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Old 09-26-06, 03:06 PM   #1
mlts22 
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How does one change the image of bicycling?

Even with Lance Armstrong's chain of victories, here in Texas, bicycling is still viewed as:

A children's sport [1].
A way to get around for people either too poor to afford a car, some hippy whose Love Bug is in the shop, or someone convicted of DWI [2].

Now the puzzle... how does one convince people that bicycling is actually as good if not better than hopping in a car or Suburban [3] for various distances, and that it is a valid sports activity, and not just for kids.

[1]: Same with soccer... Only a rare few actually bothered to care about the World Cup other than snickering about the Head Butt of Death.

[2]: Texas is doing some serious clamping down on DWI (recently adding a $1000/year fee for convicted drunk drivers to keep their license), but its still too common, as people do drive without licenses. In theory, after DWI #3, the person gets tacked with felony hard charges.

[3]: Its common to see people hop into their vehicle, drive 30-40 feet, repark, then walk into another shop in the same strip mall.
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Old 09-26-06, 03:17 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlts22
Even with Lance Armstrong's chain of victories, here in Texas, bicycling is still viewed as:

A children's sport [1].
A way to get around for people either too poor to afford a car, some hippy whose Love Bug is in the shop, or someone convicted of DWI [2].

Now the puzzle... how does one convince people that bicycling is actually as good if not better than hopping in a car or Suburban [3] for various distances, and that it is a valid sports activity, and not just for kids.

[1]: Same with soccer... Only a rare few actually bothered to care about the World Cup other than snickering about the Head Butt of Death.

[2]: Texas is doing some serious clamping down on DWI (recently adding a $1000/year fee for convicted drunk drivers to keep their license), but its still too common, as people do drive without licenses. In theory, after DWI #3, the person gets tacked with felony hard charges.

[3]: Its common to see people hop into their vehicle, drive 30-40 feet, repark, then walk into another shop in the same strip mall.
I was with you untill the soccer bit, just not my cup of tea.
If we have to some how connect cycling to soccer i will have to take up hang gliding and give up cyling.
What would be the sense in riding a bike 30-40 feet?
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Old 09-26-06, 03:36 PM   #3
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I was with you untill the soccer bit, just not my cup of tea.
If we have to some how connect cycling to soccer i will have to take up hang gliding and give up cyling.
What would be the sense in riding a bike 30-40 feet?
I personally don't keep up with soccer either (not my cup of tea either), but was using that as an another example.

Guess its a chicken and egg scenario here. Until businesses put in support for bicycle commuters, people won't commute, and the other way around... wish I knew something to do (other than the usual advocacy channels), even if its getting a business to install a bike rack.
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Old 09-26-06, 03:54 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by mlts22
A children's sport [1].
.
I see it being perceived more as an elisit euro doper sport, a sport for arrogant males, a recreational activity for beer bellied old farts, a playground mobility for chlidren and a way for the down and out to get around.

Al
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Old 09-26-06, 03:55 PM   #5
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And it is not like Lance was liked in Texass either with the ppl throwing things at him, and him needing an escort by, you guessed it, a chevy suburban....
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Old 09-26-06, 03:59 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by noisebeam
I see it being perceived more as an elisit euro doper sport, a sport for arrogant males, a recreational activity for beer bellied old farts, a playground mobility for chlidren and a way for the down and out to get around.

Al
+1
I think that about covers it...
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Old 09-26-06, 04:05 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by noisebeam
I see it being perceived more as an elisit euro doper sport, a sport for arrogant males, a recreational activity for beer bellied old farts, a playground mobility for chlidren and a way for the down and out to get around.

Al
Sadly all true... so how does the image get changed?

Have a president or two ride bikes around "down home" on the ranch? How about if the winner of seven major annual races focuses on cycling rather than cancer?

Maybe the price of gas has to go so high that moms cycle with their little darlings to school instead of driving the 1/2 mile in the SUV.

How about if one of the major networks put on a show featuring Real Cyclists...

