The wonderful concept of ‘paying it forward’ has got me thinking about how Pay It Forward and cycling go nicely together. The idea of paying it forward is a concept that’s been around forever but was popularised by the movie Pay It Forward, which had a lasting impact on me. In the movie and the book on which it is based, the idea is described as an obligation to do three good deeds for others in response to a good deed that one receives. The good deeds should accomplish things that the other person can’t accomplish on their own. The bigger picture means that by helping one another at a ratio of three to one, it has an amazing impact on society, making the world a better place.
As a person who believes that cycling has the ability to change individuals and society as a whole, it got me thinking about how the pay it forward idea could apply. This led me to think of three things we can all do as cyclists to pay it forward. I’m sure all you clever people can come up with many, many more.
Encourage a rider to ride with you
The reason I now ride a bike is because other kind people encouraged me to do so. There were a number of people who contributed to my cycling journey that has led me to where I am right now. Many of them sacrificed their own enjoyment of riding to ride alongside me at a slower pace than they would have liked to maintain, especially my wonderful partner Phillip.
As a consequence of all that kindness, I now try to repay by paying it forward and encouraging other riders, especially female riders. I suppose my blogging also plays a part in that. I hope lots of women have taken up riding or stepped up, as a consequence of reading my posts or riding alongside me.
Stop and help another rider
Just about every time I’ve ever stopped beside the road because I’ve had a mechanical issue or flat tyre, another cyclist and usually more than one, has ridden by and offered assistance. The cycling community is truly awesome. Sometimes I’ve even taken them up on their offers of help.
Once again as a consequence of all that kindness, I’ve attempted to pay it forward and offered my help to others. Don’t think that just because you’re not a fabulous bike mechanic you shouldn’t offer. The person might have stopped because they are unwell, they could be lost, they could not have a spare inner tube, or their phone might be flat. Most of the time the person you offer to help will say ‘no thanks’ but I guarantee they’ll appreciate your offer.
Donate an old bike
Lots and lots of us have old bikes in our garage or garden shed. For many reasons we no longer ride them. Why not donate it to someone who will ride it? You could also sell it, which I’ve certainly done with my old bikes. I also see selling bikes as a form of paying it forward. No one ever sells a bike to make a profit. You usually get less than half you paid for it but it means that someone else is enjoying it rather than it gathering dust.