there are two clear and present problems which??bedevil??UK cycling advocacy: one is the requirement to trumpet any and all gains, however minor or potentially imaginary, in order for us to legitimate and reproduce ourselves as advocates; the other is a rush to interpret any sign of growth in cycling as both ???good??? and a clear sign that investments in cycling are paying dividends, when a wider and more critical analysis might concur with neither….
Each time we celebrate a minor growth in cycling which has been achieved in spite of radically unfavourable conditions we embed the notion that radical re-structuring of those conditions is not a necessary pre-requisite to getting Britain on its bike. But it is.
So there is a danger in being optimistic rather than realistic ??? in talking up the current growth in cycling. The danger is this ??? that we thereby conspire with and so strengthen the status quo, the provision of little changes here and there, little changes which effectively change nothing. And thus we risk becoming complicit in the continuous deferral of those very radical changes which are really required in order to make cycling normal, a form of transport which is ??? genuinely ??? for (almost) everyone.
Jack Thurston Says:
January 31, 2012 at 12:32 pm
Chris Rock, the American stand up comedian once said:
???Drug dealers don???t sell drugs. Drugs sell themselves. It???s crack. It???s not an encyclopedia. It???s not a f**king vacuum cleaner. You don???t really gotta try to sell crack. Ok? You will never hear a drug dealer say: ???How am i gonna get rid of all this crack???? ???
Motoring sells itself because everything about our transport system is custom built for motoring. But cycling has to be promoted, like Chris Rock???s encyclopedias and vacuum cleaners. Because a lot of things about our transport system are custom built to make the alternatives to motoring feel like an alienating and dangerous experience.
How do we get ourselves to a point where cycling sells itself? I agree with you: not by cycle training, good though that is for those who take it; not by poster campaigns, nice though they are for the public image of cycling; not by showers at work, convenient though they are for those who use them; not by cycle parking, handy though that is when you finish your journey. It???s the infrastructure that defines the very experience of cycling that needs to change. It???s time to reclaim the roads from the motorist: lowering speed limits, removing car parking spaces and setting aside safe, separate cycle space on wide and fast roads.