03 March 2012

The Right to Ride Freely

London Cycle Chic 006

Some days it feels like we've come a long way. Others, less so. One of the members of our Slow Bicycle Movement group on Facebook posted this spontaneous message. Jessica, from Birmingham. She was kind enough to let us repost it here.

It really highlights how, despite our progress towards reestablishing the bicycle as transport, there are still battles to be fought and won. The main one involves perception of cycling among the general public.

Any words of encouragement for Jessica, please feel free to add them in the comments. There were many brilliant responses in the Slow Bicycle Movement group.

No one warned me when I started to use a bike that absolutely everyone who doesn't ride one has an opinion about them... and about me because I ride one, and about whether I wear a helmet and why I should and why 'cyclists' should stay off pavements and also off roads and stop getting in the way and causing constant death and about how stupid we all are, how arrogant, how selfish and how none of us know how to drive or use roads or read signposts and are all calling for stupid infrastructure for roads we don't pay for... because we are 'the green lobby'.

Also, no one told me I would get laughed at every single day... or that overnight I would become 'the enemy', or that pretty much every other day someone would tell me that I was going to die...soon.

It doesn't seem to matter whether these people know me well or not at all. Calm conversation doesn't work, weblinks don't work, nobody wants to know. I started cycling because I have a health condition that stops me driving, I'm not a criminal.

Support please.