You may live in a car-centric district, meaning bicycle transport is an impossibility for you or your family right now. Still, you can identify as a Bicycleist. I’m a male but if pressed to answer yes or no, I would have to answer yes to being a Feminist. I side with that cause. I’ve never chained myself to a tree but if forced to choose, yes or no, I would have to say I’m an Environmentalist too—I know I am by the way that I vote. Am I, or am I not, a Marxist? Insofar as I can see Marx was a genius, and appreciate that without modern day Marxists my city would not be so civil, I would have to say I’m a Marxist as well.
In this sense any thinking person can call themselves a Bicycleist, and one who appreciates Bicycleism. Bicycleism (I am announcing right now, with this blog post) is a family of doctrines we have reason to believe will increase the patronage of bicycle transport. It is a critical agenda, with a critical outlook, like any ism.
Even if you don’t currently cycle yourself, you should consider identifying as a Bicycleist, and believer in Bicycleism, if you are any of these: a Humanist; an Environmentalist; a Feminist; or paradoxical as it may sound, an Economic Rationalist.
The Humanist who understands Bicycleism will know that its doctrines will lead to a world in which our species will flourish. The Environmentalist will appreciate that bicycle transport will do more for the planet than smarter cars or public transport. The Feminist will understand that Bicycleism stands for bike infrastructure that, statistically, more women will use. The Economic Rationalist who has thought through the potential of bike transport to decrease travel times in any size city, will be a staunch Bicyclist the day they do travel time modelling on a city if it didn’t have cars.
For me, Bicycleism is a critical stance. Most of my thinking builds from it as a foundation. But for most people Bicycleism will come as a consequence of an ism that they rank higher. Consider my own personal ranking of Humanism and Environmentalism. Humanism comes first. Environmentalism is more of a corollary. I’m the kind of person who says nature needs to be protected, where possible, because our species needs it to flourish. I wouldn’t save a forest if it meant real human suffering. Should extreme Environmentalists worry? I shouldn’t think so. They still get my vote.
I know a lot of bicycle advocates follow this blog, so would ask them (not for my sake) to use “Bicycleism” and “Bicycleist”, until these terms stick. If you google them you will find both have been used in the past but not in a purposeful sense. It won’t be easy at first. The word Feminism used to be confused with Feminine. Remember too that all such terms are derided by those protecting their power. Our purpose though is not to win friends. The aim is to force people to choose.