Friday, February 22, 2013

Damned Cyclists

I heard an interesting podcast recently, called the Morality of Cycling.

The podcast was Thinking Allowed, from BBC Radio 4. This is the link to the Morality of Cycling episode. The host of Thinking Allowed is Laurie Taylor, and in this episode he's interviewing a British sociology professor who recently published an article titled The Travelling Citizen: Emergent Discourses of Moral Mobility in a Study of Cycling in London in the April 2012 issue of Sociology.

(Video is at this link)

So, the study involved interviewing people to get their opinions on how "moral" cycling was... i.e. is it better (primarily environmentally) for a person to bike to work, or drive to work etc.

Nearly every single respondent said that yes, the most "moral" way to get to work, or to get around London, was to ride a bicycle.

What's interesting however is that most respondents also said something like "but God I hate cyclists!!!". The reason they had this reaction is that people perceive cyclists as being scofflaws who run red lights all the time and break any other rules that they want to, while motorists are all obeying the rules and are aghast at how immoral cyclists are.

So... cycling = moral, but cyclists = evil.

Here's the citation and abstract for the article.

Judith Green, Rebecca Steinbach, and Jessica Datta The Travelling Citizen: Emergent Discourses of Moral Mobility in a Study of Cycling in London Sociology April 2012 46: 272-289

Drawing on accounts of travelling within London, this article explores the ways in which mobility discourses are tied to the responsibilities of ‘a good citizen’ and suggests that car-dominated automobility has been significantly fractured, at least in one urban setting. A consensus hierarchy of transport modes now configures driving as immoral, as well as dysfunctional, and cycling, in contrast, as particularly laudable. Within this new moral economy of transport, cycling holds the promise of conscientious automobility, enabling a number of explicit and implied citizenship responsibilities to be met. These include ecological responsibilities to the city and global ecosystem, but also responsibilities to enact the ‘new citizen’: a knowledgeable and alert risk-assessor competent to travel in ways that maximize independence, efficiency and health. However, cycling has its own contradictions: whilst enabling some to enact a new ‘moral’ citizenship, it simultaneously underlines the marginal citizenship of less mobile Londoners.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

2012 Orillia Bicycle Rally

The fifth annual Orillia Bicycle Rally was on Wednesday September 19th.
In a week of rain, we ended up with a nice sunny evening (no wind, and a few degrees above the 15C that was forecast).
Orillia now has an Active Transportation and Trails Advisory Committee (formed out of the previous Trails for Life Committee). The city has also adopted an official Active Transportation Plan. Progress takes forever, but at least there's progress!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Orillia cycling & the MEC contest

As noted before, I've posted a few cycling videos onto Youtube. This was the first one, and then I did a second one riding west out of the city.

Later, I was browsing the MEC site looking at paniers and winter cycling pants, and came across their Sweet Spots video contest.

I entered my videos into the cycling portion of the contest, and if anyone wants to grace me with a few votes, go to this page and look for the two videos which have "orillia" in the title.

I initially assumed that you had to be a MEC member to vote in the contest, but you don't - all you need is an email address.


Monday, August 09, 2010

West out of town

Maybe I'll do a video in each direction out of Orillia. The last one started north of town and worked it's way back in. This one loops out of town to the west, then comes back in from the south. I could do a purely "south" one and then one out to the east!

Anyway - here's the youtube link to the newest video.

P.S. - as a long time Toronto cyclist (where you bike for about 1.5 hours just to get to something resembling the farmland seen in this video), let me say how nice it is to have these kind of views just 15 minutes away from your house. In just about any direction.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

A cyclist with a mac

I now have access to a Mac and the IMOVIE software. I'm starting to dream about creating awesome cycling videos. Unfortunately I don't have regular access to a good video camera. These two videos were just shot with my Canon Powershot camera's video-recording capabilities, and they're still turning out pretty well.

The link to go over to YouTube to watch this video is here. I don't know why embedding videos on blogger continues not to work properly.

That's the one I tried a bit harder with. This one is shorter and was my first crack at the IMOVIE software.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

floyd - the truth is out there

In 2006, after Floyd Landis won a crazy mountain stage in the Tour de France (the Tour that he would win and then have taken away due to doping), I wrote a very sentimental and melodramatic post about Floyd's mountain climbing ability, and about mountain climbing in general.

Despite positive doping tests from that Tour, Floyd would deny drug use for four years. He even set up the Floyd Fairness Fund (or the longer title Fund to Fight for Fair Treatment for Floyd Landis and Advocate Advances in Best Practice in Anti-Doping in Sport. Basically - you were meant to donate to the fund to help Floyd clear his name and also help protect other athletes from every being tarnished in this way.

Well the truth is now out of the bag - Floyd has confessed, and he's saying that Lance was involved in the doping.

I don't really care about Lance. What gets me is the indignant, holier than thou, "how dare you accuse me of doping" attitude that Floyd (and McGwire and Bonds etc) put on for as long as they possibly can, until something makes them realize that it's pointless and they might as well confess. And to go so far as to set up a Floyd Fairness Fund?!? That's ridiculous. In his confession, Floyd should have also added "I would like to announce that anyone who contributed to my fund is welcome to come and punch me in the face."

It's such a shame. Those mountain stages in the Tour and other cycling races are so inspiring and dramatic. To hear - a few weeks or months or years later - that the dudes providing the drama were flat out cheating.... well... it just ruins it, doesn't it?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Last day of mini-vacation

The Trek road bike mentioned below has sold. Thanks to my buddy for selling it for me and to everyone who inquired about it. I hope the buyer enjoys many long summer rides on it.

It's mid-May and my thoughts are more about gardening right now than biking. The photo above comes at the end of a nice day here in central-Ontario - the plants and vegetables in the foreground will soon be in our garden this weekend hopefully, and the bike out in the lawn was deposited there by my wife after a "gotta ride my bike in this sunshine" outing along the lakeshore trails.

The cats spent most of the day under a bench.