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How cyclists are perceived in a car-dominated society

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How cyclists are perceived in a car-dominated society

Old 06-21-13, 05:07 AM
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Looigi
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How cyclists are perceived in a car-dominated society

“Alongside other negative connotations of cycling (e.g. as a sign of poverty), (and) there may be a tension in the portrayal of cycling as ‘healthy’ or ‘sporty’; it offers potential access to a privileged yet also contested identity alongside the risk of failure.”

Erm...

https://www.alphagalileo.org/ViewItem...CultureCode=en
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Old 06-21-13, 05:32 AM
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Sounds like a non-cyclist trying to pull a psych term paper out of his/her backside.
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Old 06-21-13, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
“Alongside other negative connotations of cycling (e.g. as a sign of poverty), (and) there may be a tension in the portrayal of cycling as ‘healthy’ or ‘sporty’; it offers potential access to a privileged yet also contested identity alongside the risk of failure.”

Erm...

https://www.alphagalileo.org/ViewItem...CultureCode=en
I tend to agree with that statement - 2/3rds of the country is either overweight or obese, so they're not going to identify with cycling/cyclist. You even see the same thing with motorcyclist vs cars and compact car drivers vs SUVs.
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Old 06-21-13, 06:55 AM
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I definitely get some hostility towards my cycling. I'm perceived as being a bike snob just for suggesting that people cycle to work or to the grocery store.
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Old 06-21-13, 07:07 AM
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In my personal case, several of my close friends think I am either nuts or weird that I bike a lot.

However, I will be 75 this year and I am in far better health than all of them are, and I am older than all of them. I realize that I am very blessed with good health. They golf, but alway use a cart so there is almost no exercise there at all. They step on and off the golf cart and when they are done playing they set and drink beer. When I lunch with them I sometimes pick up on the fact that they seem to resent the fact that I am in such good health, and still can do almost anything I want to.
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Old 06-21-13, 07:32 AM
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North America in general views cycling as a recreation, fitness or sport activity; rather than a day to day mode of transportation or even a lifestyle.

While not be car-free, we use our vehicles less and bike more. Friends and coworkers think I'm strange or fanatical to ride in less than ideal conditions or that I take a longer than necessary route to work & some days an even longer route home on the MUP. Having been in a hit & run with a vehicle has left me more aware and cautious, but not deterred me from riding & advocating.

I have many friends that cycle for sport - road bike or MTB transported on their vehicle to a location suited to their activity. I give this activity some credit, but if they all cycled from home, there would be a greater awareness in our community. When questioned, the usual replies are: its not safe to ride on city streets, its not "practical", or I don't have time.

Last edited by GTryder; 06-21-13 at 07:34 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 06-21-13, 07:42 AM
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When I was young one of the books I read was Thorstein Veblens' The Theory of the Leisure Class, and one of his ideas was Conspicuous Consumption i.e. the purchase and display of expensive objects of little real practical use; a Hummer, for example.

Bicycles, for most Americans do not indicate wealth or status. They might even mock those who have striven all their lives tofinally have that Caddilac or Mercedes.

In fact bicycles are subversive and are a threat to the "American Way of Life."

Thats why I ride.
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Old 06-21-13, 07:58 AM
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If you read the underlying article, these conclusions are drawn mostly from interviews with cyclists, although we might argue that those interviewed are hardly representative of the cycling community. I suspect you could get just about any opinion you want by selecting who you choose to interview.

I will agree in the respect that my mindset is different if observing cyclists when leaving a high pressure meeting in my suit, getting into my BMW for a rush hour commute. I hardly feel connected or all that respectful toward cyclists. Of course, if I commuting in my bike or on a fast weekend ride, then it's altogether different...my mind shifts to disrespecting all those cagers.


