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"No Oil in Grays Harbor" Back Bibs for Cyclists

The climate action bicycle collaborative that I work with was organizing a ride to an Indigenous-led rally fighting a proposed crude oil terminal in Grays Harbor, Washington, and we needed signs for the ride to spread awareness on the road. There was a two-day turnaround, a $0 budget, and a desire to keep it as in alignment with materials as possible. The signs also needed to be easy to transport by bike and to be able to withstand a 60 mile ride in the rain and wind. 

The solution? Back bibs made from discarded t-shirts. I work for a retail company that gives its empolyees t-shirts, and there is relatively high turnover, so there are often many left abandoned in the break room. I used larger pieces for the sign and then cut narrow strips to use as string. 

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To get started, I did a few quick sketches and a prototype and  shared them with the team for feedback.

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Once the message was approved, I then used acrylic paint and paint pens to create each individual sign. I changed the format slightly with each one so I could experiment while making the design I felt was most effective.

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The back bibs were a success. They drew attention, not always positive judging by the tone of the honks, but often people were supportive of the cause. People are automatically interested in striking up conversations with you when you have a bike, but then when you have a group of people together with matching signs, it gives people extra initiative to talk to you. So we were able to educate folks through conversation when we stopped, as well as exposing countless others on the road.

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To learn more about the cause, visit the Quinault Nation's website here

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