Author: wheeledped

Achieving effective, sustainable change will require very human skills.

Foreword

Cycling in Auckland: Interim Report, December 1980. Auckland Bicycle Planning Committee

Wheeled Pedestrian Cycling was always intended as way of getting a conversation started about the perceptions of cycling and how those perceptions stymie the growth in the number of people using bicycles as a part of their normal, everyday activity. I have always felt that I was well positioned to do so because of my ambivalence to the specific act of cycling. Sure, there is an undeniable sense of pleasure that can be attributed to the act of cycling. But I view that as a by-product, rather than as a primary motivation. My source of inspiration came from the discovery of a correlation between cities that experience high levels of everyday cycling and the very mundane nature and prosaic attitude towards cycling in those places. Riding a bike, brushing teeth, vacuuming; just routine activities. People ride because it’s the best transport option. It has been deliberately made the best transport option.

I have also used Wheeled Pedestrian Cycling as an opportunity to explore my interest in behaviour change. There is much to be gained by understanding the complexity of human behaviour at a broader, deeper level. Things like cognitive biases – you know, those “bloody cyclists” kind of biases. As a result, I have endeavoured to join the dots between the skewered perceptions of cycling and the existence of all the major and minor problems in the world; and our inability to acknowledge them or address them successfully. Economic issues come to mind – how to address poverty. Or environmental issues – how to address climate change. I think there exists a universality that connects all these problems.

The qualities that set humans apart from other animals; those qualities that have allowed us to achieve such remarkable achievements, are also the qualities that act as the barriers to resolving problems and creating sustainable change. I am curious how it is that humans have the potential to have the biggest positive impact on creating change, but at the same time, also be the biggest barrier. My hope is that once we can acknowledge and understand this dissonance, we may have a better chance of creating the necessary changes and improvements. I believe that if we can uncover that human element that connects these problems, we will be better able to chart a course towards sustainable change.

A system that is entrenched and resistant to change

The transport system we have may not exactly be the best one, but it kind of works – for most people. Or at least, that’s what we tell ourselves. Instead of trying to change the system, we become well practiced at ignoring its inadequacies and doing our darndest to make it work. “People don’t want to give up their cars”, we are told. Making more roads and making them wider, instead of providing more efficient alternatives, are offered as the best solution. Instead of any bold systemic change, we are asked to continue accepting that tinkering at the edges is the best we can ever expect to achieve. A system that has evolved over many centuries is hard to change, even if any rational person can see it is overdue for change.

This inability to make the required wholesale changes is due to the existence of a condition called ‘path dependence‘. It’s really hard to deviate from a well worn path. The features that exist in the current transport system were put in place to serve a function at the time it was created. These features persist even though everything around them has changed. This ‘locked in’ way of thinking/doing things means that we simply end up hoping that the system we have inherited will evolve sufficiently to be able to deal with modern realities – such as population growth, climate change etc.

Try adopting a proven model?

But maybe there is some hope. If our transport system is so deeply flawed maybe we could turn to one of those successful models that exist already in northern European countries, like Denmark or The Netherlands. What’s stopping us from adopting those models as a template of successful alternative pathways and importing them directly? Unfortunately, the reality is that templates don’t work well. A solution imposed from above is less likely to be effective. Change will be successful and sustainable only when it comes about organically and has ‘buy in’ from the users of the system. The end users need to have had a chance to contribute to the creation of the new system.

At both a macro and a micro level, creating user agency via problem solving, is the name of the game. We all need to be invited to put our thinking hats on and work together as problem solvers. Working together to solve problems is what humans do very well. That is the culture of collaboration that needs to be generated. It is when people are invited to present their best ideas in an authentic and genuine way, that the magic starts to happen. But this kind of collaboration will only be achieved successfully if the environment is conducive. There needs to be a genuine free flowing of ideas. It takes confidence and a high level of ability in relationship skills to attain this. These are the very human qualities that are most needed.

We also need a shared vision and shared goals that will promote a transport system that works for everyone. The goals need to be able to address moral and ethical questions at the broadest level. We need leaders to inspire us to seek out solutions that will enable us to achieve these goals. Politicians, policy makers need to be held accountable for setting and achieving these goals. Realistic targets need to be set and achieved. And most importantly, we need to be encouraged to participate in genuine and robust conversations about what needs to take place. Only then will there be a chance for any significant progress to be made.