Getting someone on a bike is the best thing you can do to increase their awareness of the bigger picture.
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Old 06-21-13, 08:18 AM
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I enjoyed the paper. Had to chuckle at the cyclists' resistance to becoming "proper cyclists".
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Old 06-21-13, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
In my personal case, several of my close friends think I am either nuts or weird that I bike a lot.

However, I will be 75 this year and I am in far better health than all of them are, and I am older than all of them. I realize that I am very blessed with good health. They golf, but alway use a cart so there is almost no exercise there at all. They step on and off the golf cart and when they are done playing they set and drink beer. When I lunch with them I sometimes pick up on the fact that they seem to resent the fact that I am in such good health, and still can do almost anything I want to.
And many, I feel, just hate the fact that we look so darn self-assured.

When I was heavy, I always walked the course for exercise. Now I don't need that workout and really enjoy cart golf. :-)
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Old 06-21-13, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
Bicycles, for most Americans do not indicate wealth or status.
More like that the issue is being many people in the US today are unfamiliar with different bike qualities and prices other than what they see at their local big box. In my youth and during my parents childhood, bicycles were considerably more of a big ticket item.
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Old 06-21-13, 09:13 AM
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They hate us for our freedom!

But no, really, I think some of the contempt that I've experienced really does come from someone that feels a bit trapped in traffic and is frustrated at seeing someone else rolling along merrily, actively having fun. I can say that I've been buzzed by more middle-aged fat men than any other demographic by a wide, wide margin, which suggests to me that there's a component of unfit people not liking cyclists; or maybe it's just that these people have no experience riding and thus have less empathy.
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Old 06-21-13, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
When I was young one of the books I read was Thorstein Veblens' The Theory of the Leisure Class, and one of his ideas was Conspicuous Consumption i.e. the purchase and display of expensive objects of little real practical use; a Hummer, for example.

Bicycles, for most Americans do not indicate wealth or status. They might even mock those who have striven all their lives tofinally have that Caddilac or Mercedes.

In fact bicycles are subversive and are a threat to the "American Way of Life."

Thats why I ride.
Comrade ironwood, ¡Venceremos!
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Old 06-21-13, 09:54 AM
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Motor vehicles hate cyclists because their drivers think that only they have the right to transit by the streets. In my small city (450k habitants) it is very difficult to use the bicycle in the streets without being hit by cars (this year we already have 4 dead cyclists because of that). They think they are the masters of the road. It does not mind whether they also use a bicycle sometimes, their personality changes as soon as they get into the car.
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Old 06-21-13, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
When I was young one of the books I read was Thorstein Veblens' The Theory of the Leisure Class, and one of his ideas was Conspicuous Consumption i.e. the purchase and display of expensive objects of little real practical use; a Hummer, for example.

Bicycles, for most Americans do not indicate wealth or status. They might even mock those who have striven all their lives tofinally have that Caddilac or Mercedes.

In fact bicycles are subversive and are a threat to the "American Way of Life."



Thats why I ride.

The irony is of course that there are bikes out there that can cost more than the typical small car. Yet "that Hummer driver" would likely not have a clue.
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Old 06-21-13, 11:02 AM
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I stopped at a party store once to get some water... as I was filling up my water bottles this guy comes up to me and asks me if it was hard finding a place to sleep every night...

He actually thought I was homeless...

I have a Trek with a Garmin Edge 500 and Contour video camera mounted on it... but I'm poor and homeless.
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Old 06-21-13, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by PedalingFool View Post
I stopped at a party store once to get some water... as I was filling up my water bottles this guy comes up to me and asks me if it was hard finding a place to sleep every night...

He actually thought I was homeless...

I have a Trek with a Garmin Edge 500 and Contour video camera mounted on it... but I'm poor and homeless.
Yeah, I've heard all kinds of comments like that. This winter I was at the Credit Union, it was a cold day with light snow coming down, the girls there are used to seeing me pull up to the door on my bike. There were 10 or 12 people in the room all talking about the weather. The teller, in the midst of all the conversation, looked at me and said "I feel so sorry for you in this weather." I said "Why? I can always drive my car if I want." You would think I dropped a bomb in the room. Everybody froze and stared slackjawed as I walked out.
It's socially acceptable to dress up like an acrobat, get together with a few friends once or twice a week and race around in a circle like a herd of spandex hamsters, but using a bike for transportation is considered an act of desperation.

