A Week of Bike Advocacy and Entrepreneurship in Raleigh

A Week of Bike Advocacy and Entrepreneurship in Raleigh
Photo credit: Jared Harber

You know those weeks where every day feels like two days, and by the time your head hits the pillow, there's a handful of moments where you wonder if this morning's events really happened this morning, or was it yesterday? What day is it again?

That's how last week was for the two of us.

Monday started off deceptively smooth, with only a short virtual meeting between myself, Todd Lyden (who has been an incredible ally in this journey) and a partner at The Self Care Marketplace to discuss hosting a few bikes there in the near future. This would be a satellite connection to our greenway shop, and a key Downtown node of our network.

Tuesday brought the Espresso Express and the gorilla of the week: the Consult Your Community Small Business Fair at NC State. At 10:40am we began setting up our booth in the pouring rain (mind you, this was the rain date) and hoped for dry weather by the 1pm start. Thankfully, the wet weather subsided and we had a wonderful day of talking with students about bikes, our new shop, and how we are offering the absolute chillest internship out there. By luring students in with stickers and free Left Hook cold brew, we were able to assemble a list of interested interns, and as of yesterday have completed an interview!

We also saw Todd there! Shoutout Todd. You're the man!

By Wednesday at noon, it felt like the end of the week. The Downtown Raleigh Alliance hosted a cool event at Marbles Children's Museum with the goal of discussing some "big ideas" in Raleigh. A few of us seemed to be confused about the purpose of the event – we thought it was going to be more of an opportunity to discuss our ideas, rather than vote on existing ideas – but it was still a good opportunity to talk with folks in the community and write our ideas on sticky notes and then put them up on the wall with the ideas we wanted to vote on. Overall score 6/10. I would have preferred it be a forum to draw new ideas from the community rather than an in-person surveying of pre-set ideas.

Thursday was the first lineup of speakers for Startup Week at Raleigh Founded. Lauren and I did a little "divide and conquer" number where we split up for the first two talks and regrouped for the second session. She attended the "How to Get Your First 100 Customers" and I went to "How to Make Your First Hires." After that, we sat together for the "How to Build Winning Teams" session. Fantastic day overall. We left feeling armed with more information as we continue to build The Bike Library and pretend we know what we're doing.

Friday started as it always does: The Jubala Ride. This ride, while objectively a goofy coffee ride with some college students, is such a cornerstone of my Raleigh bike experience. It was where the Bike Library was born, after all. I was tied up with a separate event, but Lauren was able to make it to day 2 of the Startup Week seminars. She learned about business pitches, transitioning from corporate to full entrepreneur through the hybrid entrepreneurship stage, and leveraging empathy and storytelling when pitching exciting new ideas to stakeholders.

The firehose was turned to full blast this week. Although it was exhausting, it was full of amazing opportunities to push The Bike Library forward, get more people on bikes, and contribute to a more vibrant city. Let's ride!

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