Today is the National Bike to Work Day -- a special day set aside to encourage people to try cycling in to work.
I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, setting aside a special day will encourage some people to try an alternative mode of transportation. But on the other hand, the only way to actually change culture is to make utility cycling normal. That is, we will only be successful when we treat it as nothing special. It is just a common sense alternative to driving. And creating hoopla around a special event in some ways undercuts the mindset of normality.
We've got to move away from the image of the cyclist as the enthusiast, athlete, or environmentalist because most people don't see themselves as any of those. Cycling that will make a social difference has got to be about ordinary people, wearing ordinary clothes, doing ordinary activities on ordinary bikes -- because ordinarily it makes the most sense. We're needing to tweak what people see as ordinary.
I'm not sure what the solution is -- other than to continue highlighting cycling as a legitimate sensible option. I hope you were able to ride to work today.
Photo from Richmond.com