I walked into work this morning singing a tune by Todd Snider. Then it occurred to me how perfectly the song employs the attitudes of car culture; the lyrics would be completely ineffective on someone who didn’t understand these values.
You oughta hear the **** that I get from my daughter
She says that she can’t stand the sight of the car I bought her.
It’s gonna ruin her life forever if she don’t ride a ragtop.
Her and her mother spend my money pretty much non-stop.
They’re trying to break me for the sake of the neighborhood.
They want to make everybody up and down the street
To think that we’re doing good.
Later the character in the song confronts a teenager at a drive-through window, and asks, “What are you driving, a bicycle, you little punk?”
Warning: Contains colorful language
Tom Bowden’s recent guest post How to Talk About Cycling to a Conservative continues to draw interest. But this, really, is what cycling advocates are up against (as though we didn’t know this already): Whether you are conservative or liberal, we are up against a culture with deeply held attitudes about what constitutes prosperity. With just a few lines invoking a car and a bicycle, just about anyone would understand what this song is about.
A lighter weight commuter bike won’t necessarily get you to work any faster. A British doctor undertook a “study” by commuting with two bikes, one heavy, one light. He found that his 20 lb, $1500, carbon-famed bike got him to work about one minute faster than his 30 lb, $80 steel-framed bike.
The trip included a motorway, country lanes, farm roads and an uphill stretch of about 450 yards.
The result? The average journey on the steel-framed bike was one hour, 47 minutes, compared to one hour, 48 minutes on the carbon-framed bike.
“This study has shown that spending a lot of money on a bicycle for commuting is not necessarily going to get you to work more quickly,” Groves said. “A reduction in the weight of the cyclist rather than that of the bicycle may deliver greater benefit at reduced cost.”
Bikerumor has Top 10 Ways to Wrap a Bicycle for Christmas.
This is my favorite:
Put the bike on the roof, while unwrapping other presents act like you heard something outside, get recipient to go with you outside and act surprised when you see bike on roof and say: “Santa must’ve left it there when he couldn’t fit it down the chimney!
Adam, of NYC Bicycle Commuter, commented here on Friday, “I think most people become bike commuters gradually, starting with what they have. Very few wake up in the morning and decide ‘I’m buying a commuter bike and I’ll be riding to work from now on.'” His own blog expands on that thought:
[When a person becomes “serious” about bicycle commuting, they] start looking around for advice and ideas to improve their experience to add flexibility and capacity, as well as some safety features to their bike and their gear. Their choices will depend on the style they want to maintain, their environment, who they’re influenced by, whether they have any friends who cycle and/or commute by bike.
If you have a friend who is a roadie or an avid cross country or mountain biker but they don’t commute by bike, they will most likely give you the wrong advice as well. They will be naturally predisposed towards their choice of equipment and may know little to nothing about commuting by bike. A typical racing road bike or full suspension mountain bike are far from ideal commuter bicycles.
So, what is it that a road biker, a cross country biker, and a mountain biker don’t know about commuter bikes? Adam answers in detail.