Bicycle evangelism, consumerism and urbanism.

It is a relief, I should tell you, having so little to do as I do nowadays with the bicycle advocacy community in places like the US, Australia, Singapore, Britain, Canada… all of these place. I became so tired by the end of the conversations at outdoor cafe seats where they so love to admire and talk about all of their tediously particular bikes. Conversations were more about upgrading these than upgrading the shonky settings around them. One is let to believe that bicycle advocacy is purely a pattern of spending.

Now it is all well and good chaps that with your latest Butchers and Bakers cargo bikes with electric assist you can ride 5km to your kids’ private schools, then to your hilltop yoga studios, and off for an hour at your co-working spaces and around and around like that until salad time, but please keep in mind that you and our type are lunatic freaks. Anyone else, Plebeian or Patrician alike, with so much to spend on new wheels would buy cars, can’t you see that, if they need to make trips of such lengths through the day? All the top spots in the smug race have already been taken—by you and I. What reasons have we left to them cycle?

Your Brompton’s titanium rear triangle isn’t bicycle evangelism. It’s bicycle consumerism. In any case evangelism is for selling things that do not exist. If the virtues of cycling in your city need selling thus, it stands to reason, does it not, that your city is bereft of bicycling virtues? You would see what I mean if you stopped buying bikes.

Do you remember the first day you ever returned home from the grocery store with brussels sprouts? You felt so grown up, knowing you had spent your own money on the world’s blandest food. You were eating with your mind not your taste buds. Well you can have that great feeling again. The moment you stop buying the bikes you imagine everyone riding in Denmark or the Netherlands, and be like actual cheese heads or Danes (who only manufacture those bikes for the American bicycle advocacy market), you will stop being an advocate for shiny new toys, and consider advocating the cause of bike transport in cities.

You won’t though because the prime-mover, demiurge, ultimate reason, and big bang of all cycling is the consumer choice you will never make: a shoe box apartment without any garaging. Oh how you need a lambasting for the fat on your bourgeois soul!

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