am stuck above 204 pounds. I still believe that getting under 190 pounds puts me at a place where I will significantly reduce visceral fat. For now, I have somewhat plateaued at 204. I know that it can be really frustrating to get stuck like this as a certain weight. However, for me, it's more fascinating than frustrating. Imagine the complexity of a biological system that can keep me above 204 pounds no matter what I am doing. Now that is pretty cool.

Tom Butler:

In the past, with the old calories in and calories out paradigm, the solution to being stuck would be to keep reducing calories until I broke through this plateau. However, I am moving away from that paradigm. My thinking has been permanently shaped by Richard Johnson's book titled Nature Wants Us to Be Fat. I spent 30 years adding fat every year. If nature wants me to be fat, my body must have loved those years, but now I'm asking it to undo all that fat accumulation. I expect that my body can get stuck along the way at certain weights, so I'm reversing years of fat accumulation. I am more interested in slowly breaking through these barriers than doing it quickly, because I believe quickly losing weight can cause some unsustainable conditions that I would regret later. So I am happy to see 204 day after day, believing it will eventually shift. At the same time, I will be experimenting with small modifications that I can do that might encourage my body to burn fat, resulting in lowering my weight. Most importantly, I will continue to try to repair my metabolism and increase my baseline metabolic rate so that, hopefully, I'm just slowly, over time, burning more fat on a 24-hour basis.

Tom Butler:

While I was looking around for National Bike Month events, I came across an organization called Love to Ride. Now that immediately struck me as a group of people I would like to hang out with. If you go to their website, you're greeted by a bunch of very fun and inspiring content, and I was intrigued that Love to Ride is partnering with the League of American Bicyclists on the Bike Month Challenge. When I reached out to ask if someone would come on the podcast, I got a very enthusiastic response, and I'm glad to say that Laura Cisneros joined me for a great discussion. I hate to say it, but my audio was messed up again. If you're curious, when I did the interview, I was recording my voice from the wrong microphone. I don't have anything that alerts me when I make this mistake, so I'll just have to be more careful in the future. Fortunately, laura sounds great, and that is the most important part. Anyway, here we go. When you are a part of an organization called Love to Ride, you're somebody that I know I want to talk to.

Laura Cisneros:

Thank you, Laura.

Tom Butler:

Cisneros, for joining me today.

Laura Cisneros:

Absolutely. I'm excited to talk with you.

Tom Butler:

Can you start out by talking about your relationship with cycling?

Laura Cisneros:

Well, I'm going to date myself. You know, my first bike I got when I was six and it was a Stingray Deluxe. It was blue, banana seat and all all and it had little tassels hanging off the handlebars and my little rubberized grips. And my sister got a big orange one and I got this blue one. She didn't have a stingray, I can't remember what she had. So it was just part of growing up.

Laura Cisneros:

I'm a kid of the 70s and so I mean you didn't come in the house unless you were bleeding, right. You got on your bike at the start of the day and you were gone eating somebody else's food and somebody else's kitchen up until it was time to get your butt in bed. So I kind of grew up on a bike and then when I came to UT, to go to University of Texas here in Austin, you know I lived on West Campus and I had a car but everything was so bikeable so I just got a. I don't even know where I got this bike, I mean back in the day, I just don't even remember I probably picked it up at Goodwill or something like that and I rode it all over the place.

Laura Cisneros:

We rode it, you know, all the way from West Campus out to the Broken Spoke, where we'd go two-stepping. And you know, all the way from West Campus out to the Broken Spoke, where we go two-stepping, and you know, then ride it all the way back and then over time, you know I've lived in Central Austin almost all my life and you know it just is an easy way to get around. And you know I'd take business meetings on my bike, you know, in the late 90s and it's just been part of my life. It's so, you know, integrated into the way I use the world. So that's kind of my history with bikes.

Tom Butler:

It sounds like Austin is a pretty bike-friendly city. Would you agree with that?

Laura Cisneros:

I'd agree with that in part, and certainly we're getting better. I mean, we passed a number of mobility bonds and we've got recent green lights from city council to update the urban trails and bike plan. That's gonna add an excess of 800, I think what's the last. Let's see 805 miles of planned biking infrastructure and it really does depend on where you are in town. There's a lot, you know, from the more affluent areas. There's a lot more infrastructure protected infrastructure coming from the more affluent areas coming downtown than there are in the east side of the city. We've got more paint and bollards than we do protected bikeways over here, but it's coming. There's huge investments going into our trail networks.