The art of self delusion and conflict avoidance

Beyond the problem of inheriting an inflexible system and needing to employ very human qualities to create a more desirable system, lies a greater challenge. Humans have many great qualities but unfortunately, honesty is not one of them. Honesty, when it counts, that is. Humans have a propensity for lying. Everybody does it. People are in the habit of lying in their daily lives. I’m not describing the lying of a sociopath, but rather, the self delusional type. Humans are social creatures.

The constructive need and desire to fit in, can also be destructive when it takes the shape of saying and doing what you think is desirable rather than, what is correct. It is called a social desirability bias. It means that we tend to rationalise our decisions (or the decisions of the organisations we belong to) to suit our own internal narratives and intuition. It means we avoid telling the truth in order to fit in socially and to avoid conflict. You can test this theory by observing your responses when completing a survey. Note how your responses will change depending on whether your response is anonymous or not. That’s because, when we are revealing information about ourselves, we tend to lie.

So, where to for here?

Stopping to get a better understanding of human behaviour will not get desperately needed bicycle infrastructure built any faster in the short term. Nor will it be particularly satisfying to take a broader perspective of the cycling landscape through a humanist lens. But to elide such issues from the discussion is to deny any potential for real success in the long term. It is not my intention to portray cycling advocacy as a sisyphean struggle that is unworthy of the considerable effort that has been contributed thus far. However, in the long term, having a better understanding of the core issues of human behaviour could help to encourage a more rational and deliberate examination of the impact of the various strategies being employed currently. Achieving effective, sustainable change will require new and difficult conversations to be had. It will require an ability to embrace a conflict of ideas. Dealing with conflict in a constructive way is a very human skill that can be learned and practiced.

Thanks for reading. I’m keen to take a breather. I may enter the fray again if I sense the conversation takes on a new and compelling direction. But in the meanwhile, thanks for all the support so far. You’ve been too kind.

Cheers,

Wheeled 🙂

‘Cycling’ is sport and recreation. ‘Riding a bicycle’ is everyday activity. No sweat. As easy as walking, but faster.

Get involved via: TwitterFacebookFlickr.

Inspiration and scientific analysis for this blog post come from the clever people at Freakonomics. See below for the links.

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Overestimate the role of emotion in selling cycling.

New Dawn

Choose the messenger wisely.

Facts and analysis are not enough. The public has to feel you are correct. The truth has to be sold as well as told. You have to capture the high ground with a brand that is more emotionally compelling than that of your opponents.

So says advertising entrepreneur, John Kearon.

Yes, overestimate the role of emotion and storytelling.

Yes, connect emotionally with a wide audience.

Yes, the roads are for everyone. And do ride your way. But take care to choose the messenger wisely.

And, do overestimate the task at hand. Behaviour is hard to shift.

In the mind of the public….

#vehicularism = unappealing

#wheeledpedestrianism = appealing

Hello? Don’t hang up.

‘Cycling’ is sport and recreation. ‘Riding a bicycle’ is everyday activity. No sweat. As easy as walking, but faster.

Get involved via: TwitterFacebookFlickr.

For advocacy to be effective, it needs to be ‘evidence based’.

 

Sunrise

Choose your imagery wisely. Research shows it does matter.

Apologies. It’s been a while. I’ve been spending most of my time recently, with my teaching hat on. But that hasn’t been such a bad thing. As it turns out, I am discovering that the issues that education faces (and society, in general) appear to have a variety of common threads. Those common threads seem to me, to be about, figuring out ways to make progressive change. How do we achieve better learning outcomes for all students? How do we achieve better transport outcomes for commuters?

My effectiveness as a teacher has increased markedly ever since I opted to go ‘evidence based’. As a result of implementing an evidence based teaching pedagogy, I have witnessed an amazing growth in achievement amongst all students. And of course, this success can be measured in test scores. Better test results equate to better learning outcomes. Easy. But more importantly, I can identify the actions that lead to this success. There is a correlation between my teaching practice and the achievement of better learning outcomes.

But there is another component to effective teaching that is equally important. In the teaching business, it is called student ‘agency’. It is a measurement of the quality of the conversations that students are having – with their teacher and among the students themselves. Conversations that reflect curiosity and inquiry. The teacher’s role is to provoke and stimulate these conversations. That’s where learning is at its most powerful. Self-generated, self-sustaining. Once again, a correlation exists; between the level of student agency and better learning outcomes.

Can you see the link yet?

