Cycling’s in the media again.

All publicity is good pu

Yeah, I know. Any publicity is good publicity…

There was an article in the local paper, and its author was extolling the virtues of commuting by bicycle, doing his best to encourage others to try it. The article outlined the compelling rationale to invest in cycling; the enormous personal and societal benefits. It reminded me that cycling is a marketers’ dream product. I mean, if people can be convinced to smoke cigarettes…

Cycling is becoming increasingly popular as a legitimate mode of transport…it is often a quicker option than driving in larger cities…local councils are investing more in infrastructure that supports pedal power.

Well yes, it often is quicker, but its legitimacy as a form of transport is recognised in only a small number of countries in the world. While it is great to have support for cycling in the media, we need more than the just the familiar ‘boosterism‘.

From a wheeled pedestrian’s perspective, the article gets worse.

It offers tips on how to commute by bicycle. It’s full of phrases that contradict the ethos of how simple cycling can be and, how it needs to be presented. It doesn’t use the language or imagery needed to really connect with the people who are misinformed or are sceptical about cycling….

…invest in a high quality bike…riding long distances…hi-vis accessories to make yourself visible and safer…wear something comfortable…get a bigger backpack…spare change of clothes, shower supplies, towel…think safety, be aware of driver blind spots…

Yes, cycling seems to be making it into the media more often. If that’s the case then it’s imperative that those opportunities are used effectively. There is an alternative narrative waiting to be told. Here’s a starter for 10 points…

Bicycles are ideal for short, utility trips…

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

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