Bikes as transport – the new story hook

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!

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  1. Posted October 5, 2010 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Even in 2010, cars still spew carcinogenic fumes all over anyone who dares go outside. Even without all the global issues, this is unacceptable.

    A lot of people are broke, overweight, short on time, and long on pollution. That sounds overwhelming until you consider the profound impact the bike has on all these issues.

    Using a bike to run short errands (aka most of them) simultaneously shrinks waistlines, healthcare costs, budget deficits, air pollution, and revenues for the oil lobby while expanding whole new markets and economies to support infrastructure and gear that has been documented to dramatically boost commerce and everyone’s quality of life.

    It does all this right now for very little money. Please just ride a bike as much as you can and get everyone you can to do the same.

  2. Posted October 5, 2010 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    “Cycling as serious transport for better health, air, and economy now. ” That’s my motto. Glad you agree.

  3. Sarah Laskow
    Posted October 19, 2010 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Glad you liked the article…The blog I write, the Weekly Mulch, always links to a set of other articles — that’s part of it’s raison d’etre. But I think you’re right that it shows that it’s topic for serious conversation in the media. Because of the limitations of the blog, I couldn’t write about biking if others weren’t writing about it!

    I think it’s important to note, though, that the Mulch (and the Media Consortium, which publishes it) focus in particular on *progressive* media outlets. Biking is definitely one area that the progressive media has caught onto as a topic faster than the traditional media. I think that it has at least something to do with the high percentage of reporters in the progressive media that have chosen biking for themselves as a mode of transportation.

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