As far as I can see, in the business of getting people on bikes, success is being measured in two ways. Firstly, it is being measured in terms of raw numbers. Bodies. On. Bikes. But I want to ask these questions. What ‘actions’ are generating these people to ride? Do the numbers stack up in terms of mode share? i.e. Is there a correlation between the actions to get more people riding bikes and people actually riding bikes? I mean, the number of people may be going up, but so is the population. It’s possible, eh?! And besides, who are these people? Why are they riding? Secondly, I success seems to be measured in the number of meters of cycle paths being painted. This is problematic. Just like the existence of a well appointed, functional classroom is no guarantee that effective teaching will be taking place. Boosterism is no substitute for the implementation of successful strategies.

And how are we doing on the ‘agency’ front? How are those conversations going? Are we experiencing success? Based on my daily interactions with people and motorists, I see no evidence of any significant change in attitudes towards cycling. In New Zealand, the conversations around cycling are still in the realm of sport and recreation. It’s an activity enjoyed by special interest groups. Its perception is still a long way from that of a normal everyday activity. Based on my experience in teaching, I am not surprised by this. That’s because the promotion of student agency is not standard practice in the education sector, either. It is a strange reality when implementing evidence based teaching practice results in one being seen as an outlier. That’s because it requires a very different mindset and way of thinking and engaging. It requires a willingness to allow the expertise of the crowd to come to the fore. It requires the leader to be good at managing and enhancing human interactions.

While I take no pleasure in critiquing advocacy groups, I also think there is a validity and value in doing so. To be effective, advocacy needs social movements that will give them the space to be bold and advocate for bigger and faster change. In order to do that, they need to be good at listening and engaging with a range of ‘voices’ and nudging the conversations in a more constructive and meaningful direction.

‘Cycling’ is sport and recreation. ‘Riding a bicycle’ is everyday activity. No sweat. As easy as walking, but faster.

Get involved via: TwitterFacebookFlickr.

Beyond “build it and they will come” lies a more nuanced narrative.

They keep building, and they keep coming.

The bridge this photo is taken from, is the original structure built over the Manukau Harbour, Auckland. I remember driving over it in a car with my family when I was a child. It was usually on the way to Auckland airport. Cars have not been on it for years. It is past its use by date and is due to be replaced. It now only provides access for people walking and cycling and fishing. I have been traversing it for the past 15 years or so. I have managed to capture a few snaps from it, and on it, over those years.

A 4 lane bridge was its replacement. That was in the 80’s. A decade or so ago, an extra 4+ lanes were added. That is what you are looking at, in the photo above. Check out the photo in this blog post to get a different perspective of those bridges and the motorway that feeds them. It funnels a lot of traffic. Those bridges form part of the motorway network that now, finally, encircles the Auckland isthmus. The anticipation has been huge. Finally, traffic congestion will be consigned to the dustbin of history. Or at least, that is what it was sold on. But as a small minority know, traffic does not operate like water. It doesn’t evaporate. Motorists will indeed use it. The anticipation of congestion free motoring will encourage its use. “Build it and they will come”, is the expression, I believe. Induced demand is the technical term.

I can see why it is tempting to generalise this axiom and apply it to a cycling setting as well. Needless to say, I have never been comfortable with this, and have tried to argue this point many times before. Of course, the best scenario for cycling would be to build a top shelf cycle lane and see it overflowing with people on bikes. Just like new, big budget motorways will generate lots of new users. A new, safe cycle path will generate more users. But not in the numbers we need to create a genuine #cyclisedcity. It will be used and appreciated by the current users, very much thank you.

Why is it that new cycling infrastructure will fail to deliver the significant induced demand that new motoring infrastructure will? It’s that lack of demand that is the critical factor. I have written about that before tooDriving is god. Driving is in the DNA. All that kind of stuff. Driving has a huge head start on all other modes. It’s the “teacher’s pet” of transport modes. That’s why “build it and they will come”, will only ever have limited application to cycling, compared to motoring. At least at this point in the evolutionary cycle. Cycling has a perception problem. It suffers from an outlier status. We know what’s needed. An urban environment that works for all users needs to be the goal. A #VisionZero kind of goal.

