Q & A with Lee Lambert: Cascade’s partnership with Western Washington Honda Dealers

  • For the second year, Cascade Bicycle Club is partnering with Western Washington Honda Dealers and their “Drive Good” initiative
  • We asked Executive Director Lee Lambert how the two organizations’ missions align and why this partnership is a win-win for both organizations
Sara Kiesler

Sara Kiesler

Image
A truck provided by Western Washington Honda Dealers is parked near camp at the Winthrop Gravel Ride after hauling bikes and gear all day.

In 2023, Cascade Bicycle Club signed on to a new partnership with the Western Washington Honda Dealers to amplify our Share the Road message, connect with audiences through their partnership with Fox 13, and receive a truck that can transport thousands of bikes to our Let’s Go schools across the state. Let’s Go is an in-school physical education curriculum that teaches students from Spokane to Vancouver how to bike and walk safely.

In return, Honda promoted their “Drive Good”™ campaign to our members, riders, and donors, emphasizing their commitment to preserving the environment – including “hanging up your car keys and choosing to walk, ride your bike, or take the Sounder, instead,” according to their website.

Image
The truck provided by Western Washington Honda Dealers is parked at the finish line of the 2023 Flying Wheels

Cascade recently renewed our partnership with Western Washington Honda Dealers for 2024. We want to take a moment to sit down with Executive Director Lee Lambert to discuss the goals of this partnership, the reasons behind it, and to answer questions from our members. 

Image
A head shot of Lee Lambert in a blue button down.

Q: Great to sit down with you, Lee. Our members want to know more and we’re here to help them! So tell us – why is Cascade partnering with Western Washington Honda Dealers? How are our missions and values aligned?

When the Western Washington Honda Dealers Association first approached us, I paused. They sell cars – how does partnering with a car company align with our focus on bike education, safety, and community building? 

As we got to the know them I started to see that our missions and values aligned better than I’d originally anticipated. Their “Drive Good”™ philosophy recognizes that a lot of people drive, and everyone who does should think about driving less. Any company that says on its website that it will “support and applaud” people who choose to bike, walk, or take public transit instead of driving is a good partner for Cascade. 

Q: In retrospect, is there anything about the first year’s partnership that you would change?

A: There is, actually. The “Share the Road” message isn’t a perfect slogan. Though Cascade’s advocacy team benefits from the Share the Road license plates sold statewide, a lot of people on bikes feel that it gets misinterpreted.

For example, some drivers are not willing to share a full lane with bicyclists, or even give three feet of space, though both are required by state law. That’s why for our 2024 partnership, we’re switching it up to “Pass Bikes Safely” to reflect the reality of bike and car interactions.

Q: What was the driving force behind renewing the partnership?

Cascade got a lot out of our partnership last year. People heard about Cascade in ads on TV, radio, and even on live news thanks to Honda. I know, because a lot of people excitedly told me they’d seen an ad or a Passport to the Northwest segment. It really helped us connect with new audiences. 

We also benefited from WWHDA’s investment in our programs. As the Let’s Go program grew this year, we delivered bikes to schools all across the state. Our tired old 12-passenger van would have broken down on the side of the road. A new vehicle and significant cash investment in our work made it possible for us to grow from 2 school district partners to 20.

Q: Did Cascade receive any pushback?

A: Unfortunately, we experienced some internet trolling from a small but vocal audience that misinterpreted the partnership as “Cascade wants to sell you a big truck.” But overall, our members were very supportive. Most people who bike also drive, and we want people to use the best and safest form of transportation for the trip they’re taking – whether that’s a bike, transit, or driving. We have staff and members that are car free and only ride their bicycle for transportation, and we have staff and members that drive to our major events or to get where they need to go. Both are OK, and both allow for a conversation about the ways we can reduce our climate impact. 

Ultimately, this partnership isn’t about making a value judgment – it’s about supporting our Let’s Go programming, advocating for safer roads for all users, promoting our mutual values, and aligning on our missions to make Washington state a safe place to get around. 

 

 

Share this post