Hi. After a long hiatus, I’m jumping back into blogging again with a statement on why I do what I do here.
I started Cyclelicious in July, 2005 as a counter to the mainstream “common sense” belief that cycling is an insanely dangerous way of getting around. I wanted to remind people of that cycling is fun and a reasonable way to get around while at the same time advocating for safer streets for all road users. I enjoy recreational riding of all types, but my emphasis has always been and remains on utility cycling.
Some of my views have shifted over these past fourteen years, and I plan to spend 2019 expanding on what I’ve learned.
- Land use is the most effective way to improve conditions for cycling. If you live 30 miles from the office to find a place an affordable place to live, that’s at least a two hour bike commute across conditions that likely aren’t that great. If you want to enjoy exurban living, great, but you shouldn’t impede infill development closer into the job centers. I’d like to expound much more on this later, but in the meantime, read this latest update on California SB 743 rules that changes how traffic impacts are handled in environmental impact reports for developments.
- Diverse views matter. It’s easy for me mock someone riding a $20 flea market special without a $120 helmet while wearing $500 worth of kit because I can afford these things for my entire family. I’ve learned to listen to people who decide to spend their limited funds on other things. That twenty dollar bike works. Jeans and skirts and regular shirts work. There are reasons people do things that are not obvious to those of us with privilege, means, money, time, and, often, access to a car or truck as a Plan B. The single mom with a deadbeat ex, for example, crossing a busy roadway with her young children to catch the bus might be desperately trying to avoid losing her job and subsequent eviction.
- Perception matters. I used to post videos of me riding in heavy traffic, thinking this would convince people that cycling is perfectly safe! Ha ha, silly me – it turns out this just reinforces the idea that I’m a “daredevil cyclist.” Very few people are willing to mix it up with traffic, and that’s okay. Because of that, my view on facilities has shifted 180 degrees over the past two decades.
- Safety gear detracts from the real conversation. I used to be enthusiastic about helmet use, but I’ve since come around to the idea that promoting helmet use for an activity that isn’t that much more dangerous than driving a similar distance. I think our risk assessment has become skewed due too often to “wear a helmet” as the risk mitigation to the exclusion of everything else. If you’re riding fast, sure, wear a helmet. If you’re toodling three blocks away to go have ice cream, you’re probably not going to fall, and even if you do it won’t be serious.
Will I continue again with product reviews? I’m honestly undecided. I’ve never really been a “gear” guy, but I do enjoy attending industry confabs and playing with the occasional gadget. In the meantime, I appreciate your support either through social media sharing or by using the Cyclelicious affiliate tag if you do your shopping on Amazon.
Have a wonderful wonderful!