“I think the American thing is getting the bigger number, but the more important thing is to focus on meaningful stories.”

The words of Patrick Stephenson, organizer and creator of 30 Days of Biking, on what after eight years has become an April rite: People pledge to roll every day at least once and share the experience online using #30daysofbiking. Begun in 2010, the movement has a global following after its humble start. In fact, the challenge’s popularity has forced some changes this year.

Unlike previous years, Stephenson said he has focused on engaging with prospective riders on social media over fixating on the tally of pledges at 30DaysofBiking.com. “It’s not that important to people,” he said.

Too, there isn’t a large, central kickoff ride like recent years. Last year, more than 600 riders showed up testing organizers and physical space. Instead, this year, a kickoff party is planned at noon March 31 in Minneapolis at Surly Brewing Co., a major supporter of 30 Days of Biking.

There also are six community rides planned. Each has a separate organizer. The St. Paul Bicycle Coalition, Freewheel Bike and Erik’s Bike Shop are among them.They will be free rolls with a casual tone — aka slow rolls in riding circles. “Everyone is welcome,” Stephenson said. “[Inclusiveness] is a really important component.”

30 Days of Biking is trying to raise $30,000 for World Bicycle Relief — double its 2017 total.

Surly will help with that number, donating $3,000 after the challenge hits 5,000 signups and $3,000 raised by cyclists.

The April challenge culminates with a “grand finale" campout May 5-6, organized with Surly, and limited to 200 ticket-buying participants. It’s sure to fill fast.

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