I first got involved with bicycling as a political act way back in 2005, when I went on my first social bike rides and later that year decided to start the Bike Oven. I stepped into a furtive subculture that had been curated and cultivated by a band of loosely affiliated people associated with the LA Eco Village.
Newspaper articles about cycling at the time include constant references to “lycra-clad” bike riders, the running of stop signs (a crime punishable by death when carried out astride a bicycle according to most people at the time), and other vague stereotypes about cyclists that put them firmly in the “other” column on the grand chart of social acceptability.
Instead of writing incredulous stories mocking those who choose to ride a bike for transportation, journalists have gradually come to accept cycling as a growing trend and as a valid means of transportation.
Case in point, I ran across a nice article online Sarah Laskow, a blogger for The Media Consortium, entitled, “Weekly Mulch: Why Building a Bike-Safe City is Key to a Clean Energy Future“.
It’s an article about bicycling, and it’s also an article about other articles about bicycling – a sign, to me at least, that journalists have found a new story hook (“Hey, look at this trend” and “This trend is a serious thing for serious people to comment about”) to consider when writing about bicycling.
I couldn’t have done it without the LA Eco Village people, Critical Mass, etc. The journalists couldn’t have done it without all of us out here in the grassroots cycling world. The politicians will need us all on board, singing the praises of bicycles, writing articles to a general readership, and voting for politicians based on what they’ll do for our morning bike ride to work. Let’s keep these great articles and blog posts coming, and keep riding your bikes!