The stigma of cycling

I’d like to draw your attention to an interesting new article from Rachel Aldred which addresses one important barrier to cycling – stigma. Unfortunately the paper is not freely available, but you can read what I think is an early draft of it here, which differs only slightly from the published article.

As I have written, often, and at length, the most significant obstacle to the uptake of cycling by the general population is the perception of danger and inconvenience involved in using a bicycle. But the concept of ‘stigma’ is an interesting and relevant problem. Simply being ‘a cyclist’ can carry with it negative assumptions about behaviour and personal attributes, and I think this is also a serious issue that needs to be addressed; although I would stress that much of the stigma involved in riding a bicycle flows simply from the fact that it is, still, a minority mode of transport and activity, and poorly understood. To what extent the perception of the stigma of cycling, and the very low rate of cycling, in this country are mutually self-reinforcing is an interesting question; perhaps both flow from the hostile road and street conditions which do a great deal to suppress cycling as a transport choice.

Rachel references the important recent work from the Department of Transport, entitled ‘Sharing the Road’, on the way cyclists are still viewed as ‘deviant’ by wider society and, in particular, motorists. That 2010 DfT paper notes that

most people can empathise with car drivers because they drive a car themselves. Probably as a result, no stereotype of car drivers in general exists (although stereotypes of types of car driver do). By contrast, a stereotype of cyclists in general does appear to exist among ORUs. This stereotype is characterised by:

• serious failures of attitude, including a generalised disregard for the law and a more specific lack of concern for the needs of other drivers; and

• serious failures of competence and knowledge of the rules of the road.

This stereotype of cyclists is also linked to the fact that cyclists do not need to undertake training, are unlicensed and uninsured, and do not pay road taxes (at least not by virtue of the fact that they cycle).

This is, as Rachel argues, a form of stigmatising, a ‘discrediting within a particular social interaction’ – in this case, in motorised street space. The ‘cyclist’ is ‘otherised’, defined as suspect, with assumptions about their behaviour, knowledge and attitude. Importantly, as the Department for Transport research hints at, this ‘otherising’ takes place against a background of a normal ‘driver’ identity that is ‘both invisible and universalised’. ‘Everyone’ is a motorist, while the ‘cyclist’ is so rare and poorly understood that stigmatising their behaviour, where it conflicts with the dominant motoring identity, is almost inevitable.

The main focus of Rachel’s paper involves identifying two distinct strands of this stigma; being ‘incompetent’ as a cyclist, and also ‘too competent.’ These are quite different problems faced by people who choose to ride a bicycle, and Rachel explores them at length. Her conclusions are drawn from face-to-face interviews with cyclists in Hull and Cambridge.

The ‘incompetent’ stigma is probably all too familiar to you; a passage from Rachel’s paper is worth quoting at length here.

A defensive group identity was demonstrated by concern that bad behaviour by any cyclist reflected badly upon other cyclists. Cyclists drew boundaries around ‘who counts’ as a cyclist, drawing or breaking links with others who cycle, and making moral judgements (e.g. labelling as ‘risky’) about other cyclists’ behaviour. Interviewees seemed accustomed to looking at their own behaviour ‘from outside’, drawing upon experiences of driving or imagining themselves as a driver. Being a cyclist involves not just managing a stigmatised identity but managing other people’s identities by seeing oneself from their perspective

The irony, of course, is that many of those people engaging in the perceived ‘bad behaviour’ on bicycles probably wouldn’t even define themselves as ‘cyclists’. These are the people trundling to the shops on the pavement, using a mountain bike they’ve dragged out of their garage, hopping on and off the pavement when it suits them. It is helpful for some cyclists to define these people as ‘not proper cyclists’; however I doubt this ‘drawing of boundaries’ has any effect on the perception of cyclists as an out-group.

