We show value in lots of ways in our society, but one undeniable way is in dollars. My 6-Month Executive Summary as Metro Atlanta Bicycle Mayor makes it clear to me that I’m giving away the shop too much. And frankly, I’m uncomfortable with that.
See for yourself. Below is the value of my pro bono offerings*, as related to my three goals as Metro Atlanta Bicycle Mayor (not even including the global meetings and other outreach):
GOAL 1. SHINE A LIGHT ON THE PEOPLE MAKING IT MORE WELCOMING TO RIDE BIKES. PRO BONO VALUE TO RESEARCH, INTERVIEW, WRITE, PUBLISH, AND AMPLIFY=$650 PER ARTICLE
Total Donation-to-Date as Metro Atlanta Bicycle Mayor: $9,100
GOAL 2. ENCOURAGE MORE PEOPLE TO BECOME BICYCLE MAYORS OF THEIR CITIES OR COUNTIES. PRO BONO VALUE = $300 PER CONSULT MEETING
Total Donation-to-Date as Metro Atlanta Bicycle Mayor: $1,200
GOAL 3. CREATE AND SHARE ROUTES THROUGHOUT THE REGION THAT ARE LOW-STRESS AND WELCOMING TO ALL, AND TEACH BIKE SKILLS TO MORE WOMEN AND GIRLS. PRO BONO VALUE TO RESEARCH, CREATE, PHOTOGRAPH, WRITE, PUBLISH, AND AMPLIFY = $1250 PER ROUTE; PRO BONO VALUE FOR EACH IN-PERSON BIKE CLASS=$150 PER PERSON
Total Donation-to-Date as Metro Atlanta Bicycle Mayor: $25,000 (routes); $1,650 (in-person classes, not including thousands of people who have accessed my online classes for free)
That’s a combined total of $36,950 in just the last six months. That’s $6,000 per month in pro bono offerings. That doesn’t even include the rest of the stuff I just do anyway (blog posts, advocacy work, amplification of others, etc). That means if this were a paid job, it would require a minimum salary of $73,900 to equate to its value. (My book sales, profits from which are all donated, and ad-supported blog come nowhere close to providing that value.)
This was all well and good when I thought my leaving for Peace Corps Uganda was imminent (I was scheduled to leave June 2020 and have been delayed due to COVID). Now, the wait is undefined and there’s a point when I’m just a sucker giving away the shop for free. And that point may be now, during the biggest bike boom in the USA when the federal administration, counties, cities, companies, and organizations are putting money behind addressing the climate crisis (for which Traveling at the Speed of Bike and urban agriculture, and the ability to storytell in support of them, are part of the solution).
So, I’m rethinking things here, folks. I need to determine what my limit is. I’m thinking it’s around $2,000 in pro bono services. So that means 2/3 of what I’m doing for free has to stop. Which things? Hmmmm.
I have about three more posts to add here prior to National Bike Month, and then I’ll probably just post once a week during May (or maybe not at all — haven’t decided yet). I’m gonna ride, listen, look, pray, eat mulberries** (which are ripening right now), work on securing an agent for my new youth-advocacy-focused book, and as always, trust the journey. Plus, there’s a little girl who called and said, “Hi, do you remember me?” and asked if I’d come teach her more bike skills. Yes. Yes, I will.
The world is at a crossroads. The USA is at a crossroads. And I am at a crossroads. As always, I hope to see you out there Traveling at the Speed of Bike during National Bike Month (calendar below — see links for more details here), and beyond.
Trust the journey,
*note: I’ve been a freelance writer for corporations and publications, and social enterprise entrepreneur, since 1995, and I know the value