I first wrote about the wonderful concept of ‘paying it forward’ last year when I thought 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. If you decide to catch up on the movie make sure you have a box of tissues handy!!
One thing I’ve noticed since the COVID-19 pandemic descended on us, is the number of people around the world who are embracing the concept to Pay it Forward.
I’ve read lots of stories about neighbours contacting the more vulnerable members of their communities and helping with things like shopping. Friends and families are checking in with each other by phone and video conferencing and offering help.
As a person who believes that cycling can 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 a couple of things we can all do as cyclists to pay it forward, even in this crazy pandemic. I’m sure all you clever people can come up with many, many more.
Support your local bike shop and café
Most bike shops are still trading in Australia so that we can all keep riding. Many have modified how they operate to ensure that the COVID-19 virus does not spread but they still need your support. In Australia, the majority of bike shops are small businesses that rely on a loyal customer base so don’t abandon them now. Some have their own online shops that you can support, but even if they don’t have an online presence you can call them and order over the phone and then quickly drop by to pick up. It’s no different than going out to buy your food supplies.
And don’t forget your local café that you always frequent after your outdoor rides. Stop by and pick up a take-away order. Like the bike shop, most of them are small businesses that are really struggling at the moment. Physical distancing rules apply of course.
Donate an old bike or indoor trainer
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.
The same thing applies to your old indoor trainer. So many riders have upgraded to fancy smart trainers in recent times so there must be lots of more basic trainers gathering dust. Why not pay it forward to someone who has lost their job?
Clear out your old gear
We’ve all got loads of bike gear we no longer use. I’m guilty of keeping lots of clothing, helmets, shoes, lights, saddles, spare parts, and other gear that I replaced long ago. Some of it should just be thrown out (like used knicks) but there are items that I could use to pay it forward or even sell. Use your extra spare time to declutter your cycling gear.