And of course the poor behaviour of some motorists is never seen as problematic by other motorists for their own reputation and identity. You will never hear reference to someone not being ‘a proper motorist’ if they are driving erratically or poorly, or breaking laws. This is because driving a motor vehicle is not stigmatised. As Rachel writes

The TfL report did not find an equivalent ‘motorist’ stereotype, with bad driving seen as an individual attribute not attached to drivers in general.

Some of the people Rachel interviewed stated that they chose to wear forms of clothing and equipment that marked them out as cyclists who knew what they were doing, and were entitled, therefore, to respect as ‘competent’. This seems to be the logic behind helmet use, and the wearing of hi-visibility jackets. One respondent –

It also makes a statement to people that you actually are not just somebody who’s jumped on a bike. You’re actually saying, I’ve got the uniform of a cyclist here. (Cambridge, male, 50s)

The effectiveness of this as a strategy of presenting oneself as a ‘proper’ cyclist is open to question. In any case, in addition to this stigma of lawlessness and incompetence, we then have the problem of cyclists worrying about being perceived as too ‘proper’ or, in Rachel’s words, ‘too competent’. This is the perception that being ‘a cyclist’ involves wearing special clothing, or requires a high degree of fitness, or necessitates putting in a serious amount of miles a week, and measuring themselves against this standard. There is a particularly interesting quote from one lady interviewed –

Well I cycle every day. I can’t say I cycle a lot. It’s daily trips to the shops and to visit my mother. (Hull, female, 50s).

In other words, despite the fact that the lady cycles every day, making ‘ordinary’ trips, she doesn’t think that she cycles ‘a lot’, because that would presumably involve more ‘serious’, sporting, cycling, or in Rachel’s words, making ‘cycling a central part of one’s identity’. The problem is that being ‘serious’ – wearing ‘proper’ clothing, and being able to go fast – is increasingly associated with ‘competence’ and a right to be on the roads. (A further, tangential, problem identified is that an association of cycling with ‘sport’ and as a ‘leisure’ activity can lead to it being framed as an ‘illegitimate’ use of urban space, by contrast with the more serious business of ‘transport’ – even just as an activity for children).

And therefore

These ‘everyday cyclists’ seemed caught between the stigma of the bad (incompetent) cyclist and the stigma of sport (or being too competent).

This problem of identity is a serious one, and needs addressing, because it is quite plain that assumptions about cycling are still widespread in the general population, and even, as Rachel shows, amongst the body of cyclists themselves. She has two policy recommendations;

  • firstly, to note how influential the negative perception of cyclists as ‘incompetent’ and ‘lawless’ can be on those people who chose to cycle, and to ensure that public policy and promotion of cycling works to redress the problem of disproportionate focus on the dangers posed by a bicycle, at least relative to motorised transport.
  • secondly, to appreciate that the promotion of cycling sport and sporting personalities will not necessarily make everyday cycling more attractive, given the problems of perception involved in being a ‘proper’ cyclist. As Rachel writes, ‘potential every cyclists are unlikely to see the accoutrements of sports cycling (helmets, Lycra, bright clothing) as representing an image that they want to portray on their way to the shops, despite a ‘toned down’ version of this kit being associated with ‘good cycling’.’

I wrote, last year, about the problem of ‘abnormality’ (analogous to ‘stigma’) involved in cycling, within a piece about the Understanding Walking and Cycling Report, which I think draws very similar conclusions to Rachel’s work here, despite focusing on those who currently don’t cycle, rather than those who do. I argued there that the problem of ‘abnormality’

 is largely contingent upon the fact that it is unpleasant, and objectively unsafe, to cycle around our towns and cities. Because it is seen as unpleasant, only a small ‘abnormal’ minority of people cycle, and because being safe while cycling currently tends to involves cycling as fast as one can, ‘sportier’ clothing is often required, alongside safety equipment, both of which are conspicuous by their absence in countries with a genuine cycling culture. Make it safe and attractive to ride a bicycle, and the ‘abnormality’ problem will simply evaporate.