What about if there was a bicycle night at the local Baskin Robbins?

How about if bike racks were installed at the school and Sponge Bob started riding a bike when he leaves the pineapple under the sea.

The real answer is no one thing will do... it has to be a gradual change in society.
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Old 09-26-06, 04:21 PM   #8
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The only way to get cycling accepted in Texas is to start with Mountian (off road) bikes. Once it is made clear that you can use a bike to get rarther off road during hunting season without spooking the game and that a really skilled hunter can even shoot without dismounting then bikes will be accepted.

For the road selling all bikes with insulated panniers for beer would be a good start however.
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Old 09-26-06, 04:26 PM   #9
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A co-worker also enlightened me that people stereotype bicycle commuters as convicted DUIs. Having started bicycle commuting in grade school, I guess it never occurred to me.

At any rate, my approach, whether it really works or not, is to try to show some class, show the stereotypes are wrong (unpredictable, unlawful, not concerned about others) by following traffic code pretty strictly, making a point of being predictable, stopping for people in crosswalks, saying hi to the dog-walkers, stuff like that. Sort of "ambassador" behavior. Hopefully it's not all wasted effort
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Old 09-26-06, 04:32 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by mechBgon
A co-worker also enlightened me that people stereotype bicycle commuters as convicted DUIs. Having started bicycle commuting in grade school, I guess it never occurred to me.

At any rate, my approach, whether it really works or not, is to try to show some class, show the stereotypes are wrong (unpredictable, unlawful, not concerned about others) by following traffic code pretty strictly, making a point of being predictable, stopping for people in crosswalks, saying hi to the dog-walkers, stuff like that. Sort of "ambassador" behavior. Hopefully it's not all wasted effort
Whats really bad is now the DUI's are riding bikes around drunk, giving us a bad rep.
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Old 09-26-06, 04:36 PM   #11
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Whats really bad is now the DUI's are riding bikes around drunk, giving us a bad rep.

Not a lot of DUI cyclists in Spandex.
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Old 09-26-06, 05:26 PM   #12
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Sounds like a regional problem to me. Lost of normal people ride bikes in Santa Barbara.
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Old 09-26-06, 05:38 PM   #13
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Sounds like a regional problem to me. Lost of normal people ride bikes in Santa Barbara.
Here too Almost all cyclists I encounter commuting or recreationally are as normal as any random set of folks one would encounter otherwise. My post was about the perception that I perceive some non-cyclists have about road cycling as a sport and transport, with a little bit of exaggeration thrown in for effect.

Al
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Old 09-26-06, 05:50 PM   #14
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Cycling is pretty much accepted here too. Most people can differentiate between a serious cyclist and some borracho riding his kid's bike on the wrong side of the street or on the sidewalk.

But then there are the "italianos". These arse clowns are the ones that give cyclist a bad rep. The ones that ride in packs usually 4 or 5 abreast, running stop signs, yelling at people to get out of their way. Sad thing is, that they don't see themselves that way.
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Old 09-26-06, 06:26 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Keith99
The only way to get cycling accepted in Texas is to start with Mountian (off road) bikes. Once it is made clear that you can use a bike to get rarther off road during hunting season without spooking the game and that a really skilled hunter can even shoot without dismounting then bikes will be accepted.