Laura Cisneros:

You can't swing a dead cat without hitting a great bike trail anywhere around the city, whether it's in the urban areas for athletic riding or if you're doing recreational or mountain bike riding out on Walnut Creek. There's just a lot of riding to be done around here. So it's a beautiful scene and it is getting safer, which is the great news, right For accomplished cyclists or people that have been out there for a while, like I have. I don't love riding in traffic, but I will own the road when I need to to be safe. But, yeah, protected bikeways are definitely coming in. So I applaud the City of Austin folks and Laura Dierenfeld, who's really done the hard work of driving this change forward for decades. So it's just been a lot of work, but yeah, things are going great. We've got a thriving bike community here just a massive bike community here.

Tom Butler:

Isn't there something culturally about Austin that makes that community thrive?

Laura Cisneros:

Yeah, I think there are a couple things. So back in the day we had these amazing critical mass rides that were hundreds and hundreds. Now they were largely unruly in the 80s. I remember going to South by Southwest on bikes, like back in the day. That was the way you did all the gigs and you'd be in line next to Steve Earl or you know who knows who, with your bike lock in your hand or you know. It was just how you got around.

Laura Cisneros:

But the scene was certainly fostered out of the young people going to college here. The UT is at the center of the city of Austin and so you had a lot of young people living on the east side or living on the west side who just rode their bikes into campus. So that was part of the milieu. And then musicians didn't have any money, they were all riding bikes. I mean tattoo artists, artists in general, this huge art scene.

Laura Cisneros:

So there's just a kind of counterculture element to Austin that aligns with kind of the sub political tendencies, if you will, or sub political, if you will tendencies to biking. So, yeah, that that made for a great scene. And today social cycling is an incredible group. They started in around 2010, I think, and they have put together a powerful program. They run about seven rides a week. They've got rides that are for new riders, they've got exclusive fem rides so women can feel comfortable in the riding groups, and then you have, you know, the whole other half of the scene, which is the athletic cycling core Like it's a crazy scene here in Austin. So there's just a lot going on and it's super friendly. That's the other part of it. That I think is really great is the bike scene around here is just so friendly, good people.

Tom Butler:

One of the things about doing this podcast is that I'm just constantly hearing about places where I want to go ride my bike.

Laura Cisneros:

I'm adding Austin to that list now. Oh yeah, definitely.

Tom Butler:

Love to Ride is just an awesome name, you know. I wonder if you could talk a bit about the history of where Love to Ride came from.

Laura Cisneros:

Yeah, actually the company was founded out of the Department of Transportation in New Zealand, part of their TDM program, which is Transportation Demand Management, and this was over a decade ago. Our CEO and founder, thomas Stoeckle, is from New Zealand and worked on that project and basically they were charged with using technology and behavior change methodology to induce active mode shift, principally biking, and so that involved creating challenges like community challenges, like the one that we do in partnership with the league every year bike month, national bike month and these challenges were, all you know, were designed with gamification that spurred the growth in ridership, and I can talk a little bit more about it. But the company is now in. You know we're in 13 countries, hundreds of cities around the world, and we work with government or, you know, large organizations, governments at the local and regional and state levels to put on our programs, which include kind of a virtuous circle, if you will, of services and features. We engage people with our campaigns. Once people are engaged, they register on a website that we geofenced for the region we're working in. Once they register, they fill out a brief survey that gives us some intentional information about how they view biking, the concerns they have. They provide us with ethnicity information and demographics. All of this becomes important later and then, once they start riding, we've now got a profile of who these people are and we can understand what kind of behavior change messages to use for them to get them to cycle more frequently. If somebody has a health concern that they're trying to address, we might send them information about how 30 minutes of riding can reduce blood glucose levels by 16%. So I mean those kinds of things.

Laura Cisneros:

After you know, the program was initiated in New Zealand. That program at the time was called Challenge for Change. That program at the time was called Challenge for Change when Thomas left the Department of Transportation and started the new company. The new company was named Love to Ride. We agree, it's a great name, a great brand. Everybody loves to ride. It's a friendly brand. The design of our band was very conscious to be inclusive and non-alienating. We didn't want it to be very. It doesn't look like a super macho, competitive brand and because of that we have people from all walks of life that participate in our programs around the world.

Tom Butler:

For me, I love to ride, I love to go for a bike ride. Recently I went out and we took over a bridge in Seattle. That was just such a fun experience to be out. There's this kind of scientific way of augmenting that love to ride with some things. That kind of can maybe counteract kind of the social impediments to writing when I say that you know like there's time constraints and there's all these kind of things that are built in to our culture and you almost need to give yourself permission to love to ride.

