War with the Industry: We are the Problem
I have many bones to pick with the industry I love, I’m calling it a war - a war to get more butts on bikes, to get kids safer to adventure and for the industry to get their head out of the ground. First step was bike shops, the front line of the bicycle industry. Now to put more of a blanket across the complete industry, to everyone that calls themselves cyclist.
Here’s what I ask of you, as you are most likely a cyclist to read this blog…I ask you to take a moment and reflect on the thoughts I am bringing you.
How many sports interrupt everyone’s daily life?
Other than running, to a point, who’s “sport” stops the lives of the non-cycling population?
We talk about going after golf as a target audience of potential cyclist – golf has beautiful couses and ranges to practice our strokes
Runners can run on sidewalks
Baseball, soccer, lacrosse and football have fields with bleachers wrapped around
The Sport We Love Causes Chaos
We fight to share the road, should we be fighting to have our own roads, greenways and trails instead? Is sharing roads with 4,000 lb cars the smartest thing to do? Do bike lanes, only inches, from 55 mph roads make sense? Do we belong on roads over 35 mph as road cyclist or commuters?
I sit here writing this while watching the latest stage of the Tour de France. Beautiful, romantic and exciting. I also watch thousands of miles of roads shut down. The closest I can think of this that is non-cycling is that of the Boston Marathon at 26.2 miles.
What is Our Hope?
The bike industry “is flat” they say. Of course it is. My family worry about me when I go for a ride on the road. I’m not able to ride my mountain bike locally when it rains, and it has been raining on and off all week. The local velodrome is 45 minutes away. The closest greenway, 8 miles away, is 3 miles long.
When you look for our hope, look to your neighborhood. Look at all the bikes with flat tires in your neighbors garage. What would inspire them to ride? What does the venue look like?
Our hope is not for the next Lance Armstrong.
My hope is for organizations like Streetsblog, a blog about sustainable transportation and livable communities. Side neighborhood streets, planned development and creating safe ways to move around communities. That is how to get more people on bikes, out of the gym and out of their car.
Think About It
Next time you are out on the road, think about what is going on around you. Wave to that person that stopped for you or went AROUND you. You are interrupting their flow and their day. Just because you are able to be on the road, share the lane or take the lane, doesn’t mean you aren’t creating chaos out there. When we are riding 10 deep of 2 or 3 a breast, who is sitting patiently behind you in their car? Where did we go so wrong that we feel entitled to interrupting someones day because “we ride a bike”?
If your kids were in the middle of the street playing catch or kicking a soccer ball and a car comes down the road do you expect your kids to get out of the way or the car to stop?