Sunday, 30 June 2013

Cycling's image problem

Cycling in the UK has a massive image problem.

Yea, there are lots of stories in the news papers and websites, about how cycling is "the new golf",  how  lycra is cool again (really..?), and that masses of people are taking to their bikes every weekend. Sportives, which are organised mass bike rides (not races) are the new fun runs with several across the country every week with hundreds often taking part.

Again every day you can find stories about cyclists doing wonderful rides to raise lots of money for very good and worthy causes.

Brilliant, wonderful more bums on saddles - All good yea?

No, actually it isn't.

Cycling is not just a sport for people with expensive carbon road bikes and mega travel full suspension mountain bikes, it is the best transport mode on the planet.

The UK though with the exception of a few places seems to be completely blind to the fact, and failing miserably.

To all these people that don the lycra and ride far and wide on a weekend put the bike back in the garage on Sunday evening and take the car to the shops, or to drop the kids of at school, or to work. I ask why?

The cycling lobby and campaign groups , media organisations and the bicycle industry need to make cycling transport as cool and sexy as cycling as a sport has become, and as cool and sexy as Copenhagen Cycle Chic makes it.

I think we need to possibly ditch some of the more preachy messages such as the "Take the fast lane, not the fat lane" which was ran in Manchester, and telling people that cycling is the good and right thing to do, cos frankly some won't do it out of bloodymindedness, and some don't care.

We all know that the infrastructure is crap and not fit for purpose, and a lot of people think the roads are unsafe. That doesn't stop the weekend cyclists from cycling. It shouldn't stop them from riding to the local shops for a pint of milk or a loaf of bread either.

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