The year is 1946. My grandfather is waiting with 20 or more of his workmates, all riding bikes, to board the ferry, to cross the harbour, to go to work at the steelworks. They are all waiting because their managers, who they call “the staff”, are allowed to board first in their cars. Though there are only 5 of these “staffers”, they take up almost all the space on the ferry. The ferry could be a small boat, but for these staff and their cars.
The ferry does not have a roof, because the staff will be dry in their cars if it rains. Each drop of rain in my grandfather’s blue collar will ram home his lower status. So if he makes it back alive from the war, and the war machine has turned to making cars now as quickly as it made bombs before, what will my grandfather do? I’m guessing he’ll buy a car and stop cycling.
That is why, if you are a manager, if you wear a suit, if people below you view you with derision and envy… that is why you should see it as your duty to not only cycle to work, but to cycle to work in ways that slow the working class down in their cars. As a person of status, you should go first on your bike, just as men of status formerly went first in their cars. Your mission is to make those below you on the social ladder, see cycling as a rung they should climb.
Thanks Gusto, for your work in the archives finding photos like this one, of the ferry in our humble city of Newcastle, back when bicycle transport was the dominant mode—in terms of volume, not status. Today driving has volume, and cycling has status.