Marc
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Old 06-21-13, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by PedalingFool View Post
I stopped at a party store once to get some water... as I was filling up my water bottles this guy comes up to me and asks me if it was hard finding a place to sleep every night...

He actually thought I was homeless...

I have a Trek with a Garmin Edge 500 and Contour video camera mounted on it... but I'm poor and homeless.
I've had the same kind of interaction with a barber who was giving me a buzz. He said he just assumed I was poor because I biked to the store. The bike parked in plain view right in front of his large store window was ~80% crapon fiber (by weight).
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Old 06-21-13, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
The irony is of course that there are bikes out there that can cost more than the typical small car. Yet "that Hummer driver" would likely not have a clue.
I was in a really bike friendly neighborhood when somebody told me to get off the road, I thought wouldn't it be hilarious If i had a $1K bike (they were in a 1980's Honda, blue book value of maybe $500?) and rolled up alongside to say "This bike is worth more than your car brah"
It may also be a good idea in terms of theft deterrent? Does bicycle grand theft get thieves in big trouble? Or is it like with the drivers who get a slap on the wrist for killing a cyclist?
Originally Posted by Brandonub View Post
They hate us for our freedom!
But no, really, I think some of the contempt that I've experienced really does come from someone that feels a bit trapped in traffic and is frustrated at seeing someone else rolling along merrily, actively having fun.
It's always great to get passed up by a few cars, then filter to the front at a stop/red, i might just be imagining things but it does seem like they take off extra fast because of it
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Old 06-21-13, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Astrozombie View Post

It's always great to get passed up by a few cars, then filter to the front at a stop/red, i might just be imagining things but it does seem like they take off extra fast because of it

Absolutely, I was honked at 3 times on the same street by the same car due to a series of lights. There's nothing funnier than a VW Beetle trying to squeel it's tires!
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Old 06-21-13, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
The irony is of course that there are bikes out there that can cost more than the typical small car. Yet "that Hummer driver" would likely not have a clue.
The real deal is that motorists don't give a darn what bicycles cost. The price of bicycles has no effect on how cyclists are perceived, except by other bicyclists.
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Old 06-21-13, 02:58 PM
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Yawn.
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Old 06-21-13, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
The real deal is that motorists don't give a darn what bicycles cost. The price of bicycles has no effect on how cyclists are perceived, except by other bicyclists.
True... yet indeed there are drivers out there that buy their cars as "bling" to show off... and fail to realize that some other type of vehicle on the road may also be expensive "bling."

But overall you are right, many motorists tend to think all bikes are toys....
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Old 06-21-13, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
True... yet indeed there are drivers out there that buy their cars as "bling" to show off... and fail to realize that some other type of vehicle on the road may also be expensive "bling."

But overall you are right, many motorists tend to think all bikes are toys....
1. It is immaterial to bicyclists if there are drivers out there that buy their cars as "bling" to show off.
2. It is immaterial to motorists what bikes cost.
3. Bicycle costs/prices are immaterial to those who perceive bikes as toys.
4. Only bicyclists make a big deal about the price of bikes and perceive bicycle price having some sort of snob appeal.
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Old 06-21-13, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
1. It is immaterial to bicyclists if there are drivers out there that buy their cars as "bling" to show off.
2. It is immaterial to motorists what bikes cost.
3. Bicycle costs/prices are immaterial to those who perceive bikes as toys.
4. Only bicyclists make a big deal about the price of bikes and perceive bicycle price having some sort of snob appeal.
5. Only motorists make a big deal about the price of cars and perceive car price having some sort of snob appeal.
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