One of the best alternative fuels on this planet is human energy expended on bicycles. Many major cities are in the process of making their streets and their citizens bike-friendly, or at least bike aware. Most of these movements are led by grassroots groups like Bike SoMi and affect change at a local government level. Some serious citizens over in Copenhagen went private, and petitioned Norwegian energy company Statoil ASA to support the City of Cyclists.
In response, Statoil has turned a bare, unused wall in five of its gas stations into a sort of bike repair center for cyclists. Cyclists have access to free bike repair kits inside the gas station, a pull-down shelf to lift the bike for easy repairs, an air hose, gloves, and paper towels. It appears that there is no purchase necessary to enjoy these new amenities.
This is a simple and inexpensive way to benefit both the oil company and bike owners. Cyclists may spend some money on refreshments once they’ve finished using the facilities. I would imagine that those who own cars in addition to bikes would pump Statoil gas out of appreciation. And, in addition to benefiting from this free service, cyclists will also get to mingle with the larger vehicles that share the roads, expanding awareness that yes, they too exist. Maybe that’s not a huge deal in Copenhagen, where cyclists pretty much get respect and the right of way. But I can imagine that in cities like Miami, which is still somewhat bike unfriendly, drivers may see their neighbors or friends at their gas station and perhaps strike up a conversation.
This solution may represent little cost to the oil company for a huge gain in public perception, and it seems easy to do. What a great way to expand the existing bike infrastructure in major cities! Couple this with Bike Fixation kiosks and the ongoing local movements to create bike friendly paths, and cyclists might just yet become the kings and queens of the road.