Essay: “I am not a cyclist”
Chris Bruntlett, in HUSH, gets something off his chest:
I despise it when someone refers to me as a ‘cyclist’. The phrase ‘avid cyclist’ is even worse. I am no more an avid cyclist than I am an avid walker or avid eater. I am someone who often uses a bicycle, simply because it is the most civilized, efficient, enjoyable, and economical way to get around my city. …
In a local context, the term ‘cyclist’ continues to provide us with a damaging mental barrier and convenient scapegoat. It serves only to alienate and denigrate an entire segment of society, and cast them aside as ‘others’. …
It is only when I engage with the people around me that they begin to understand I couldn’t possibly be further from this harmful and unfair set of generalizations. …
… the tide is slowly turning. As city officials continue to invest in improved infrastructure and 1,500 shared bicycles, we are drifting towards a point where cycling is no longer a political or environmental statement, but rather a utilitarian one, no different than walking down the street.
Then, and only then, will we stop identifying folks as ‘cyclists’, and treat them as individuals, with a diverse range of politics, incomes, ethnicities, careers, and interests. The only common denominator is their mode of transport on any given day.
So please, stop calling me a cyclist. I’m a husband, a father, a designer, a writer, a photographer, a filmmaker, a musician, a humanist, an urbanist, a vegetarian, and a football supporter. But most importantly, I’m the citizen of a multi-modal city. The bicycle is but a minor detail.
That’s a very abridged version. Go read the whole elegant essay here.
As well, Chris links to a recent post by BikePortland that looks at the use of the term ‘cyclist’ to describe people who ride bicycles: “Are You a Cyclist or Do You Cycle? The Language of Promoting Cycling.”
He was also inspired by Áron Halász’s terrific Tedx talk “Cyclists Do Not Exist“.