Help for our friends in the media

Ah, Spring is in the air! Seems like articles about cycling are in bloom as well. As a public service to those who have publication that have not written an article about people commuting by bicycle, we present the following media template:

You will first need to find a local cyclist who is willing to give you quotable material. Find a busy street and snag a passing cyclist. Semi-professionals make the best interview. You may also want to get quotes from local drivers – just ask a neighbor, or get the name of a co-worker’s relative who would like to be quoted in the paper as getting a driver to stop and take the time to talk to you will be difficult at best.

Open with statement about how Ms. (or Mr.) Commuter is brave; they ride X miles to work in bleak weather and traffic.

Get quote on the economical benefits or riding a bike. Insert local, average price per gallon of gasoline. If it is too much trouble finding the data, go to

Get quote regarding the environmental benefits to riding a bicycle. If necessary, just say they are “concerned about global warming.”

Get quote on health benefits achieved by the person riding the bicycle. If they don’t offer a good quote, go with the standby “20 minutes of exercise a day makes you as healthy as a person 10 years younger.”

[Note: Avoid making commuting by bicycle sound like fun.]

Explain that cyclists don’t like cars because they pass too close, don’t pay attention to cyclists and go too fast.
Explain that drivers don’t like cyclists because they don’t obey traffic laws, are difficult to see and ride in an unpredictable manner. [Do NOT bother gathering any factual data to substantiate these claims].

Suggest cyclists follow the rules of the road.

Suggest drivers share the road.

End with impassioned plea: Why can’t we be friends?

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0 thoughts on “Help for our friends in the media”

  1. Fritz says:

    You’ve nailed it, my friend.

    I’ve been interviewed by local newsapers – the Boulder Daily Camera and Longmont (CO) Times-Record News – about various cycling subjects: commuting, legislation, bicycle safety, etc. I was in the rolodex as a source at both of these papers as some sort of “expert” because I happened to have a cycling website.

    Papers tend to use the same sources. Here in Silicon Valley, the papers always quote Gladwyn D’Souza so I guess my days of fame are over — at least until I move back to a smaller town.

    It helps if you know bike shop owners/managers really well. Papers usually call bike shops and ask if they know anybody that can be interviewed about bike stuff. I intend to post an article Someday Soon Now about how to talk to newspaper reporters. Reporters write that bicycling is horrible because that all they hear from bicycling ‘advocates.’

  2. Drew says:

    In addition, maybe sending in some letters to local paper editorial sections to remind drivers. Most people who ride to work do so in nicer weather, so a heads up is in order. Not to mention an appeal to public services to get the potholes fixed and the street cleaners out. I am tired of having clean safe roads only around election time.

  3. Ed W says:

    We need to change the standard template by ignoring the environmental and health benefits of bicycle commuting. Sure, we all know that it’s true, but we all have too many people lecturing us about the consequences of a sedentary lifestyle and our over-consumption of fossil fuels.

    So my suggestion is simply this – tell people that riding a bicycle is fun! Adults should grab at every chance that life offers to have a little bit of fun. No one arrives at work marveling about their drive on congested streets. But cyclists arrive at work energized and refreshed.

    So tell those media types that the REAL secret to bicycle commuting is that we’re just kids at heart, out riding our bikes for the sheer joy of it, and we intend to keep it that way.

  4. Jett says:

    It was several months ago I was posting to a moderated forum whose topic was “How has your life changed as a result of global warming”. I had made several balanced and well-reasoned posts from different angles and none of them got posted. After discovering the pattern of what did get posted, I tried a lop-sided rant. That got posted.

    It appears that rationality just doesn’t bring in the readers.

  5. Noah says:

    Hey, Warren! I think I’ve read some of your articles! HAHA!

    I haven’t been interviewed yet, but most people think I’m doing it for the environment.

    Don’t get me wrong, that’s a benefit, but I’m really being selfish by commuting by bike. I don’t think any journalist would use me as their subject after interviewing me. They’d go find another cyclist. I do it because it’s fun, it saves me money, and because I can get more work done in a day when my co-workers leave me alone since half of them think I’m a lunatic.

  6. Fritz says:

    The media pays attention to “fun” cyclists like Biker Fox. I think we should all emulate him.

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