Sunday, November 30, 2008

uncultured in the antipodes

I used to think that cycling culture was a good thing, and that I was a part of cycling culture. I have a passion for cycling. I am president of my Uni BUG, and an active member of my City BUG, I serve on transport committees and work to design better maps and signage. I help to organize rides of silence, ride to work days, awareness rides.

But I have decided that cycling culture is not a good thing, so I am setting myself free of it all so I may continue to just be my unique self.

Why? Because I have had a blue with a Blog, and it has made me blue.

It used to live in my list of Blogs I liked, but by the time you read this it will be gone. It is because of this:
http://www.copenhagenize.com/2008/11/american-in-sweden.html


It is not a “cracking good read” It is a mean and nasty bit of work. “bicycling in Sweden is not about a bunch of environmentally aware yuppies working hard at being pleased with themselves. Bikes in Sweden are not conveyances for spandex-coated fashion plates wearing color-coordinated jerseys and (maybe) helmets.

And on it drivels. I took exception to this and made a comment. I was assured “i doubt very much that the writer was referring you personally. i doubt he even knows any of us personally.” Well der… so vilification of any identifiable group won’t be frowned upon because the statement referred to an unidentified individual, not the group. But the writer WAS talking about me, because I am all of the people he mentions. I ride my bike with environmental awareness, and I usually do it in lycra, and of course I am colour coordinated, give me a break I am a woman after all!

The piece also says some very cruel things about larger, older fellows on expensive bikes. Well, middle aged men with disposable income are going to buy toys. And bikes are the very best toys for them to buy because they will hopefully ignite a passion which will make those larger fellows a bit smaller, while filling their hearts with joy. This is a good thing.

“He is clearly miffed that cycling is so religiously dominated by sub-cultural groups when it could do so much good if it was mainstreamed, as it is in so many places in the world.”

Eh? Oh, sorry, this guy is from Copenhagen and probably doesn’t speak Canadian. I mean Say What? Or WTF? The meaning of this sentence is totally beyond my comprehension, so I guess that is proof I am not part of the Culture which is intimidated? Frightened? Disgusted? ….by people who ride with passion.

I have news for the purveyors of this “Culture”. Cycling isn’t a given outside of the hallowed confines of northern Europe. It takes people who are passionate enough, determined enough and NUTS enough to get out there day after day and be a presence on the roads. We are the ones who care about making cycling safe and accessible for everyone.

The statement “Getting the bike accepted once again as a cheap, effective means of transport by people with no interest in cycling is a tough goal to achieve. Elitism by many in the so called cycling community has not helped”

Could not be less true. Townsville’s elite cyclists, and I mean the real sports cyclists who can mix it up with the best, are founding members of BUGS, and can always be relied upon to show up for awareness rides and memorial rides. They are lovely, caring people and if others would get off their high horses long enough to say ‘G’day’ to those they perceive as elite they may be surprised by the quality of friendship they discover.

Nobody supports mainstream cycling more than existing cyclists. Even sports cyclists and filthy alternate hippy types like me. So just relax all you cultural Gurus, we’ll keep the passion alive and get cycling into the mainstream on our own. Like most things that take root and grow in Australia from a foreign seed, it might not turn out like you expected, it will be uniquely ours.

Parting shot for the anti lycra crowd – it is a delightful 33 degrees Celsius here today, and humidity is about 90 %. Lets go for a nice long ride shall we? Wear whatever you feel comfortable in of course!

Parting shot #2 – I hope the 13 years that have passed since the original piece was written has been kind to the author. Otherwise he may have woken up recently to find himself *gasp* middle aged, or *horrors* with a large butt! HA!

3 comments:

Bluenoser said...

I wonder if he has noticed the guys on Harleys with matching clothing and accessories.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

-B

Dee said...

You will notice that Zac has a weakness for colour coordination if it involves women in high heels.

Bluenoser said...

Not that there is anything wrong with that... ha.

It sounded more like a rant about people that can afford to do what they want. Bright colours attract attention.

Hope your and Boab's week goes well and just keep doin' what you do, no floods in the near future I hope.

-B