12 Questions: How to be a Wheeled Pedestrian

Riding slowly

Challenging perceptions that cycling is only for the fast and sporty.

1. What do I do if it’s raining?  Put on a raincoat and, ride slowly.

2. What do I do if it’s hot?  Wear something light and, ride slowly.

3. What do I do if it’s cold?  Put on something warm and, ride slowly.

4. What do I do if I have things to carry?  Put them on a carrier, in pannier bags or in a basket and, ride slowly.

5. What do I do if it’s hilly where I live?  Get a bike with gears or walk up the steepest part and, ride slowly.

6. What do I do if I want to socialise with friends?  Dress as you would normally and, ride slowly.

7. What do I do if I have to leave my bicycle?  Get a good lock and, ride slowly.

8. What do I do if my friends or neighbours see me riding a bicycle?  Smile, feel smug and, ride slowly.

9. What do I do if water from the road splashes up on me?  Fit mudguards to your bike and, ride slowly.

10. What do I do if I need to be somewhere in a hurry?  Leave earlier and, ride slowly.

11. What do I do if there is a lot of traffic and I don’t feel so safe?  Ride on the footpath when it feels prudent to do so and, ride slowly.

12. What do I do if I’m fashion conscious?  Buy a stylish bicycle, sit up and, ride slowly. Congratulations! You are the real deal.

‘Cycling’ is sport and recreation. ‘Riding a bicycle’ is everyday activity. No sweat.

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  1. I was speaking with a WCC councillor, Sarah Free, who was describing her electric bike. “It chews through hills.” It’s a wonderful rebuttal to people who suggest that Wellington is too hilly for bikes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can agree with all of this apart from the riding on the footpath (pavement in the UK), sadly foot pedestrian / wheeled pedestrian conflict is one of the issues guaranteed to raise the hackles of pretty much every single non-cyclist in the country. I belong to a campaigning group (Cycling Embassy of Great Britain) campaigning for proper cycling infrastructure to help avoid this situation.


  3. I always agree with your posts 100%. It is such a shame that the word “cyclist” in NZ has been captured by sports cyclists and MAMILs – who just seem to rub everybody up the wrong way.

    We need to make it clear that cycling is to riding a bike what motor sport is to driving to the shops. One is a sport, one is just a way of getting from A to B.

    Until that is accepted by the NZ public, it will be difficult to get more money for cycling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the feedback. It’s feedback like this encourages me to continue. The intent behind this site was to raise awareness and generate discussion on an aspect of cycling advocacy that is largely overlooked. For me, it is really obvious that a human element is missing from the approach to advocacy. (And this is not a concern limited only to cycling advocacy.) I’m encouraged by your feedback because it reminds me that I am not the only one thinking in these terms. Unfortunately, what is intended as critique and feedback often tends to be received as criticism. I’m only interested in looking for solutions to the current impasse – not just that people don’t ride bicycles but also dismantling the car focused approach to city design.


    2. I cycle to the shops and to my voluntary work. I also cycle for fun. Sometimes I do both at once – choosing a long route for a practical journey. Why be so divisive ?


      1. Paul, Thanks for your feedback. I am aware that my approach is open to being interpreted as ‘divisive’. I am not surprised by the claim. But of course that is not my intent. I am arguing that the first step to success ie. more people riding bikes everyday, is to convince as many people as possible that cycling is something that they could see themselves or their friends or family doing. All actions need to be predicated on that goal. As I have said before, many times, all cycling is good cycling, but only some cycling conveys that effectively. Overestimate the role of emotion and human psychology in getting more people riding bicycles.




    1. Thanks Christina. 🙂 I think there is room for a more ‘democratized/solution-based’ approach to cycling advocacy. At present, I get a sense that people won’t even consider the option of riding a bicycle until there is a network of cycle paths throughout the city. The public perception of cycling is still a very narrow one – sports, recreation. That perception represents a barrier to people even considering the bicycle as a viable option for short trips. I think the role of advocacy has to be about generating a more nuanced conversation as well as about building infrastructure.


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