Can The Culture of Biking Be More Welcoming To Casual Riders?
How are casual city riders different from serious bikers?
Our client, Specialized Bicycle Components, makes serious bikes for serious bikers. A company with a strong culture of mountain and road biking, they wanted to build a connection to more casual urban riders.
Sensing that city riders are less concerned with premiere technologies and materials, our team set out to learn about what did matter to this group of people. We wanted to understand, first-hand, their journey from researching to buying then owning and maintaining bike.
We went to four US cities, with varied topographies and unique cultures, to ride alongside thirty different casual urban riders.
Seeing the city through their eyes, we learned that casual riders really love biking, not bikes.
Biking is freedom but bikes suck
We discovered this interesting paradox. Biking is about freedom and urban exploration. Biking is the preferred way to become intimate with a city, to learn its secrets and discover new places. But bikes themselves add complication, fear and hassle to the experience of urban exploration. Basically they suck.
Casual riders didn't care about bike technologies or jargon. They felt condescended to, intimidated and generally turned off by bikes and bike culture. Their solution was to buy cheap, second-hand and disposable "beater bikes".
We took everything we learned about biking and put it into a service called Good Hood.
Good Hood offers more exploration with less pain in the butt
For $75 a month, you get a beautiful city bike & lock, 24 hour repair service, theft replacement and unique guided urban excursions.
In order to figure out which aspects of the Good Hood service were the most compelling to casual riders we made a service prototype. Using a local bike tour group, 25 extra Specialized bikes, 1 big red van, large bright posters and pocket-sized pamphlets we made a mock-up of the Good Hood service. Then we hosted 4 different groups of new riders on a Good Hood tour, watched their reactions and got their candid feedback. By the end we could prioritize which aspects of the service were compelling and which ones we should ditch.
The insights live on.
In the end, learnings from the Good Hood Service Prototype were leveraged by Specialized to develop to develop marketing language, bike features and a digital service that minimizes stress while amplifying urban exploration.