Article by Bikeable Communities
Yes, you might admit that you want to save some gas money, or you get bored easily at the gym (like me!) and wanted a more interesting way to exercise, but I doubt you’ll answer “because I should.” We humans are not good at should. We’re not good at should. That has a nice ring to it.
And yet, very often in advocacy (and bicycling advocacy is no different than any other kind) we often move forward in our outreach with “should” firmly entrenched in our sensibilities and vernacular. Then we wonder why friends and neighbors and other perfectly nice people avoid our phone calls, or don’t friend our cause on Facebook, or don’t follow our urgent pleas on Twitter (why yes, we do have both Facebook and Twitter accounts but we’re still working out the best way to share those links – only twitter we’re @BikeableCommuni on FB search for Bikeable Communities)
As I began to prepare today to replace the irreplaceable and oh so charmingly gregarious Charlie Gandy at the Dwell on Design conference in LA in June 26 for the “Are Two Wheel Better Four” panel (Gandy has been called away to Wyoming that same date for the 15th reunion of the “Thunderhead Alliance. He founded it so I guess he should be allowed to go) I pondered just what the heck I’ve got to bring to this important and often heated discussion. And then I had a “no duh” moment and I realized, “of course, my knowledge of fashion is power.”
The bike fashion writer/blogger/commentator head and shoulders above the rest is Danish filmmaker and creator of Copenhagenzine Mikael Colville-Andersen who started the whole “cycle chic” concept to begin with. Anderson is challenging us advocates to “think different” about bicycle advocacy and how to engage possible new bicyclists. Check out his recent blog on “the car industry goes to the next level” and the Nightlife.Ca post on him as Montreal welcomed Andersen for his conference “Four Goals for Promoting Urban Cycling.”
We have a very strong bike-fashion culture here in Long Beach. As a marketing and pr person I would wager good money that it is the style and the fun that these riders portray that seduces others to dig out the bike from their garage or go visit one of the brand new bikes shops popping up around town more than anything else. Watch Bernard Serrano of Cyclone Coasters float by on one of his many antique cruisers jauntily dressed in matching retro garb, or Andrea White-Kjoss of Bikestation zip by (who is always stylish appropriate for every occasion no matter how far she rode her bike first) and you too will long for the fun and freedom of two wheels over four. Yes, I do believe the seduction of style wins over should almost every time. Anderson has a very strong case.