All cycling infrastructure is welcome. These technical solutions that make cycling appealing and safe are known and need to be embraced. This explains the increasing interest in The Netherlands. We look to there to learn about the bicycle infrastructure; to see how it works, first hand. But here lies the issue that I keep coming back to. Why is it that new cycling infrastructure will fail to deliver the significant induced demand that new motoring infrastructure will? Importing those infrastructure solutions is not a guarantee of increasing cycling mode share. Nor is having agreement on the best infrastructure solutions a guarantee that it will be built. For that to happen, there needs to be a public ‘buy in’. That human component.

The Dutch experience is quite useful for us as well, on that front. The “Stop the child murder” was a compelling, grass roots campaign. The infrastructure that we now admire so much was born out of that. And remember, they already had a strong, well established cycling culture and mode share. Something that is non-existent outside The Netherlands. So, while we may be advantaged by our ability to witness a successful model for a “cyclised city”, it is unlikely that we will be able to piggy back ourselves directly into a similar scenario. There are some essential foundation steps that are going to be needed before hand. That human component. And cynically speaking, there are business opportunities in developing infrastructure, that do not exist in developing grassroots movements for change.

Human behaviour is not always rational. Our ability to adapt can be terrifying and amazing, in equal measure. Shifting behaviour is a specific task requiring specific skills. That’s why a new shiny bicycle path, on its own, will not be enough to get us where we want to be. That new shiny bike path needs to be built on a foundation of positive perceptions towards cycling and an increasing awareness that car dependence is an unsustainable folly. Advocacy that embraces new ideas and robust dialogue would be a welcome addition towards achieving this goal.

‘Cycling’ is sport and recreation. ‘Riding a bicycle’ is everyday activity. No sweat. As easy as walking, but faster.

Get involved via: Twitter, FacebookFlickr.

Making cycling something that everyone can relate to and do.

 

Motorway

Would you like more lanes with your motorway, madam?

It is no secret that this blog has at times been openly critical of some aspects of the way cycling advocacy is approached. Nonetheless, the intent of this blog has always been about wanting to engage in a meaningful conversation. To present different views and interpretations that may not be appreciated or understood fully, yet. While no one likes to be criticised, including myself, I feel that it may be helpful to spell out that it is never my intention to make it a personal issue. For me, it has always only ever been about looking for the most effective ways of getting more people using bikes for short utility trips. And for what it’s worth, I am trying harder these days to be better at using criticisms that I receive, as an opportunity to strengthen my argument.

And I believe that my views do actually reflect the views of some people, and have in fact, lifted the level of conversation and understanding. That has to be one of the real values of the internet; the democratisation of ideas. I also believe that organisations will be better off if they are open to differing viewpoints – echo chambers and all that. Reasoned, critical voices need to be encouraged. As well as being critical, I believe that I have offered authentic and well argued alternatives. And on that matter, if you do support the ideas being presented on this site, or if you are mildly curious, why don’t you try approaching your local advocacy group and let them know.

One aspect of advocacy that I have been critical of has been around the nature of the relationship between advocacy groups and the national transport agency. It is a sensible and pragmatic approach to get a bike lane attached to a new motorway when it is being built. Of course, cycling needs all the help it can get. So while I am pleased to see the latest Auckland motorway project being given the thumbs down by the advocates, the potential for the relationship to be compromised should be a concern. Financial and political autonomy would be the dream scenario. Cycling for the people, by the people.

This leads me to another aspect of advocacy in which my thinking diverges critically from what is currently on offer and to which I have tried to offer clear and reasoned arguments for an alternative approach. NZTA and advocacy groups seem intent on selling cycling to enthusiastic sports and recreational cyclists; to convert these cyclists into everyday commuters. I have argued repeatedly that this strategy is of limited value. Or at the very least, it ignores a whole swathe of the population who will never ride like that. The growth market in cycling is in riding a bicycle; a comfortable, slow bicycle, for short, utility type trips. Like they do in Japan. Riding a bike is achievable to a whole lot of people if we think of the bicycle as replacing walking, not driving.

I accept that this is a slightly different goal than what we are currently being presented with. The goal that I believe we should be striving for is an inclusive and more specific one. It will make cycling available to young and old, male and female. Not just more cycling, but more people using bicycles for short, utility trips. It is a goal that will require our attention being focused on making our cities less car friendly. That’s a big target and will need to be broken down into smaller, manageable goals. I just find it hard to accept that it is wise to be relying on an organisation that loves cars that much, as the best source of advice on making cycling a real thing for everyone.

‘Cycling’ is sport and recreation. ‘Riding a bicycle’ is everyday activity. No sweat. As easy as walking, but faster.

Get involved via: Twitter, FacebookFlickr.

