20 August 2008

More Promoting Cycling - or Not

Since we're on a roll regarding promoting cycling - or not - what does the esteemed panel think about this BMW advert? At least the cyclists portrayed are normal people in normal clothes and representative of an average European urban cyclist.

BBC Loses Their Chain
A number of readers sent this link in from the BBC. All of them were not pleased about the parallels the BBC journalist Tom Geoghegan draws between Olympic cycling medallists and the man on the street. The journalist may have a bike in his garage, but it doesn't sound like he is well acquainted with 'normal people in normal clothes on normal bikes'.

It does seem like a step backwards on the road to demystifying and normalising cycling. What does the panel make of it?

Here's Amanda's take on it, from an email she wrote to us. She's a writer in the UK:

"Earlier this year I started riding a bicycle for the first time since I
was about 12. I got myself a normal bike and it's now my main means of
getting around London. I've become very fond of the idea of bike
culture and love Copenhagen Cycle Chic and the lovely message it spreads
(and the lovely photos!).

Though there are definitely more people on bicycles in London than ever
before, the demographic is mixed. You do see some normal bikes, but
mostly mountain bikes. Helmets can't really be avoided because we have
to ride with the cars, but there is a mixture of attempts at fashionable
helmets and things that look like they've fallen off of rockets. And as
for attire, well, that's mixed too. Lots of people wear normal
clothing. Some people insist on wearing neon jackets over their normal
clothing. And then you have those types that wear outfits that look
like they've been painted on. I'd say of new riders we probably have
more normally attired people than sporty people, so it give me hope that
cycling will become a normal thing for Londoners.

But then you get articles like the BBC article. [as above]
It's not normal, it's not encouraging, and sometimes it's not safe.

Please keep up what you're doing. I'm hoping more examples from Europe
will overpower such horrible suggestions.

Cheers, Amanda"

San Francisco Sillyness
On the other side of the pond, in San Francisco, there is a man fighting against bike lanes and infrastructure. He sounds like a 'character' - read into that whatever you like - but it is amazing that he has gotten this far. There are so many studies from Europe that basically disprove every claim he has. A shame nobody tells the city hall about them.