The world is full of signs for automobiles, because there are just so many of the darn things. As cyclists we’re lucking if we can find a map with which to identify a safe routes to ride—but um, it’s not so safe cycling while reading a map, something I was doing a lot of throughout May and June while I was away. No crashes though! Hey hey!
If you find it a pity that cycle-space is kept hidden from view, spare a thought for a group with fewer numbers than even we cyclists: the pilots. There are certainly no signs in the sky, delineating what they know to be airspace. Below is what they see. You and I would look heavenward, and only see sky.
My aim with all this travel, meeting people, researching, blogging and writing, is not the usual bike activist gig, of harping on about my town not resembling Holland or Denmark (as much as I would like that). Rather, my particular shtick, is to get architects and planners to see cities through cyclists eyes, carved into cycle-space, then to think about ways cycle-space can be enhanced and expanded.
Unlike air-space though, cycle-space cannot be patrolled. It isn’t official. Each individual will have their own way of determining where they will or won’t ride. It depends on what interests them personally: promenading; safety; thrills; obeying or flouting the law. Your mental cycle-space map of the world will be different from mine. For an avid vehicular cyclists, all of the roads, and none of the bike paths, are cycle-space. For my son, the footpaths near home are his cycle-space. As someone who likes all kinds of cycling (sit up style, racing, mountain biking… and I’ve just procured a Brompton as well), I’m getting to the point where I’m seeing every inch of my city as some place I would ride, though in different ways.
From left: How Google tries to simplify Cycle-Space; How the cycle-chic laugh at my Brompton; the only hat that can make a Brompton look cool.
If I have critical stance, it is to see cycle-space expand in all of our minds, and for cycle-space to be thought of in more varied ways, reflecting the diversity of mature cycling societies. Big time pluralist, me.