Laura Cisneros:

That was exactly what I was going to say, and I think that's so well put. One of the ways that our behavior change programs work is inviting people to ride first for just 10 minutes, because 10 minutes is all it takes for your brain to map fun. It doesn't take any longer than that. If you'd written in the past. Right, like all of your, your memories get recycled. You start remembering how it feels to ride a bike, the freedom that you feel when you ride a bike, the joy that it inspires. All this, you know the sensory input, the wind, all of it, the feel of the handles on your hands. It is just enough to get people to say, hey, you know what? That was pretty good, I can do it again.

Laura Cisneros:

So we, we really work on encouraging these baby steps of behavior change just to get people get their beak wet, as it were. Right, just to try a little bit. And then we're like ah, the first one's free, go on another ride. Okay, go on another ride. Oh, actually go to have coffee on your bike. And then, oh, go to work or go to a meeting on your bike, slowly introducing people to these concepts while reminding them of the benefits that they're looking for they care about the environment, they care about their air quality, they care about the future of their children, they care about their own health, and meanwhile, what they get is they start feeling like they're a part of this community, and it's exhilarating. You'd start understanding your city differently, and that whole experience is resonant. Yeah, it's powerful and behavior change is the key. We also use gamification during our challenges.

Tom Butler:

I recently interviewed someone a few weeks ago, maybe a month ago from University of Pennsylvania's Change for Good initiative and I think that there's so many powerful things that can be put in, and gamification being one of those that can help people start on that path of doing something new. Now it is May and celebrating National Bike Month on the Cycling with 60 podcast, and you have a partnership with you mentioned with the League of American Bicyclists. Can you talk a bit about that relationship and the mission of that collaboration?

Laura Cisneros:

Sure. So we have been working with the League of American Bicyclists for a while now and I want to say at least 2018. Back in 2018, we initially sponsored what was the National Bike Challenge, which was a five month biking shenanigans, honestly, from May through September and gradually as they went on to focus on bike month. You know our collaboration with them has changed over the years and you know, really developed, has changed over the years and really developed. Part of the ways in which it's been shaped is because we have developed some very important what we think is groundbreaking technology when it's put together with the other behavior change programs and the demographic information that we have, and that is the development of our new app. So Love to Ride purchased some technology nearly three years ago and over these last three years we've really worked very hard to stabilize a automatic mode detection bike app. So this means no start and stop concerned with bike planning in the cities, because what we know is that, even though most people that track their rides use Strava or MapMyRide majority using Strava and on the athletic side ride with GPS but what we know about both of those is that start button doesn't get started unless you're going on a ride greater than 10 miles. We know that now because we've actually in our test markets, where we've launched Love to Ride after being in market for over a year under Strava, we can see the delta of the trips that we're getting. Now we're getting 11 times the biking data on the Love to Ride app and almost all of that is under seven miles. So this is an extraordinary moment in biking for us and, we think, with the league, because what this biking data will do is one. We know that we're going to get more of it and we know that as a non-strava app, we're going to be more. We already have a broad base of appeal 55% of new riders on the platform are women. That's significant and with this app, one of the features that we also developed was a comfort rating feature, and this is designed to the LTS standard. So there's four levels of traffic stress and basically, at the terminus of your ride, you get a little innocuous pop-up that says, hey, you want to make biking better in your community? Just use this little finger paint and paint how you felt on each piece of the network that you rode on down to 10 meters. So planners will be able to use this and get real community feedback in real time, not a survey, not some eco counter that's out there trying to, or some manual survey or community survey telling them what their riding experience is. This is real people, real time reporting on real roads and how they feel about that.

Laura Cisneros:

The other really exciting thing about this and this goes back to kind of the survey data that we take at the front end of registration on Love to Ride is that we collect this demographic information and this ethnicity information, so now planners can prioritize investment based on population. Where do African-American women between 35 and 45 feel uncomfortable on our biking network? Where do overnight workers, people that work from midnight to 5 am, feel uncomfortable on this network? That kind of diagnostic tool we are incredibly excited about, and so that takes us to Make Every Ride Count.

Laura Cisneros:

So the Make Every Ride Count initiative is the initiative that we launched with the League for Bike Month this year. The initiative is all designed to get everyone everywhere to download the Love to Ride app and rate their infrastructure. This bike month, we want to get as much infrastructure, as many segments, rated as possible across the United States, and then, once this is done, we will announce the release of a comfort map, which will be publicly available, where people can go and look at their community and see how they're in the aggregate. They won't get these demographic filters those go to our paid clients in the regions. They won't get these demographic filters those go to our paid clients in the regions. But they'll get to see in aggregate what the experience is like for real people riding on the infrastructure in your community. So that's what Make Every Ride Count is. The mission is to let people's voices be heard about the infrastructure situation in their cities so that planners can improve and respond to the community in kind.

Tom Butler:

That's fantastic, I mean, and you talk about 11 times more data.