I stand by this conclusion. The stigmatising of cycling, and the adoption of stigmatising discourse by cyclists themselves as they attempt to present themselves as serious and competent and worthy of respect, flow from the fact that cycling is still a mode of transport that barely registers for most people, and that the road and street environment is still designed around motoring. As Rachel writes

Those societies socially and spatially dominated by motor vehicles to the detriment of other road users are likely to generate essentialised and stigmatised ‘cyclist’ identities. Where cyclists are treated more equitably, a ‘cyclist’ identity may be constructed differently and perhaps be less salient.

To that extent, the problems created by that environment are self-reinforcing; not only does the environment discourage cycling, it also serves to create and perpetuate negative stereotypes about the few who do choose to use bicycles as an everyday means of transport.

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28 Responses to The stigma of cycling

  1. cantala59 says:

    Like the lady in Hull (also in my 50s), I cycle every day – well, nearly. My average cycle journey is a 10 mile round trip and I love it. I’m not interested in going fast – that’s not why I ride a bike. I like the fresh air, the exercise, the freedom to think and reflect, notice nature and what’s going on around me. Plus, it just happens to also be the quickest, easiest & most convenient way of getting around plus it’s the most environmentally-friendly form of transport I can use. It also saves me a lot of money, of course. I also drive about 3 or 4 times a week when the situation obliges me to.
    I developed our raincoats (Cambridge Raincoats – ) to look like normal raincoats that anyone might wear, at any age, on any occasion. I don’t want to wear a uniform, I don’t want to look like a ‘cyclist’. I’m not interested in sports and look ridiculous in sports clothes – in any case, I only have time to get dressed once a day – I’m a busy, working mum.
    I want to look like someone who just happens to get around by bicycle, just like they do in Holland & Denmark. I find hi-viz ugly so have found other ways to make our coats wearer noticeable to oncoming drivers – vibrant, bright colours that people actually like. I find hi-viz strident and confrontational. We will soon be introducing some uniquely decorative reflective features too.
    I find it extraordinary that the UK does not learn more from those countries which have the highest levels of cycling for transport in the world:- Denmark & Holland. As long as what they do is ignored, we will never achieve higher levels of cycling in the UK.
    Sally Guyer, The Cambridge Raincoat Company,

    • biking2work says:

      Hi Sally,
      In principle I agree with your feelings on high-viz. I’ve had a look at your range which looks pretty cool for a cyclist in Amsterdam or Copenhagan but think I’ll be staying with the strident & “confrontational” look. Personally, I find the high-viz yellow a cheap & necessary evil to help me be seen by those who may not necessarily be looking out for me on a wet day to/from work. Not that this prevented me ending up in a ditch courtesy of the 301 bus to Saffron Walden last week!! As a regular cyclist of >30 years, I have come to accept the risk as an inevitability to having to share the road with motor vehicles.

      I do all that I can to reduce that risk but this doesn’t extend to lycra for others to view me as “competent”, an idea that for me is of academic interest only.

      • cantala59 says:

        Hi biking2work (sorry, don’t have your name!),
        So sorry to hear about a bus putting you in a ditch last week – that is intolerable. Hope you are OK and hope you reported the driver. Please don’t dismiss what I do though – the bright colours are pretty effective and I’ve noticed each of the bright colours produces slightly different reactions which would be extremely interesting to someone interested in the psychology of colour! I agree with you about the lycra!
        Hope you’ve recovered from your fall into the ditch.
        Best wishes,

  2. ‘Boris Bikes’ have been fantastic for addressing this issue in London. People ride them in ordinary clothing and display a very wide range of competence.

    • cantala59 says:

      I agree that Boris Bikes have been fantastic – I love using when I visit London. However, most UK towns and cities are extremely slow to implement such schemes – including my own beloved Cambridge. The UK’s Number One City of Cycling – if you happen to live here or arrive with your own bike. If you don’t, hiring one will cost you approx £15 per day plus £60 deposit! Not cheap for a family on a day out, not cheap for someone spending a week here.

