Car Free Day in Dubai pulls in new levels of participation with Bike Blending

Bike Blenders in Dubai at Car Free Day

The Dubai Municipality’s Environmental Awareness Team took it to the people on Kite Beach as part of Car Free Day, an effort to pull over 30,000 private and government cars off the roads on February 21. Their custom branded Fender Blender Pros were the focus of their well-organized activation, drawing in people to experience the joy of pedaling, and then drink the tasty results of their efforts. The man on the left raising his hand is a ‘coach‘ — a crew member responsible for helping people on and off the bikes, pulling them in to the activity, raising or lowering the seat so they get maximum efficiency from their muscles, and cheering for them when they put their all into the pedals.

Car Free Day goes back to 2010 and is part of Dubai’s increasing efforts to respond to the pollution, traffic, and climate impacts of driving. This year, the team behind the event wanted to increase the profile of the event among everyday people. If Global Warming continues on its current trajectory, some parts of the Middle East may be uninhabitable by mid century. To make this heavy and pressing message more digestible to people, the team wants to create a fun, engrossing example of alternative energy in action on the streets and beaches of Dubai.

Smoothie bikes draw a crowd

The woman in black towards the left is a taking a photo with her tablet, perhaps of her daughter pedaling? The photos that people take at bike blending events are for their own use, but when you brand your bikes, as Dubai did with the campaign’s name, that message will appear in the photos. When these photos end up on social media, the campaign’s message does too. To see lots of examples of branding, check out our branding page.

The promise of symbolic actions like making a smoothie with a bicycle is that they have the potential to access peoples’ hearts, where true personal change can begin. When people are surprised, involved, and excited, they’re more receptive. However, the challenge for Rock The Bike and our customers is to also follow through. If we only to do the symbolic acts we’ll never make a difference. A promising sign is Car Free Day’s expansion since 2010, when it pulledĀ  1000 cars off the road and engaged only 2 participating organizations. Last year they involved 300 participating orgs and set the target of 1000 this year. Up till now the event has been a 1-day thing. Now it’s unfolding over several weeks.