Laura Cisneros:

It's unbelievable, Like when you look in our community. When you look in our community, in this, in the test communities where we've been for a year, where the app has been out for a year, it's 11 times. It's 11 times, not 11%. I remember looking at it the first time I was like what? And almost all of them the graph is very clear Almost all of that 70, I think it's like 74% of those rides are under six miles. That's urban riding.

Laura Cisneros:

That needs to be, you know, needs to be analyzed for future bike plans or bike plan updates and you know, and certainly from a safety perspective and a vision zero perspective, we need to know where these uncomfortable areas are. Future development on this app, just FYI, is you'll actually have a why on your comfort level, so you can select from a dropdown of what made you uncomfortable. Is you'll actually have a why on your comfort level, so you can select from a dropdown of what made you uncomfortable and you'll be able to select multiple choices. Or, conversely, if it was really comfortable, what made it really comfortable? Oh, my god, the tree cover was amazing, Like it was so pretty, or whatever it is Because those whys will further help planners deduce, like you know, what's the value of placing some infrastructure here and what does that infrastructure intervention look like? So just super exciting stuff.

Tom Butler:

What hits me about that is, I've become a believer that there's a couple groups that I think are important as far as getting the future of cycling infrastructure to move forward, and one of those is kids. You know that kids have a safe place to ride. And then the other one, I think, is like older people who want to jump on a bike and go to the market, and so I think both of those you know kids riding to school, for example, someone older that's not getting dressed up like I would dress up to go out for a workout, just getting on the bike and going to the market those are probably under 10 miles, and so those need to be logged, and then the whole element of that needs to be comfortable 100% and, like you know, for us.

Laura Cisneros:

You know I see a future where we'll partner with AARP and share with them. Hey, this is here's the riding population over 65, or even over 55. And this is how their experience of their environments are in these key markets. You know we need to lobby for policy changes, to advocate for, you know, their improved experience right, we want the world. You know the all ages, all ability world, from eight to 80. We want that world. We need that world for all the reasons. You know it's our ambition, it's our hope, it's our sincere mission to help fulfill the promise of biking as a climate mediator or mitigator and population health accelerant. Right, that's our aim.

Tom Butler:

We're talking about so many interesting things here. There's just so many rabbit holes. I could go down One of those things that I want you to talk a little bit more. You talk about geofencing and I'm wondering if and maybe this is difficult to answer is there a huge difference in different areas as far as biking culture is concerned?

Laura Cisneros:

Absolutely. There's not a market that I'm responsible for partnerships and sales in North America and I you know of the regional deals of this, this small city deals, of the state deals. Every one of these, I can tell you, is very different from state to state and from community to community. There are similarities and more progressive states. For sure. You know where you've got a more progressive state, you've got a more, a less cynical, rather, program manager or planner who sees the way to actually cutting in and making some inroads for safer infrastructure. From a biking culture perspective, you have communities that you know we'll go into. Like you know, when we started in Atlanta years ago you could not say that Atlanta was a biking city. Now, a lot of things happened in Atlanta, including the Beltline. There was a lot of stuff that happened, but Love to Ride has been in that market, encouraging employers and encouraging riders to ride. Part of our kind of secret sauce is our employer engagement work that we do.

Tom Butler:

That's wonderful. You mentioned gamification, and one of the things that I got, you know, really drawn into was the bike month challenge, and I think that's an example of something you mentioned, that it's maybe one of the first things that you did for bike month. I don't know if that's the right statement, but it's. It's like one of those. It sounds like one of those features that has really been there for a while this bike month challenge. So can you talk about that?

Laura Cisneros:

Sure, yeah. So if you think about Love to Ride I mentioned this before we operate as a complete biking transportation platform and as such, we have this virtuous circle. So the first part of the work that we do is engagement, and we engage people. We set up this Love to Ride San Jose website. It is consumer facing, so it has all the activity of everybody riding and posting pictures and telling stories about their bike ride. It has aggregate stats for total miles traveled, total transportation trips, total carbon mitigate or total GHG mitigation by those transportation purposes bike rides. And then, in addition to that, every individual within that community has a profile, including businesses.

Laura Cisneros:

So when Love to Ride goes into a community, we bring this whole website and then we bring in challenges, campaigns, community-wide events. The community-wide event is important for one reason, and I'll say it like this. It's a line my sister gave me a long time ago, but it's really true A culture is defined by what it refuses to tolerate and what it chooses to celebrate, and so engaging community challenges are not fluffy, they are serious work. If we want to change the culture, we have to celebrate in the direction of the culture we want to. You know where we want to be as a culture going forward. So these biking campaigns are designed as month-long programs. We do two big campaigns per year one in May, which is bike month, and then one in either September or, if you're in California, by October, because everybody in California likes by October. They're both what we call workplace challenges, which means that there are leaderboards for businesses to become engaged. And this is really important because what happens is part of the gamification piece. The workplace is part of the gamification piece. The workplace is part of the gamification feature because it is very easy. One leaderboards really do get other businesses competing against other businesses. They saw that Acme bricks registered, so Savannah cement is going to register and ride right.