  3. Gareth Rees says:

    Aldred’s paper is spot-on: in our society you can’t “just ride a bike” in the way that you might be able to “just drive a car”, you have to adopt some kind of identity as a cyclist. And because our society doesn’t recognize the existence of the good cyclist, every identity that you might adopt is seen some kind of “bad cyclist”: too fast or too slow, on the roads or on the pavement, wearing cycle-specific clothing or not.

    Also, that photo is a brilliant choice.

    • Ian says:

      I think the photo is a terrible choice. The cyclists in the picture have no choice about what to wear or what kind of cyclist they are (they’re all on the pavement and not throught their own choice).

      It demonstrates a completely different attitude to cycling: “cycling is for children”. Notice that the adult (their mother?) is walking (so the older kids have to cycle at her walking pace) and has dressed her children in hi-vis vests and helmets because “cycling is dangerous”.

      These children will stop cycling as soon as they turn 17 and can drive a car (if not sooner because it’s not cool to cycle when you’re a teenager).

      Having not cycled since I was a student in my 20s (after my bike was stolen I bought a car!) I became a cyclist again when my kids were old enough to ride a bike. I hope my children will stay cyclists for life (unlike me, but I’m not telling them about ym 10 year lapse)

  4. Grant says:

    My own anecdotal experience suggests that hi-viz works as a sort of urban camouflage, and immediately marks the wearer as part of an ‘out’ group. In other words a bit of a weirdo who should be treated as such. Since reverting several years ago to normal clothes driver behaviour noticeably improved, I presume partly because I look a bit like the sort of ‘normal’ person WVM would see in the pub, someone they can relate to and not an oddity in a refuse collector’s reflective tabard and funny looking plastic hat.

    • Bikehound says:

      Completely agree. If I’m in lycra shorts and shirt I’m immediately identified by members of the public as someone ‘sporty’ and their behaviour towards me or their topics of discussion with me is going to be influenced by that. If I had a child seat on the back and a long blonde wig I’m sure their driving behaviour would be different.

  5. cantala59 says:

    Unless anyone who has commented here so far is of Scottis origin, my next comments may not be of much use to you! Nevertheless, they are a valid observation based on years of experience:- these days I favour wearing dresses/skirts because for years I was a busy mum living in jeans and had no time for myself. Also, I look better in them.
    However, the first time I decided to cycle in a skirt I felt quite daring! (This was a good number of years before the term ‘Cycle Chic’ had ever been heard of). I fully expected to be ridiculed by drivers or treated with hostility. Much to my surprise, drivers behaved much more courteously than usual. I’ve never looked back & on the odd occasion when I do wear jeans or trousers, I find drivers are much less careful with me. Make of it what you will, all I care is that wearing a dress or skirt works for me!
    This revelation often provokes cynical comments about sexism but I don’t think that’s the explanation. I think it’s to do with perceptions of human vulnerability. By wearing normal clothes, I think it’s simply that we are much more quickly identifiable as physically vulnerable when we don’t wear ‘cycling clothes’ – we look like people that drivers relate to. You may like to look up the research of Ian Walker, Travel Psychologist based at Bath University in relation to this.

  6. cantala59 says:

    P.S. Sorry, I’m very tired & didn’t check for typos before pressing ENTER.

  7. Pingback: The Stigma of Riding a Bike « Tillie & Coco

  8. Simon Parker says:

    Dr Henrietta Sherwin and Dr Steve Melia, both of the Centre for Transport and Society at the University of the West of England, Bristol, are soon to publish a paper about cycle mapping in the UK. Here is an extract:

    “What we wanted to do was to make people think slightly differently of their town and city. Most people view a place through a prism of their usual journey, which is generally made on the main roads. Maps contribute to this world view. Any regular map of a town will show the main roads in bold, and these effectively become the ‘skeleton’ of the town, with everything else seemingly built around them. This elevates them to a status that they don’t deserve. Why is an A road any more important than a B road or a path across a path? It is all viewed from the perspective of the motor car, and it constrains how people think and view their surroundings, and therefore pre-determines where they travel to.” (Mark Sydenham, one of the creators of the Edinburgh tube style cycle map)

