Have you discovered the Nice Ride bike system yet, that fantastic commuting alternative? For a small fee, you can take a bike and cycle to the next station, not just for health and pleasure, but for the betterment of urban congestion and the environment.
I have been riding my bike to campus for years in nice weather; I have this this great Breezer bike--in ruby red, no less--and a route to campus that takes me along the lovely River Road bike path. What is not to like?
But this morning, instead of taking my cheerful Breezer, I picked up a green bike from the Nice Ride station near my house. The convenience of being able to park the bike at the Elliott Hall station and just walk away made me choose to take a Nice Ride instead of my own ruby red bike. It seems HUGE; I feel like I have stepped into the future of commuting.
So, what does this have to do with Psychology?
This week, you will read about Bandura's experiments that gave rise to Social Learning Theory (with its useful concepts of self-efficacy and modeling.) Later in the semester, we will learn about social referencing in Child Development, and social norming in Social Psychology. These independent lines of research support something you already know: In novel or ambiguous situations, we look to the people around us to help us make sense of what we are experiencing. Leadership takes many forms. Ask yourself how did I get hooked into Nice Rides?
I knew there was a station at Elliott but had done nothing more until one afternoon in late August when my son--one of those amazing Minnesotans who commute by bike throughout the winter--proposed that he and I take a Nice Ride across campus. He provided a 24-hour guest pass so it was free, and he showed me how it worked. He even put the bike seat at the correct height for me. One Nice Ride later I was completely sold.
I purchased the annual pass the next day ($60, but sometimes available for $40), and I have been riding around campus on the Nice Ride bikes ever since. Riding to my house in Saint Paul was an experiment. Riding from my house to campus was a transformation.
Leadership. Sometimes leadership is as simple as helping someone take their first Nice Ride.