Laura Cisneros:

The other thing that happens is, once that happens, then you're always going to have at least one cycling fiend within an organization. We call them are. You know they evangelize for us inside, but then they also see the gamification piece of that, which is these encourager points. So during bike month, employers and individuals basically ride as frequently as they can. Days matter, number of rides, number of trips, mileage also does matter in total points, and then organizations for the total number it would depend.

Laura Cisneros:

Sometimes we do it by a percentage percentage of employees that register and ride. So that means that people within the organization are like we need to get Joe from marketing, get his button on a bike and ride because we're behind 10 points, you know, against this other company or whatever it is. So it really stimulates inter office kind of cajoling. And so what happens as a result of having businesses involved in things like Bike Month is that you get more participation. You not only get more participation, you know across the board, you get more community engagement. Right, you've got more businesses, there's more eyeballs on it, there's more bike month celebrations, et cetera. So it helps amplify, you know, this cycling event which is bike month and then Cycle September and Biketober are also workplace challenges, but they are a little bit different in that they are geared more toward carbon mitigation and ideas around sustainability.

Tom Butler:

You talk about celebrating and what you celebrate. I think it's really cool that in California, there is for bike month and this is with the Bay Area Bike Everywhere Days there's this celebration of bike champions, and I think that that's an example. Each county has their bike champion. I think that's an example of celebrating the people that are leading to the future.

Laura Cisneros:

That's exactly right, and we are talking about culture. This is not, you know, this isn't, you know, some government edict. People have to change and you have to create and foster an environment for that to happen. It has to be possible in their minds, right? And the only way we get to normalization is through kind of this cultural ruse. On the front end, right, we're just, you know, doing this thing, but if you start believing it, you're really doing the thing, and then, before you know it, you've become a biking community and it's all of these things, you know, it's this social feedback that businesses get into when they start, really, you know, getting in there and participating. It's, you know, creating bonds across communities through teams and things like that. Yeah, it's, it's, it's super powerful.

Laura Cisneros:

The challenges are very powerful and, of course, then, once people are participating, they're generating a lot of data for us, right, they're generating a lot of data Caveat with the data. We do not sell data to third parties, nor do we ingest third party data, so we don't use any big data. Our data is high provenance and it's completely anonymized, so we never share anybody's public data, but the data that we do collect while people are participating in these challenges are so helpful to making biking safer, more accessible, more connected in these communities. So when I say we're a virtuous circle, it's like we've got this engagement, we've got this training and education, we've got, you know, incentives, and then we've got data collection to help support safer infrastructure. So it's just this beautiful kind of virtuous circle that these programs enable.

Tom Butler:

Part of that, the value of that data is having someone that's in a position to recommend changes, to value that data and then have them be able to package that and take it to the legislative bodies, the decision makers at that level, to make change. Do you feel like we have a lot to learn about what moves city, county, state, whatever leadership, to make changes in infrastructure, or do you think we kind of know what are the motivators at the political level?

Laura Cisneros:

It's a nuanced answer, but so, again, every community, every state has a different kind of political environment that they're working within.

Laura Cisneros:

Right, and add to funding a very large laundry list of things for departments, politicians, creators of policy, departments of transportation, planners and program managers. Provides them with the information directly from the community about how they feel about biking in their community. That provides support, both political support and organizational support, leadership support to make decisions, to support safer biking infrastructure, to prioritize that infrastructure, to ask for more money for that infrastructure, to address specific populations who are maybe, you know, really not being heard. Based on, you know, with the ability to filter comfort ratings, for example, by population, it allows you to isolate population, make sure you're doing the most on mobility, justice, and so all of that can support the politics, the policy writing, the planning and the results. That's why it's so important and that's why it's so thrilling that we're collecting so much more on urban riding, which is where the money needs to be spent. We've got to improve our urban infrastructures If we are going to get more people riding bikes from a mode shift perspective. That's where the money needs to go.

Tom Butler:

I feel really fortunate. I live in a state Our governor right now he's leaving, but our governor is a cyclist and he has spoken at Cascade Bicycle Club and he was recognized by the Rails to Trails Conservancy. You know he's an advocate for bicycling and we just recently had the Kaskade Bicycle Club, had their fundraiser and a county council member spoke who was a cyclist and a commuter and so having that leadership seems to be really important and actually keeping the pressure on, I guess you know kind of keeping some energy behind moving in the right direction.