Minding the gap: real and perceived.

Path1

Mind the gap!

So there I was. Crossing the enormous intersection and just about reenter the bike path on the other side when a cyclist under took me. There wasn’t much space. You can see from the image above that the curb cut is narrower than the bike path. I let out a ‘yelp’. I got a fright. She turned back and gave me an earful. She saw me with headphones in my ears. Funnily enough, I could hear her telling me whose fault she thought it was. She may have also been telling me that I should have had a helmet on my head. But by that stage, she had already put quite a distance between us.

You see, I prefer to ride like a #wheeledpedestrian. Slow, steady, no sweat. In contrast, the cyclist in this story and the few I see on the bike lanes that I use everyday, are just that, cyclists. Fast commuters and sporty types. And increasingly, on e bikes. Riding fast over long distances seems to be symptomatic of bike cultures that exist in sprawling cities dominated by cars. My preference to shrinking the journey would be to use my bike to connect me to a fast and efficient transport network. Park n ride. But we don’t do that kind of civility just yet.

Path2

Mind the gap here too!

Of course, speed is at the core of the issue. I was in fact, being my usual cautious self. Slow and steady. That’s an intersection that requires one’s undivided attention. The reason I didn’t see the cyclist on this particular occasion was because she was out of sight, right behind another cyclist. As I watched them ride into the distance, my first thoughts were that they were friends, riding together. But finally I came to the conclusion that she, on the e bike was trying to match the speed of the sports cyclists. This was not the first time such a thing has happened. Nor, I imagine, will it be the last. I am constantly on high alert for the ‘threat’ of the silent and swift ‘predators’ of the cycle paths. The paths are often narrow. The image above shows how overgrown they can become. Sometimes they are covered in glass. Sometimes they have pedestrians on them, walking three abreast, with a dog. They are contested spaces.

As they say, speed kills. And as I say, it will take more than just bike lanes to make a cycling culture that is embraced by a broad membership of society.

‘Cycling’ is sport and recreation. ‘Riding a bicycle’ is everyday activity. No sweat. As easy as walking, but faster.

Get involved via: Twitter, FacebookFlickr.

And into the vacuum rode “bikeability”.

bikeability

A nightmare called “Bikeability”.

I used to believe that a cyclized city was just around the corner. I really believed that it wouldn’t be long before bicycles would feature prominently in a city’s transport landscape.

And then nothing.

And then the internet comes along and I see for my own eyes what cyclized cities look like and I converse with experts from these cities.

And then I quit my local advocacy group in frustration.

And then I hear Peter Zanzottera and Dr Hamish Mackie telling me that “bikeability” will be the game changer.

And then I say to myself, “aren’t you glad you retired“.

“Bikeability has taught cycle skills to 2 million UK children.” goes the sales pitch. Yeah, and how has that translated into people riding bikes in the UK? “Not so well”, was the reply. They have also chosen to ignore the contradictory research that says this programme will make no significant improvement to ridership rates. As if you needed research to prove it. The evidence is in the cities and towns devoid of people on bikes.

And the thing is, the very act of categorising an activity as something that needs to be taught creates a perception that it is complex; that it is not a normal, everyday activity. Riding a bike is not complex. Learning to ride a bike is not in the same category as learning to swim, as I have heard some cyclists claim it to be. I see evidence of this on a daily basis, in my capacity as a primary school teacher. I would even go so far as to suggest that bikeability and the notion that cycling needs to be taught operates as a barrier and red herring, in the same way that the helmet law does. Calm the streets, people! And then watch your city flourish. Unfortunately, that’s a much tougher proposition and focussing on teaching people to ride bikes simply delays the prospect of any serious change happening.

Either the good folk at NZTA are taking the piss, or they really are ignorant. I think I know the answer to this. There has to be some quid quo pro deal going on here between NZTA and the advocates. Seriously. Who needs enemies when you have allies like this? As I have said before, an effective advocacy organisation is one that is financially independent.

If you want to be good at something, you employ experts. Hey, just across the channel, there is a small country punching above its weight in terms of cycling rates. And don’t believe the line that it is a culture or language issue. The problem for NZTA is that the Dutch would tell it straight. They know what needs to be done. NZTA need a much more benign message. Something that they can work with to allow their motorway building programme to continue uninterrupted.

I’m not actually that surprised by this nonsense. It’s prevalent throughout society and organisations. “Wilful blindness” is all around us. It’s easy to recognise. This is what it looks like in the education sector.

