...for most people the bicycle is something you use for transportation until you are successful enough to buy a car; that the bicycle is not seen as a sexy, technologically advanced machine worth aspiring to tells me that cycling has an image problem. This image problems crops up in numerous T.V. shows and movies. One example is The 40 Year Old Virgin, where Steve Carell, in the role of a loser, rides his bike everywhere.
So writes Andy Posner in one of my favorite web articles of 2008. It appeared in The Huffington Post on 29 June. Although I don't shared his fetish for high tech materials, he does makes good sense when he asserts that if can change the image of erstwhile bikers we can definitely change the world.
But if we can change the way cyclists are perceived we can create a paradigm shift in what individuals do with increasing wealth. Just imagine hundreds of millions of people in China, India and America happily riding carbon fiber bicycles alongside carbon fiber plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Sure, getting there will require a lot more than a change in values: we need policy changes and the infrastructure to make cycling safer and more convenient, as well as a renewably-powered, electrified transportation system. However, as long as cyclists are seen as losers, the bicycle will lose out to the hybrid. And given the scale of climate change and the geopolitics of oil, that would mean that we all lose.
The views and opinions expressed herein are not attributable to girlfriends and wives (old or new) to family, friends and colleagues (current or estranged), and to employers (pains-in-the-ass or otherwise).