Laura Cisneros:

Yeah, I can't speak enough to the value of having people of leadership in that, in promoting biking and promoting safer infrastructure and modes for all. You know just like it is so important that you have that.

Tom Butler:

You have a quote learn section on your website and can you share the impact that you hope to make with the content there the learning content, the educational content?

Laura Cisneros:

Right? Well, some interesting news on all of our bike safety education. One is later this year we will be push notifying. If you say, hey, I want bike safety education, we're going to start pushing bike safety quizzes out to our riders on the platform. Those will be incentivized. So if you complete your bike safety course, you go into a prize drawing, right. And so every week we'll have some kind of prize. It's nationals, but still it's incentivized, right.

Laura Cisneros:

So a lot of that content will be reworked into these bike safety quizzes that are about eight questions long. They're very quick. Some of that content we will also kind of regurgitate into videos, so those videos can also be selected while you're on the app to just review. And then, in addition to that, one of the things that we've started toying with in a program in Florida was pushing, doing email pushes of bike safety education. And then on the back end, what we have is we actually can report on who's taken bike safety courses, what courses they've taken, who they are from a demographic perspective, where they're located, from a zip code perspective, so we can start tuning you know, offerings, or from a bike program perspective. If you're an advocacy organization, you can start understanding, oh, in 78723,. They're doing a lot of helmet safety courses and the demographic here is X and the age is Y, so maybe we want to do some pop-ups there or a bike rodeo or whatever it might be. So we hope to do a lot more with that content.

Tom Butler:

There's this growing attention towards Vision Zero and I'm wondering if Love to Ride there's a contribution that you feel you could make to achieving Vision Zero for cyclists?

Laura Cisneros:

100% the app as it's currently released, right now, with the comfort rating feature. Of course. What we want to do is provide the comfort rating maps to planners so that they can see where the hotspots are, identify. These are really problem areas. They're problem areas across all demographics. They're problem areas across all ages. That's a problem. So to prioritize a hotspot investment is one of the ways in which we can apply value. And then the next layer of that, of course, is providing not only the comfort rating but the why behind the comfort rating.

Laura Cisneros:

You know there's no shoulder, you know cars are moving too fast, whatever it might be. And then what's coming on Love to Ride, from a product development standpoint, is that we are working right now on some technology. Well, I guess it's technology to help identify near misses by changes in acceleration and then also using a pin drop kind of tool that will allow people to identify, if they have the wherewithal to identify where they nearly were hit. So we're hoping those contributions, along with the contributions from other developers that are out there working on these problems, will help. One thing we can't do anything about is distracted drivers or reckless drivers. There's an epidemic in this country of reckless drivers going on. Right now I don't know how we solve that problem, but it's a national epidemic at this point that problem, but it's a national epidemic.

Tom Butler:

at this point, yeah, it seems like barriers are really, in some ways, the most important thing, just keeping traffic away from pedestrians and cyclists. What about e-bikes? Do you think about e-bikes? Is there a different need when it comes to e-bikes and the expansion of the number of people? I see a lot of older people, you know, using e-bikes. I plan on someday using pedal assist myself to stay up with my daughter and my son-in-law, and you know. So what do you guys think of when it comes to e-bikes?

Laura Cisneros:

Safety and safety among the younger demographic, gen Z and whatever comes after those people We've we've got a big safety concern. You know they're reckless by nature, that you know. Young people are reckless by nature Developmentally. They're all about risk-taking. This is the explore kind of option in the brain, got to test the limits, so it is just a. It's ripe for trouble.

Laura Cisneros:

So when we look at it and the way we're looking at it is one we want to provide some kind of diagnostics on the system how many people are using them, what does it look like and then also doing some kind of down the road. When we've got this near miss, we're able to collect near miss data, establish some kind of corollary understand, you know a kid traveling at 24 miles an hour so that we can provide some, some data for additional analysis to help on the safety side. The other thing that we're doing is actually developing bike safety modules that will be targeted to everyone, but we'll have one in particular. We'll have a series in particular targeted to young people, middle school and high school students, because that appears to be where the big problem area is.

Laura Cisneros:

Older people don't seem to go crazy. They seem to appreciate the assist and kind of be done with it, but bike safety nonetheless. I mean, basically, at 30 miles an hour, you need to understand, or 26 miles an hour, you need to understand what the implications are to your brain. It's very important to get ahead of get out there quickly and effectively with safety education and like all things like this. I mean they're going to be carrots and sticks that are going to have to be used, you know, developed at the policy level and then implemented at the city level. But you know, for our part, monitoring, providing whatever diagnostics we can, and then programmatically, you know, bike safety education.