‘Cycling’ is sport and recreation. ‘Riding a bicycle’ is everyday activity. No sweat. As easy as walking, but faster.

Get involved via: Twitter, FacebookFlickr.

Bikes, coffee and friendship

Done! And I’d like to think that it’s my best yet. But I’ll let you be the judge of that. At the end of the day I really just wanted to provide an antidote to that dreaded ‘Bike Warrior’.

Without wanting to patronise the intelligent readers of this site, the point of this video was…

I wanted to tell a story – about the potential role of the bicycle in our cities.
I wanted to convey – freedom, the buzz of city life, a to b transport, ease, coolness, simplicity.

Imagine you are off to meet someone for a coffee at a cafe…

It’s empathy that we so desperately need in this world. And as we know, narratives are a good way of achieving that.

Finally, a big shout out to my bike model and friend Emilio.

‘Cycling’ is sport and recreation. ‘Riding a bicycle’ is everyday activity. No sweat. As easy as walking, but faster.

Get involved via: Twitter, FacebookFlickrVine or Instagram.

Riding a bicycle in Japan looks like this

I have commented before on this site that capturing images of people riding bicycles in Japan is akin to shooting fish in a barrell. Bicycles are an integral part of daily life in Japan. All members of society are represented. There’s the 80+ year old gentleman riding to his chess club at the local community centre, the school students travelling to and from school, the young children hanging out in the afternoon, the mums transporting their young child and groceries home, the stylish teenage girls socialising at a restaurant, the elderly women doing the shopping.

The bicycles are similar in style – practical, comfortable, easy to ride. Apart from extensive bicycle parking provision, infrastructure for riding bicycles is largely absent. People on bicycles seem to be treated as fast moving pedestrians. In many cases I watched people on bicycles following desire lines. It was not unusual to see people riding contra-flow. Unfortunately, like everywhere else in the world, the car is the dominant urban force in Japan. But despite this, it is quite remarkable that city streets are relatively congestion free and people on bicycles are ever present.

I also noted that some of the tourism focused cities in Japan offer bicycle rentals. I captured one of those experiences and turned it into a short video. You can check it out, here.

‘Cycling’ is sport and recreation. ‘Riding a bicycle’ is everyday activity. No sweat. As easy as walking, but faster.

Get involved via: Twitter, FacebookFlickrVine or Instagram.

The science of promoting a cyclized city.

Through the arch

What lies beyond?

I voiced an observation on this site recently that the main focus of cycling advocacy seems to be based on campaigning for separated cycle paths. I also tried to point out that while that kind of infrastructure is essential in certain environments, there is also a range of other goals that need to be achieved before, or at least in conjunction, with this goal – to create a demand for those facilities. And there are a whole range of strategies that need to be employed in order to achieve those goals. They are strategies that focus on making it better for everyone to get around. Everyone except motorists, that is. Note how this target, as well as being the antithesis of the status quo of transport policy and city building, is also broader and more inclusive than ‘getting more people riding bicycles more often’.

I have also argued before, that the ‘more people riding bicycles more often’ goal, is too broad. That not just any kind of riding will do. There is a need to be more specific, more targeted. It’s the #wheeledpedestrian variety in particular, that our cities need. Bicycle advocacy seems to pride itself on being a broad church – of cyclists of all varieties. Because, of course, all cycling is good cycling. But I believe this position is problematic. It seems to rely on the assumptions that the people who currently engage in sports and recreational cycling:-

  • will be the next converts into slow, short distance, transport cycling,
  • understand and/or support the idea that moving people takes priority over moving cars,
  • are best placed and/or have the necessary skills to sell the vision of cities for people.

Years of experience in the classroom have informed me that it is direct, explicit, positive modelling that changes behaviour and produces the best results. I have also discovered that I am most effective in the classroom when I follow the research and choose to ignore the perceived wisdom of the crowd. It doesn’t win popularity contests but it is essential if we are to make any significant and timely progress. The Emperor may not exactly be naked but the spandex he’s wearing is not very flattering . Because positivity without an effective message will only ever be positivity without an effective message. There is a science to creating a cyclized city. Just like there is a science to designing bike lanes.

So please, keep cycling like you do, but start promoting cycling like a pro.

‘Cycling’ is sport and recreation. ‘Riding a bicycle’ is everyday activity. No sweat. As easy as walking, but faster.

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