Bicycle postage stamps

The United States Postal Service has announced Bicycling Forever Stamps will be issued in 2012.

Bicycle Forever Stamps 2012 USPS

In a press release, stamp services manager Stephen Kearne says, “We are excited to promote one of the nation’s most popular outdoor activities with the issuance of these four Bicycling stamps. These days, increasing numbers of Americans ride bikes to work or use them to run neighborhood errands. Many travel organizations offer cycling tours, from leisurely half-day jaunts to weeks-long excursions. No matter how long the ride, choosing to bike rather than to drive cuts down on traffic congestion, fuel consumption and vehicle emissions, which benefits the environment and helps improve air quality.”

USPS art director Phil Jordan designed the stamps using illustrations by John Mattos of San Francisco, CA. Each of the stamps features a different kind of bike and rider: a young child just learning to ride with training wheels, a commuter pedaling to work, a road racer focused on the finish line, and an airborne BMX rider.

That road racer focused on the finish line looks more like a tri-geek to me — short shorts, sleeveless jersey, no socks, and time trial bars — but I quibble.

Ted at Commute By Bike laments the choice of a lycra clad enthusiast with a full set of loaded panniers for the bike commuter illustration, and I admit that’s a little over the top for even avid cyclists who commute. We usually have a single pannier on the rear, and it mostly flops around half empty.

He also wonders about the USPS statement in their press release that mail is delivered by bicycle in Arizona and Florida. In urban and many suburban areas, delivery on foot is still common, and I occasionally run into mailmen outside of Arizona and Florida who deliver mail by bike, like this guy (whose name escapes me) in downtown Longmont, Colorado.


Longmont cycling mailman

Ted’s got a lot more about the philatelic history of bikes at Commute By Bike.

16 Comments

  • July 22, 2011 - 9:20 pm | Permalink

    There’s a BMX racer stamp  (the stem is a giveaway) but no obvious mountain biker. Something’s better than nothing.

  • July 22, 2011 - 9:35 pm | Permalink

    I like the postage stamp!! And Sal is right….there isn’t enough room to adequately portray every type of cyclist, but it shows a few of the bigger segments of the biking community. And the child riding makes me smile because my 3 year old just transitioned to a bigger “more real” two-wheeler (with training wheels, of course) and is terribly excited to ride it.

  • Anonymous
    July 22, 2011 - 10:17 pm | Permalink

    That “commuter” looks like one with a LONG trip to work with those four bags she’s got loaded up! Seriously, the stamps look nice.

  • Anonymous
    July 22, 2011 - 10:17 pm | Permalink

    That “commuter” looks like one with a LONG trip to work with those four bags she’s got loaded up! Seriously, the stamps look nice.

  • Kit
    July 22, 2011 - 11:21 pm | Permalink

    The artwork and color palette look like 1984, but I will buy these for ZPG mailings for sure. Currently I’m going through a set of the “Go Green” Forever Stamps, though it pains me a bit to use the “Carpool” suggestion, which is an illustration of a car.

  • JD
    July 22, 2011 - 11:54 pm | Permalink

    I live in NYC and women here ride bikes in skirts with baskets on the front. I would have like to have seen something like that… some one in more of a “running errands” mode than trekking “cross country” to work. Or perhaps someone a tad older. I see many retirees riding here also. Still, being a biker I’m happy to have any positive image out there.

  • July 24, 2011 - 1:13 am | Permalink

    I live in Miami Beach, FL and here the mail *is* delivered by bicycle.  There are a few mail receptacles scattered around.  I am going to take an educated guess that these are filled by truck at the start of the day.  The mail carriers then load their bikes up and cycle around the highly congested beach area delivering mail, likely reloading at the closest receptacle when the bike gets lighter.  I was pretty impressed when I saw that the first time, I can only imagine how heavy those bikes must be when loaded up!  Considering the congestion on the roads here – I believe this is a great way to do it!

  • July 24, 2011 - 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Why are we quibbling? They’re neat stamps.

  • July 25, 2011 - 6:24 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the link, Richard.

    Jennifer, My main nitpick is that all of the stamps reinforce the notion that cycling is only for sport and recreation.

    You know, these stamps won’t be released until 2012. Maybe there’s some time to lobby for some street clothes on that commuter.

    I’ll stock up on them regardless.

  • Pingback: Giving credit for L.A.’s anti-harassment ordinance, the backlash begins & fighting blocked bike lanes « BikingInLA

  • bikesgonewild
    July 26, 2011 - 9:16 am | Permalink

    …the good news is that ‘the u.s. postal service’ (‘member them) is willing to do a series of cycling stamps in the middle of a controversial investigation of a bicycle race team/sports holding company who ‘perhaps’ illegally benefited from their sponsorship…

    …but it looks like the artistic work was turned over to someone who might ‘appreciate’ bicycles but isn’t really tuned into the scene…

    …bmx bike looks to be a 24″ wheel bike, ya ???…& as you mentioned, the ‘roadie’ looks tri-geeky & the ‘commuter’ looks bike-touristy…the kid is perfect ‘cuz he or she can grow into whatever kinda rider they wanna be…

  • Connor
    July 26, 2011 - 7:48 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for taking time to write this great article,
    If anyone wants to know how to collect great used stamps on paper to add to there collection,charity or for resale please visit my website at http://kiloware.moonfruit.com/

    Remember if your collecting kiloware for charity you will get a better price by selling to a dealer (Like me)and give the money to charity (Charity will get up to 5x more and not have spend time sorting them out) 
    If you visit my website please google plus one me (1+), contact me with your site link and I will do the same for you!
    Thanks, Connor

  • Pingback: USPS 2012 Cycling Stamps « Urban Velo

  • July 27, 2011 - 8:14 am | Permalink

    St. Petersburg, Fl has it’s US Postal team for quite a while too, though the don’t ride Madones or rock spandex. 

  • July 27, 2011 - 8:24 am | Permalink

    St. Petersburg, Fl has it’s US Postal team for quite a while too, though they don’t ride Madones or rock spandex.  Instead it’s yellow cargo bikes and mailbags

  • Pingback: Bike News Roundup: Biking around Seattle in 2 minutes | Seattle Bike Blog

  • Leave a Reply