    The Edinburgh Bike Station is a charity which produced the Inner Tube as a conscious decision to move away from the imagery of cyclists in yellow jackets and helmets. This, according to Mark, makes “cycling look dangerous, undermining the purpose to increase cycling.” He explained that he felt many traditional cycle maps reinforce stereotypes and include text that is ‘hectoring or patronising’. The Edinburgh map was designed to avoid this and simply advertise the many miles of totally off-street, traffic-free paths that are ideal for commuting but are little-used and little-known.

    It was intended to be “something cool that people could not help but feel good about, leading them to want to get their bike out onto the routes. Once there, they then discovered that cycling was enjoyable, practical, and a logical transport choice (especially when backed up by all the other promotional activities around the map that we carried out – events, social media, the website etc – all designed to make people think and feel differently about the paths and cycling.”

    As a schematic map, it is not meant to replace other maps – individuals would still be expected to have the equivalent of an A to Z – but it is designed to show the potential for cycling trips away from traffic. It is really a poster for cycling rather than a map.

    “We had 10,000 website hits in the first 24 hours after the launch,” Mark explained, “and we have distributed some 100,000 copies in 12 months – and we are about to print edition three already. In one year, we recorded a 26% increase in cycle traffic on the paths (Nov 2010-Nov 2011, peak morning traffic 7.30am – 9.15am), which was far higher than the background increase in cycling across the city (around 12%).”

    This Edinburgh Inner Tube Map may have had a great deal of promotional impact because it was a ‘new’ map style and prompted deliberation amongst non-cyclists, but its overall success in increasing cycling will depend on the quality of the signage and infrastructure found on the ground which influences the cycling experience.

  9. PaulM says:

    I’ve seen other studies about cyclists as an “out-group”, and even one which compared cyclists with, say, Kurds – a group which is viewed as a small minority, for whom a very small number of known or imagined horror stories has defined them in popular mythology as some form of barbarians. I guess I just have a rather amateur outlook on this, and my own personal observations. I can’t say I have noticed that incompetence or inexperience among bicycle users really aggravates non-cyclists. Bumbling inefficiency generally excites just a slightly quizzical, almost amused patronising remark. When the Tufton Buftons of this world whine about training and licences and registration, it is not about that sort of bicycle user, but rather about those who are perhaps only too competent.

    And I don’t think that kids and old ladies trundling sedately along the pavements really excite much ire either, rather it is courier types, or gung-ho distance commuters on fast road bikes who are in such a hurry that they must bypass queues at the lights by riding on the pavement (personally, if I do that, I get off and push, after all, it is only 20 or 30 metres). Someone riding at walking pace or a little more doesn’t pose a threat, but someone cycling fast can seem threatening.

    I think we have the cycling culture we deserve (“We” here meaning as a nation). A Darwinian process of natural selection has ensured that the dominant theme for road cyclists is testosterone – you may not need it, but it certainly helps to be fit, fearless and a touch on the aggressive side, to practice the survival strategy known as vehicular cycling which is largely what you need to cope with busy city streets. The result is that cycling is made in that image, and it is a massive turn-off – the notion that the 40% or whatever it is of the population who would like to cycle if only they felt safe are going to be inspired by Bradley Wiggins or Mark Cavendish is, quite frankly, utterly laughable, and once you set aside the pride in “our boys” and their Olympic medals, out on the roads, such types are likely to be regarded by the remaining 58% as just a complete pain.

    I was in Verona last weekend, and had plenty of time to observe the bicycle environment and culture there. Like the UK, the roads (as opposed to streets) are a thoroughly hostile environment full of very fast and very aggressive drivers, and outside the city boundary, between towns, there is not much provision for cyclists. Cyclists of the type we see in droves in central London commuter hours – swanky road bikes, helmets and Lycra – are rarer than hen’s teeth.

