|My cargo bike Root Beer a few months ago, loaded |
down for Chinese New Years deliveries
What I am pondering though is what efforts have the greatest impact on bicycling advocacy. What moves the needle and gets a serious change in transportation infrastructure spending to happen like it did in the 70s in the Netherlands?My advice for changing the culture:
- Enjoy whatever ride you can get. Your joy is your most persuasive argument.
- Pretend that it's normal to ride bikes everywhere (don't make a big deal out of it or try to create a cool trend) and people will gradually accept it as normal. Many will begin to see it as a realistic option. But if you try too hard you'll create pushback.
- Build on a latent desire. The Dutch advocates for a bike friendly culture used the limited but existing bike history and culture as a starting point for discussion. In essence they were not arguing for a new Utopian social design as much as they were advocating for an extension of the Dutch values of simplicity and freedom -- the kind of thing we all experience with our first bikes as a children.
- Recognize that change is always incremental. Quietly celebrate the small victories.
- Timing. Be in the right place at the right time. The Dutch advocates were so tuned into the changes in their culture that they sensed the right time to step up to the microphone with an alternative transportation paradigm. They'd been patiently waiting for the moment.
- Tenacity. Out live the opposition.