You Could At Least Dress The Part . . .
I was at a cycling conference last week, thanks to the generousity of that Nice Carlton Reid - he was one of the speakers, and had a free guest’s ticket, which I grabbed at when offered.
The theme was “Cycling and the Sustainable Door to Door Journey”. Not very exciting-sounding, and with speakers on the bill from transport planning departments & train operators, it had the potential to turn into one of those days. Zzzzzzzzzzzz.
But it was actually well worth the trip to That London, with quite a few of the presentations doing a good job of overcoming my inner cynicism about how The People Who Run The System view cycling.
What was interesting was that almost without exception, the talk was about everyday cycling. The sort you do when you just grab your bike & jump on, heading off to work, the shops, the pub, wherever. Almost as if it was about treating a bike as a means of transport, rather than as a toy. Of course, I suppose that was to be expected at a conference about transport. But I do wonder if cycling in the UK is finally, as NedRailways CEO Anton Valk suggested, reaching a tipping point.
Lots of the presentations included pictures of everyday cyclists doing everyday things - just the sort of thing that you can see in technicolour over at the usual suspects’ sites in Amsterdam & Copenhagen. Oh, and this one in London. Carlton made a point of comparing these with the Bicycl Industry’s main sales message for urban cyclists. It’s basically a case of tweeds / floaty skirts Vs Cordura, helmets, smog masks, etc.
I know which group I’d rather spend time with.
Anyway, walking back to Kings Cross, I passed the Cycle Surgery shop on Pentonville Road. Maybe it was that I’d just spent a day being indoctrinated into sensible cycling clothing, or maybe it was just the time of day. But I found the window display absolutely ludicrous - especially as I’d just been passed by a courier riding a Christiana Cargo Bike. The contrast was just too ridiculous. Here we see a mannequin on a folder (sensible man - you can take that on the train at any time). He’s wearing a suit (good, sensible clothing) . . . accessorised with . . . a hi-viz bib, helmet, killer cyborg shades, and a smog mask. Oh, and despite being on a folder with a rack, he’s got a courier bag over his shoulder.
Maybe I’m just being over-critical, but does this look like the sort of image that non-cyclists (the 98% of the population) would see in the shop window and think, “Yeah, I’ve just gotta get me some of that!”
What do you think?