Tom Butler:

Just trying to address it there Seems like comfort level is critical to getting people out on the road on a bike and having people consider the bike an alternative to a car. What are some of the biggest challenges that you guys see as far in addition to comfort level, as far as getting people out on a bike?

Laura Cisneros:

You know, on the list of complaints outside of safety for women, it's what do I do about my kids? That's a big one. So emergency ride home programs you know we are a TDM partner, a transportation demand management partner. We see ourselves as part of the total transportation demand management strategy and so we really advocate for emergency ride home credits and those kinds of things for employers to give to employees to, you know, increase the number of people that participate in biking to work and bike commuting by offering them a solution for sick kid or unplanned emergencies of that nature.

Laura Cisneros:

I think the other stuff that we see sometimes in the South it's too sweaty, right, it's 110 degrees, it's too hot, I'm too sweaty. So lack of showers and facilities, it's a big issue. And then I think, finally, on the East Coast we see this more no safe place to park my bike. We see that a lot on the East Coast I don't really hear so much of that. And that you know, dense urban environments that are gritty, you know, I'm sure there is that. Transurban environments that are gritty, you know, I'm sure there is that we see all of these in varying levels across the country. Sometimes you know out your way, it's too hilly University of Washington folks too hilly, you know. So you can see that too, and of course we get it. But that's where your pedal assist comes in, man. You know that's use the right bike, use the right tool for the right job, right. That's where your pedal assist comes in, man. You know that's that's use the right bike, use the right tool for the right job, right.

Tom Butler:

That's right, that's right.

Tom Butler:

You know, for me it's like a good hill is a nice challenge too, so but I don't necessarily want to be challenged every time. It's interesting, there's this element of being sweaty and I think that that's such an interesting thing because you're, I know, you know personally, you know I'm living this. I need to be more active and so, you know, part of me being active is that I get sweaty and, you know, kind of that's to me one of those cultural shifts, psychological, just mindsets that it's like I can live with someone seeing me sweaty. I can live with armpit you know stains, whatever, or you know wet armpits or whatever you know and because that means that I'm burning calories, you know. And for someone to look at you know someone else and going, oh cool, they're burning calories, I mean, if you're on a basketball court, you're totally fine with someone being sweaty, but it's like, let's be more comfortable. Maybe I need to just start that campaign let's be comfortable with sweat. I don't know, but you know, you know what I'm saying yeah, yeah, no, I totally do.

Laura Cisneros:

I, you know I've. I'm a lifelong athlete, so I it's. You know, my children have grown up with me smelling, so you know I smell different. You know, once every day when I take a shower. After that all bets are off, Right, yeah. So I do think there's a little cultural thing. I think there is a. You know, yeah, I mean, like my sister, you would never, in a million years, she would not go to work, she would not do it. She just would not do it. Yeah, it wouldn't happen.

Laura Cisneros:

And so part of it is getting comfortable with your humanity and part of it is also, like you know, like my sister. You know she, she wants to ride a bike and all of that, and that's great. Is she going to commute to work ever? No, not in a heartbeat. She will not. Could I get her to ride a bike with me to coffee? Yes, absolutely, I could, absolutely. Could I get her to ride the bike to go to a movie? Yeah, I can do that. But yeah, you know you're not going to be able to get everyone to do it all the time, but if we could get everyone to do it some of the time, that would be huge.

Tom Butler:

That's well said for sure. Is there a business justification, is there a business advantage to getting the public out on bikes, including employees?

Laura Cisneros:

There are numerous. First of all, you know, corporate responsibility is a real thing. Whether or not corporations are living up to that it could be debated, but certainly it is a real thing. The other thing is that scope emissions reporting is coming in some form or another, and businesses are going to have to start documenting the ways in which they are trying to reduce emissions. And this is an easy you know, love to Ride is a, you know, a turnkey platform. We go into businesses all the time, like Ford, for example, and set up a platform designed to encourage more people to bike for transportation, whether they're biking to work or biking to other things.

Laura Cisneros:

So those changes are coming. The other thing that's coming as well is that congestion is not going away. We're on our way to. I'm not on my way there, I'm on my way out of the mega city. Right, like, the mega cities are coming for all the reasons, right, climate not being the least of them, and so, especially in the South, we will probably have more people biking. Climate not being the least of them, and so the can, especially in the south. You know, we will probably have more people biking than will have light rail because of the political dynamics down here, but we're going to have to have other modes.

