Month: June 2015

I’ll have some culture jamming with my tactical urbanism, thanks.

It was one of those moments that I love. One of those moments that, perhaps unsurprisingly, is often delivered by bicycle. I was being inspired. There was an element of puzzlement too. But I can live with that. I’m learning that thought experiments don’t always progress in the way that I want them to; in the way that I initially hypothesise. I also know that just because others aren’t thinking like I am, it doesn’t mean that it’s wrong.

That moment of inspiration came while I was listening to Mike Lydon talk ‘Tactical Urbanism’ to what I would like to suggest, was a pretty reasonable number of Aucklanders. He was talking to me. He was speaking a language I understood. He was talking about stuff that I have been dwelling on and been puzzled by, for years.

Blogging can be a tough gig. I’d like to think I’m doing the world a favour. Sharing ideas and opinions, with the faint hope that someone will agree with me and join in the conversation.

And while my thinkings and musings make sense to me and are all based on life experiences and from reading widely, it is all pretty much going against orthodoxy. People drive cars. That’s normal. It’s futile to suggest otherwise. Well maybe not. At least not according to Mike Lydon.

Based on what he said, I would now suggest that this blog is a form of ‘culture jamming’. A social form of ‘tactical urbanism’, if you will. I don’t share videos of people riding without a helmet because I want to be viewed as a law breaker. It’s about challenging the status quo. To inspire, inform, enlighten. That kind of stuff.

And that’s the value of social media. It allows the dots to be joined. In this case, the dots being people. Because at present, there is not a sufficient critical mass of people who share the same thoughts and values of wheeled pedestrian cycling. It’s still too early. Too counterculture.

When that critical mass has grown sufficiently (assuming that it will, in a timely fashion), we can ramp up the tactical urbanism and then maybe, just maybe, get started on some full blown campaigning.

I’m also curious to know why the Council would want to host a talk about ‘tactical urbanism’. Is the Council trying to encourage some activism, some boldness? Build some political will, perhaps?

In the meanwhile, keep making and sharing the cool stuff you are doing. Stand up and make some noise. Connect the dots.

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

Get involved via: Twitter, FacebookFlickr or Vine

The day I give up riding a bicycle just got a little bit closer.

I have a confession to make.

Everything I have written on this site about how wonderful riding a bicycle is, how easy and empowering it is…it’s all just been one big lie. It all seemed a good idea at the time. “Aspiration” is how I liked to think of it, phrase it. I realise now that the lie has gotten so big and complex that even I have started to believe it.

I thought I was doing myself and others a favour. What a quaint concept. It all began years ago, when I stopped riding like a warrior, like a two-wheeled motor vehicle. I learned to chose my routes carefully. I took the slow, indirect routes in order to avoid ‘space conflict’ with the more powerful, dominant road users. I deferred to these faster, dominant road users when it felt necessary to do so.

I’m now reassessing my options. It may be to find employment that is on a bus route, and reduce my riding to endless loops around the local park on weekends. Resort to ‘A to A’ cycling. Tie my bicycle to the back of the car and go somewhere that is car-free.

My faith in humanity has dipped. I feared for my life today. Actually. The motorist saw an obstacle on the road that was impeding her progress to the child care centre. I saw my life flashing before my eyes. I wasn’t doing anything different than what I have done everyday, for the last 10 years.

I was on a ‘designated’ cycle route. It’s a ‘rat-run’. Actually. It runs parallel to 8 fucking lanes of motorway. This is a story that, for the first time, have kept from my loved ones. I don’t want them to worry about me. I will just let slip one day that I have taken a new job…a change is as good as a break. You know.

If you see the driver of the Blue Toyota DNU62, tell her I’m doing ok. I’m just in the process of making some life changes.