free cycling

there's a good, brief article in the economist (available here) on who's riding bikes in England...

for me, it makes two good points...

one about the issues related to perceptions of safety, and the other about exclusivity.

fair enough that people want to feel safe before they go out and ride (or do anything else for that matter). there's nothing like some good infrastructure and laws to make this happen. easier said than done to get those laws and infrastructure in place.

as for the inclusiveness or exclusiveness of cycling it's harder to address because there's so many people and companies etc trying to sell an image or bike...

take for example two well known bicycling brands:  copenhagencyclechic and Brompton

sites like copenhagencyclechic project an image of cycling being for the aspirationally fashionable, young and sexy. or any of those combinations. that is, it's fine to be old and riding a bike as long as you're also fashionable.

similarly, many bike companies espouse the need for practicality and functionality in decision making about purchasing a bike. Brompton, make fine folding bikes, perfect, for example, for the commuter, or person without much storage space. however, a Brompon typically costs a lot more than your average folding bike (for a number of good reasons). the bikes can also be tailored in many ways to a users needs and desires.

if one went by the images and marketing alone, it would appear that cycling is indeed not for the "everyman"

cycling needs to be plain and normal enough for the "everyman" to feel safe and happy enough to do it... perhaps then the numbers of people cycling more regularly will increase more rapidly?

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