Laura Cisneros:

There's just no question. Austin, in particular, is going you know, gangbusters right now because the Department of State, department of Transportation, in its wisdom, has decided to bury eight miles of highway I30 or I35, interstate 35, which is the most congested eight miles of traffic in the country. That whole initiative is going to take longer than 10 years and if we don't have mode shifts to active modes in Austin, I don't know how anyone's going to get anywhere. I don't know how it's going to happen. So, yeah, there are business interests. There are, you know. There are financial interests, you know, on the healthcare side alone, I mean just reducing the burden of your healthcare by improved health and your employees. If you've got 4,000 employees, that's you know, you're reducing one heart attack per year. That's meaningful. That's meaningful to an insurance algorithm, right, like it's meaningful. So, but not the least of which is, you know, these disclosures are going to be mandatory in one form or another.

Tom Butler:

Well, it sounds like there's some natural pressures that are coming from population change, and I think that there's also. It seems to me like when I'm talking to younger people, there's more appreciation of alternative transportation modes for a lot of different reasons. It sounds like maybe would you say that you have a lot of hope for the cycling future for North America.

Laura Cisneros:

I do right now. I really do. I've seen a ton. I've seen so much change. Since you know, since I've been doing this work, I've seen so much change. I've seen the transition from, you know, the one bike ped person to a mobility team. I've seen active transportation roles popping up in counties. I never thought I would see active transportation. I'm seeing more bike plans across the country that are meaningful and beyond just striping, and I'm also seeing a change in leadership at those regional and state levels that, coupled with massive amounts of money that have been released under the infrastructure bill, safe Streets for All is a huge program. That's, you know, in grant phase right now. So if any of your listeners want to develop an application, I am here to help them do that. We can get that done. We are approved for that program and have a demonstrated ability to deliver against it. There is so much good stuff to be excited about and helpful for Lots of great young people in this movement to get more people on bikes. And, yeah, it's the one thing I feel good about.

Tom Butler:

Awesome, that's awesome. So is there a final message that you'd like to share with listeners who might be interested in getting involved in cycling and cycling advocacy or starting their own cycling journey? Any final thoughts?

Laura Cisneros:

My final thoughts would point to you as an example. You know, you just have to take one step, one single one action, that's it. Once you do, it's like you've dropped into a river of yes, just hop on a bike, do yourself a favor in, you know, just cajole your dearest friend into riding a bike with you and go on that journey with another person. But just do it, just absolutely do it, because it is profound how simple that changes. Um, once you've decided to do it and you do it, you can't imagine that you didn't do it sooner. So, yeah, just do it, because you can. I like to say the body is like a Labrador. It's really just waiting at the door. It's just ready. It's ready. I don't care what condition it's in. It is ready for a tennis ball, it's just ready to go. So, just you. Yeah, your body is waiting for you and it loves you and it would love to be on a bike.

Tom Butler:

So how about you? Do you have some cycling trips you'd like to do, or some goals or some other physical challenges you're taking on soon?

Laura Cisneros:

other physical challenges you're taking on soon. I, you know, I have never. You know I'm kind of a lone cyclist. I just have always been that way. You know there are so many beautiful rides across the country. I've been so fortunate to ride around DC and, you know, in Seattle area. I mean, I've been so fortunate. I don't think I have a particular goal, although you know, eastern Europe sounds pretty great for writing. But yeah, no, my goal is just to keep doing it, and you know that it's part of my part of my life. You know, I, yeah, that's kind of it.

Tom Butler:

Well, that's a good goal. Yeah, Keeping going is a very good goal, Laura. Thank you so much. This has been so delightful. I've learned so much and I just I could keep this conversation going a long time, but you might have other things to do, but thanks for taking the time to join me.

Laura Cisneros:

Oh my God, tom, thank you so much. This was such fun Anytime. All right Talk to you later, bye, later.

Tom Butler:

Bye. I am looking for your feedback on the Love to Ride app. You can find my email and the show Instagram link in the show notes, and the best way to share feedback on the Love to Ride app or anything else is in the Cycling Over 60 Strava Club. I'm hesitant to add another app to the mix, but I love what Laura shared about their vision. I really want to contribute to their data, so I will be trying to figure it out in the future. There are several features that I'm interested in with the app and I think maybe there could be some features that could be fun for our Cycling Over 60 community. Just a reminder to keep an eye out for the post in the Cycling Over 60 Strava Club for the National Senior Health and Fitness Club Group Challenge. I like that. Laura Cisneros shared that her goal is to just keep riding. I hope that is the goal for all of us and remember age is just a gear change. Bye.

Weekly Update
Austin Cycling Scene
Promoting Behavior Change Through Cycling
Impact of Biking Culture and Engagement
Differences in Cycling Culture
Teaching Safety
Wrap Up