Thursday, January 6, 2011

Don't Forget That Cycling is Fun!

kids on bikes photo


Cyclists and bike advocates can get very sensitive about how they are perceived—and rightly so. It's not at all uncommon to see commercials, skits and op eds mocking cycling as a less-than-serious, perhaps even a childish, transportation choice. But while some folks may campaign to have such anti-cycling ads taken down, it's worth remembering that cycling can also be childish in the best sense of the word. Because after all, cycling is fun!

Peter Walker, of the Guardian's bike blog, reports on a survey of adults and children regarding cycling. According to Walker, the results emphasize the strong contrast between how kids see cycling, and how their parents do. It doesn't take a genius to guess which group cycles more:

While 66% of parents think of "fun", slightly more associate it with health and fitness and around a third make a link with environmental benefits or with road safety worries. In contrast, for kids it's all about the fun (named by 89%): the other top seven notions are "exciting"; "good for me"; "makes me healthy"; "fast"; "stunts"; "wheelies"; and "skids". I know safety is of paramount importance, but wouldn't it be good if more adults looked at a bike a thought "Wheelie!" rather than, "Oooh, a bit worthy"?

This particular insight is not exactly new, but it is important to remember. While we should continue to explore everything from separated bike lanes through efforts to eliminate truck blindspots, we should also utilize cycling's fun factor to our full advantage.

Whether it is bike contrails bringing color to the city, or stunning bike stunts that make your jaw drop, let's not forget to celebrate the joyous side of cycling too.

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