    Instead, there was a fairly vibrant slow-bicycle culture. Everyone rides either an old-fashioned single speed roadster, or a hybrid style which is also popular in France but which is almost unseen here, rear-change-only derailleur gears, chain guard all around the chainwheel and along the top of the chain, racks and baskets and upright riding position with moustache handlebars. Pavement cycling is commonplace, often explicitly sanctioned but otherwise tolerated, perhaps because Italians are a tolerant people, or perhaps because you only cycle at most at a brisk trot so don’t threaten pedestrians. Anything faster is not really conceivable in that heat.

    I don’t think there were ever quite as many people on bikes at one time as you see crossing Blackfriars Bridge of a morning, but the volumes remained consistent throughout the day and evening, as kids, teenagers, parents and (presumably) grandparents all rode out.

    It was a city thing, driven no doubt by the manageable distances, fine weather, narrow cobbled streets and impossibility of parking in the centre of a heritage site, but it was uplifting to see how a nation which I had always regarded as possibly even more petrol-headed than the Brits could still accommodate, apparently cheerfully, cycling as a serious transport alternative.

    • Gareth Rees says:

      “rather it is courier types, or gung-ho distance commuters on fast road bikes who are in such a hurry that they must bypass queues at the lights by riding on the pavement (personally, if I do that, I get off and push, after all, it is only 20 or 30 metres).”

      The above seems like a perfect example of the phenomenon described by Rachel Aldred:

      “While most interviewees wanted to be good cyclists, many sought to distance themselves from the ‘hardcore cyclist’. As well as identity threats from not being a ‘good cyclist’ (competent in dress, riding, and maintenance), interviewees identified threats from being too much of a cyclist. Boundaries were drawn to establish cycling identities that were competent without being too competent.”

  10. vlgi says:

    One thing to consider is that it would be nice to consider ourselves outside of this culture that stigmatises cycling but the truth is we have grown up in this culture. We all stigmaatise cyclists even if we are not aware of it.

    The need to find an identity when you become a cyclist is essentially an attempt by an individual to avoid the stigmata, you find an identity that is not one of /those/ cyclists but, a commuter or a road cyclist, a fixie rider etc. The identity is one that you only really have in your head, because to others you will fit into some other category, which is likely not their type of cyclist.

    You can see several posts above about this denigrating the choices of other cyclists, and even saying they are a problem for some other cyclist group.

    The problem is that this causes an already minority group to be split up further, and such attitudes only strengthen the split.

    The real problem is more that cycling is not taken seriously as a form of transport. Cycle lanes typically pay lip service to the concept of being friendly to cycles, but are usually poorly designed and erode bicycle usage.

    Consider the problem of Cyclists going on and off the pavement at will.

    Have you see the cycle lanes, that go on and off the pavement at will. If cyclists shouldn’t be doing that why are the councils or government or whoever builds cycle lanes enforcing this behavior through their useless cycle lanes.

    Consider the problem of cyclists on pavements.

    Have you seen the cycle lanes that share pavements, then disappear somewhere with no real notification. The lanes that are meant to share the pavement of 1 m wide or less with pedestrians and bicycles. Again these lanes are training cyclists to use pavements when really we don’t want cyclists there.

    Consider the problem of cyclists jumping lights or breaking other road rules.

    Roads are designed for cars which can stop and go at will and dont mind taking a long route because thats where the road goes, for a cyclist, you have to be bloody minded to want to follow the road rules, but there is always a limit when you’ve stopped at 5 consecutive traffic lights, or you find a road is one way or no right turns, because of issues with cars, and there comes a point where the cyclist says, I can’t go out of my way to follow the law all the time because the law of the road is against me, I can’t stop and go every 100 m due to traffic lights, I can’t go round long one way systems when theres only a 10 m footpath over there or a no right turn I could make a right turn at.

