In Reading cycling campaigners are rightfully protesting about cycling conditions.
Yet they are sadly, doing this by appearing in photos covered in hi-viz, waterproofs and helmets. Even in space4cycling the flouro vests made an appearance along with helmets.
Wonderful as these protests are -especially the regional ones -all cyclists must stop dressing like this for press events as it makes everyone look fucking wierd to the usual regional press commenter fuckwits!
Even if you normally go for the full commuter regalia of building-site chic, hiviz & reflective, helmet with headcam and a set of gloves, when you are being photographed for the press -be it a mass protest or only one or two of you in front of some shit cycling farcility -take the time to dress like a person, not like a cyclist. Or at least hide the safety gear before the cameras come out.
Why? It makes you look normal. It makes you look like a person, not "a cyclist", member of the outgroups who get all the bike lanes and yet still aren't grateful.
You all need to present yourselves as residents and commuters trying to make your journeys to the shops, workplaces and schools safe for all people, of age groups, rather than the niche that is todays dedicated commuter.
Dress like you would dress in the Netherlands, not how you have to dress to feel vaguely safe going round your current mess of a town or city. For the sake of all the people we are trying to build bike paths for.
Important Update: the comments and tweets imply this is slagging off anyone who wears hi-viz and helmets. As far as the People's Cycling Front are concerned you can cycle round wearing hi-viz, tweed, MTB-style merino wool tops, Daily Mail T-shirts -and whatever head gear you want. If you commute in Bristol, you'll know that waterproofs are usually something to put on most of the year -or at least have to hand. And if you are going to get a bike-specific waterproof, reflectives and yellow bits are an option that may increase the chance of being seen.
For press events, when you are going to be seen in the local papers, put all the bike-specific gear out of sight. You don't want to come over as "the cyclists", just "people who choose to cycle round sometimes". You need the readers to identify with you, rather than distance themselves. Exception: maybe some helmets for the kids so you don't get denounced (even more) for endangering your children.
I don't think they realise just how hideously unattractive all that gear looks to the average person.ReplyDelete
One of the great things about driving a car is that you just get in wearing whatever you're already wearing. Helmets and hi-vis just scream danger and hassle.
What was it Ghandi said? Something like "be the change you want to see". Surely nobody wants a future Britain full of luminous daleks on bikes?
I reckon some campaigners turn up in suits/casual clothes and the interviewers tell em to change, "look you're a spoddy cyclist, dress like it FFS" there was some guy on the news a couple days ago, can't remember what for, no helmet or high viz but he still had a cycling top on despite not being on his bike....why?ReplyDelete
Half the trouble is that people are too preoccupied with aesthetics. This can be interpreted whichever side of the argument people want to sit.ReplyDelete
Exactly - function over form every time (well, nearly every time)!Delete
I wear a helmet because my wife told me she'd kill me if I got hurt and wasn't wearing it (not sure how that works as an incentive...), and I wear hi-viz because dressing up like a highlighter pen means the idiot in the car is less likely to be believed when he says he didn't see me, and I wear shorts and a t-shirt under all that because I'm middle aged and I sweat a lot.ReplyDelete
Spot on D. You sound like a Man after my own heart.Delete
Yes, but you don't need to wear it when being photographed for the local paper or taking part in a protest ride on traffic-free streets (which was the point of this blog post). I too always wear a helmet, but I deliberately took it off for the big Space4Cycling ride (and a good thing too, because I was in a couple of the LCC pictures of the event)Delete
Exactly! This isn't a post saying "dress danish style and your journeys will suddenly become pleasant". This post says "hide the cyclist kit when being photographed for any press event". You need to come over as people -not cyclists.Delete
Another example closer to home:ReplyDelete
"Bristol Mayor has free cycle lesson - and you can too"
It saddens me that so many otherwise sensible, normal people have been brainwashed by the hi-viz, helmet health and safety gone mad culture.ReplyDelete
I went to collect a bike on loan from a local authority cycle boost initiative. If I like the bike after four weeks I can keep it at a reduced price.
I was also given a hiviz vest and helmet. I said i wouldn't be wearing them, but it was part of the deal, I couldn't have the bike ithout the hiviz and helmet. They've been sitting in my hall and I'll have to take them back at the end of the trial period. What a waste of time, money and sending out the wrong signals to potential new cyclists.
if you don't want to go hi-viz, stick it under the drivers seat of your own or a friends car -they are mandatory in France now.Delete
For commuting I normally wear long cycling trousers and a Gore-Tex jacket, and change into a suit at work. At weekend for trips to the shops I just wear whatever I am wearing that day - unless it is raining in which case I'll put on some Gore-Tex trousers which look much like ordinary trousers.ReplyDelete
For attending LCC flashrides like the Blackfriars Bridge events or the recent circuit of Westminster, I make a point of wearing full suit and tie, and absolutely no helmet. I really don't want to be photographed as a lycra-lout and I wish my fellow demonstrators would think the same.
I was brought up under thatcher a long way north of London and as such my first contact with men in suits were with bailiffs, I try to avoid suits. They do not have universally positive appeal and can sometimes make cycling appear elitist, a man on a brompton costing several hundred pounds in a weird historical costume has as little connection to me as a roadie in weird matching logo-ed up lycra, but at least the roadie doesn't look like a politician.Delete
-well, the North is getting stuffed again, so no, don't dress like a politician. Key point: dress in way that doesn't alienate the target audienceDelete
I agree entirely about the helmets and hiviz. cycling needs to be sold as safe to Joe Public. This doesn't massively. They might as well write "Please don't hit me" in large letters on the vests.ReplyDelete
We have had training schemes up here (for women especially) and the "reward" is a goody bag containing a hiviz vest & helmet all described as a survival pack - advertising genius (for car use that is)
Our really effective 'stunt' when the local Chamber of Commerce sponsored a 'transport conference' that barely mentioned buses let alone bikes, was to turn up in the expected business suits and demand a statement from the organisers on why they had no cycling featured. We got more column inches in our suits and normal look that the conference did. They were furious! but hod only themselves to blame.ReplyDelete
Small group just 6 cyclists and all (but one) really focussed on how we presented (in suits) short and very defined action - arrive at start and ask for organiser to meet them and explain omission of cycling, whilst making arriving delegates aware of omission.
Hoping for 2014 to get cycling featured some of the events linked to freight and logistics, as well as stronger awareness in transport integration. Maybe Parkex (guess what that's about!) - it already features a small amount of cycle parking, but mainly because the same people supply retractable bollards etc.