I just noticed a wonderful sign that cycling for everyday transport, has truly stepped from the shadow of cycling, the sport. Mikael Colville Andersen, one of the world’s most vociferous champions of everyday cycling for transport, moments ago told his many followers via twitter, that he is having fruitful discussions with the organisers of the Tour of France. I’m sure it’s too early for even those parties to tell us, precisely, what this might mean. However, we can already say, it means a great deal, simply for these folk to be talking.
Bike racing has brought me many rewards, but it is also responsible for making me do a whole lot of tedious walking, that I could have avoided with a practical bike in my stable, in addition to the ones I have owned for racing. For twenty years, identifying as a “roadie”, stopped me thinking I could ever ride a bike in regular clothes, or in regular shoes. Chaining a bike outside a shop, or using a bike to bring shopping home, or riding to a pub or a nightclub: all these were unthinkable, while my only bikes were each worth thousands of dollars.
Though Colville Andersen has his detractors (they’re usually less smart), and though he makes Hugh Grant look like a Baptist, he may be on the cusp of liberating millions of cyclists. I’m referring to all of those men with expensive sports bikes, who have not thought of using cheap bikes for their daily needs, so instead have been walking or using cars for short trips. When those men wise up, every person who has been given the impression by them, that cycling is only a sport, could be ready to treat cycling as practical transport as well. I’m referring now to children, the elderly, and everyone in between. Mikael, many men are counting upon you, not least to arrange scantily clad models on omafiets, lining the trail to Mont Ventoux, handing out bidons and caps. Anything, but that devil!