    I’ve been spending a while in gloucester which is an awful city, the traffic lights are terrible, for cars, for pedestrians and for cyclists, and as such people always cross the road when they are not meant to, cars jump the lights, and cyclists as well. People are doing this because the system is terrible. And its not limited to just cyclists, more planning and intelligence on how it works would make it more pleasant for all involved.

    All of these problems are really only caused by a lack of a cycling policy locally and nationally, building cycling into transport and road planning, thinking about how to accomodate cyclists not just by painting a line on the road but how you build the road, place the junctions, the traffic lights, how they are controlled.

    And the problems faced aren’t something that only one subset of humans experience, it affects cars, pedestrians and cyclists equally.

    Which cyclists cause the problems? lycra clad fluorescent guys on racing bikes?

    Just the other day I stopped at a traffic light and was swore at by the young lady riding her bike behind me, she had a 3 speed with nice red spotty panniers and may even have been wearing a skirt. She swerved around me and cycled through the red light only to stop 5 meters ahead when the cars started moving around the round about.

    Was she a bad cyclist, a bad person, was she secretly wearing lycra?

    Or was she just a cyclist who had stopped at 5 consecutive lights, had to cycle the long way round, and was finally fed up of jumping through hoops and wanted to get through the traffic lights as they changed just once?

    Lets be honest, as cyclists, many of us try our best to follow the rules of the road, and promote cycling and cyclists as being positive members of society, but we all have done things we aren’t proud of, cycling on pavements or turning the wrong way. Things we accuse other cyclists of and forget that we have ever done when we have a lapse in concentration or patience, or maybe things we do that we are unaware of being a problem for others.

    We’re all cyclists what ever our cycling identity and among us there are all kinds, and all of those cyclists are all people, who would probably be really cool people if you got to know them. Don’t stigmatise some other group of cyclists, accept them as fellow road users, fellow cyclists who deserve as much respect as you. Say hello to them, be nice to them because you, us, them and those other people when we come together create a big cycling community that makes thing better for all of us.

    But if we stay in splinter groups and think the worst of each other we remain as individual weirdo cyclists, and we all fight our own struggles ourselves against the whole weight of the world.

  11. Pingback: Cycling Cultures blog» Blog Archive » Cycling, sport and stigma

  12. GiddyAunt says:

    Going out on a limb here but I believe cyclists make more considerate car drivers. I’d like to see it made mandatory for all learners to spend at least 2 weeks riding a bicycle before being able to qualify for their drivers license. That might go some way to developing some empathy for cyclists.

  13. Soozie Bea says:

    Reblogged this on Alt Route and commented:
    More about the negative stigma of cycling – lets break the stereotype!

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  15. Also, many telephones now have navigational system apps, and remember the old school paper maps,
    which your car rental company should offer at no further charge.

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  18. Gawain says:

    I have not gotten jobs because of a man riding a bike—me. Americans want to know what you got, how much money you have, where is your car and how beautiful is it? And if you’re at work, fellow employees ask, “Why do you ride a bike and do you have a car?” Now, these are questions outside of the job. So many backstab you, talk badly about you. Doesn’t matter how well you’re doing your job, people want to know what your life is outside of the job and many criticize it or categorize you as “low class.” My last vehicle was a Dodge Challenger because I like muscle cars, but I’m very environmentalist now and let go of that cage, the exhaust, the insurance scams, the credit consumer bait and switch death trap, being fat, and weak, to pave the world with concrete and all the woods, grass and the trees are gone! So I slapped at society with going back to medieval days without It. I look upon the Americans society now and they all look weak, pasty, fat, and upset. Yet, if you stay in Munich Germany for a while or Copenhagen Denmark, bicyclists are everywhere and and are fit and happy, so who’s the right and wrong here in America now? I don’t think it’s us anymore after we stopped using our horses and bicycles. But not me and my fellow cyclists. We are smarter than the rest and we demand respect and if not, remember they are physically weak than us. They become more flabby every day and our addictiveness to machines that do everything for them. So I will stay as a barbarian, the savage, the Apache Indian and I will laugh them as I whiz on by.

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