It started with an idea that came when i was learning the science of the brain in university. The idea was for a “I Love My Brain” sticker to put on a bike helmet. A positive way of spreading the message of wearing a helmet cuz you love your brain. Wearing a helmet won’t protect you completely nor in all circumstances – but it does provide some protection of arguably the most important parts of our bodies. Seriously, the brain does a lot. Need that thing to talk, see, move your muscles, breathe – all the important stuff. And you can be affected a LOT from just a wee knock on the noggin, if done just so.
Some time after this idea for “I Love My Brain”, I moved to a house on a designated bicycle route, East 10th Avenue, Vancouver, BC. It was a perfect opportunity to connect with cyclists and give out free stickers, snacks and information on bicycling! With the support of my friends and housemates, I obtained a small grant from the NSGP. That covered the cost of printing up a whole bunch of different stickers, durable for outside weather.
Several people designed the stickers in the general theme of bicycling safety, and one housemate did the layout needed for the printers. We gave out fruit and cookies donated by the local grocery store, Buy-Low. We gave out free bike route maps from the City of Vancouver. We even had a bike pump. Some people stopped by, thinking we were selling bikes. No, that is my bike sir, please put it down.
We also thought, since we had all these bicyclists dropping by for a visit, why not create a petition for folks to sign – to request from the City some specific areas of safety improvements to the local bike route. The intersection at E 10th Ave and Prince Edward, and the intersection at E 10th Ave and Fraser were the closest concerns to our location.
There were about 6 of us volunteering at the stand at any one time, which was on for about 5 hours. We chatted with cyclists (and pedestrians, skateboarders, etc) of all ages and styles. At first many people were suspicious and looked afraid of what a stranger might ask of them – and some were hard to convince that we didn’t have some ‘angle’ (where we would try to sell them a time share after they opt to take a bike map?!). But with smiles and persistence we won many over to stop at our station, to take free stickers and snacks, and hang out for a bit. We also met new neighbours.
The first year a friend helping at the station dressed in a full gorilla costume. The 2nd year not. Both years it was fun to chat with all the people passing by. I still receive reports of those stickers, out there, riding around town stuck on a bike, saying ‘love your brain’.
Summers 2008 & 2009