For the road selling all bikes with insulated panniers for beer would be a good start however.
Already done: mtn bike magazine reported once (or was it bike mag?) about one of the nicest trail systems to be found in that part of the world was in Waco Texas. It was in a state park in the middle of the city, where the ranger was an avid mtn biker..... it was sort of a mtn bike meca for those who live in the area. I have a hard time supporting the idea of shooting while riding though but the idea of them as good off road transport makes sense (since they are of more use often than a powered vehicle)
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Old 09-26-06, 06:33 PM   #16
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As long as cycling is viewed more as 'sport' and 'recreation', nothing's gonna change. IMO, Lance didn't help to raise the visibility of cycling as basic transportation one single iota.
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Old 09-26-06, 06:35 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by genec
Sadly all true... so how does the image get changed?
...How about if the winner of seven major annual races focuses on cycling rather than cancer?
Sad? Are you serious? Or are your priorities that far out of whack? I suggest you refocus on what is important in the greater scheme of real life.
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Old 09-26-06, 06:58 PM   #18
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The first thing you should is stop caring about what other people think about your passions and interests.
Caring about what other people think about that is pathetic, and only makes you look pathetic.
And rightfully so, I might add.
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Old 09-26-06, 07:07 PM   #19
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I think the problem is TV and the Big Screen.
I mean, try to imagine Danny Glover and Mel Gibson chasing bad guys on a Tandem.
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Old 09-26-06, 08:12 PM   #20
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I would really love to see the action movie where everyone was riding a bicycle. Yes it would be a comedy, but it would still be very cool.
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Old 09-26-06, 08:41 PM   #21
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The first thing you should (do) is stop caring about what other people think about your passions and interests.
Caring about what other people think about that is pathetic, and only makes you look pathetic.
And rightfully so, I might add.
^^^Bicycle advocacy at its finest.
Like the OP I would also like to change the image of bicycling in my area. Calling us pathetic certainly won't help attain this goal.
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Old 09-26-06, 09:29 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlts22
Even with Lance Armstrong's chain of victories, here in Texas, bicycling is still viewed as:

A children's sport [1].
A way to get around for people either too poor to afford a car, some hippy whose Love Bug is in the shop, or someone convicted of DWI [2].

Now the puzzle... how does one convince people that bicycling is actually as good if not better than hopping in a car or Suburban [3] for various distances, and that it is a valid sports activity, and not just for kids.

[1]: Same with soccer... Only a rare few actually bothered to care about the World Cup other than snickering about the Head Butt of Death.

[2]: Texas is doing some serious clamping down on DWI (recently adding a $1000/year fee for convicted drunk drivers to keep their license), but its still too common, as people do drive without licenses. In theory, after DWI #3, the person gets tacked with felony hard charges.

[3]: Its common to see people hop into their vehicle, drive 30-40 feet, repark, then walk into another shop in the same strip mall.
Texas, schmexas! Some of our reputation is deserved, some is not.

Racing to me seems an elite affair with almost no spinoffs for us touring guys, or commuters from what they tell me.

Cycling is, like it or not, associated with left wing anti-auto environmentalist wackos. For a sample, look at the politics and religion threads, as well as sneering about 'cagers' and 'fossil fuel' addicts.

You can make a great statement for cycling and safe driving while you are in your car as well as on a bike, by driving more slowly and courteously, and making it a point to share the raod with riders. Everyone talks about 'how can we control traffic' when in fact, when you are in a car, you are in a great position to control traffic for the benefit of cyclists whom you see.

For myself, I find riding to be great advertisement for cycling as recreation and short commutes.

roughstuff
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Old 09-26-06, 09:50 PM   #23
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I would really love to see the action movie where everyone was riding a bicycle. Yes it would be a comedy, but it would still be very cool.
Why a comedy? I've got a script right here for a hard action movie about a bike messenger who runs afoul of the NSA and international terrorists. Lots of wire-fu type action. The title?? FIXED!!
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Old 09-26-06, 10:00 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by noisebeam
I see it being perceived more as an elisit euro doper sport, a sport for arrogant males, a recreational activity for beer bellied old farts, a playground mobility for chlidren and a way for the down and out to get around.

Al
which part of that is wrong?
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Old 09-26-06, 10:44 PM   #25
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I think that cycling advocates need to distinquish utilitarian cycling from recreational cycling. Sure there is the over lap of the bicycle. But environmental, less cars on the road, and less oil consumed benefits goes to utilitarian cycling, not recreational cycling. That's just the way it is. Driving to the forrest with a mountain bike on an SUV or driving to an assembly point for a group ride with a road bike strapped to the car is... another car on the road. If you want people to drive less, then you have to stay away from Lance Armstrong.
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