Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Four Types of Bicycling Advocates

Where's Shemp?

1. Strongly and Fearlessly Full of It: 1%
 This one percent is absolutely convinced of its righteousness. Whether it be that every road larger than a tractor path needs a protected bike lane along side it and we need to re-engineer every city as a model of Copenhagen on one extreme, or that the only thing wrong with cycling is that cyclists are not confident enough to be taking the lane on our interstates at the other, don't try to disabuse these folks of their opinions. It won't work.

2. Enthusiastic and Confident of their Knowledge: 7%.
  This subset rides lots, reads and studies cycling as both transportation and recreation,and generally tries to stay away from purely dogmatic reactions. Practicality and a tendency to pick the low hanging fruit while building base makes more sense than pure ideology. Evolving one's thinking in light of new knowledge is not considered heresy. Visionaries who temper their enthusiasm with reality and whose motto includes "the devils are in the details". These advocates will look for fixes to problems that do not require wholesale reinventing of traffic law, that require motorists put eyes in the back of their heads, or assume immediate sea changes in human behavior.

3. Interested, Concerned, and Willing to Listen: 60%
  With cycling on the rise, these are the folks pounding the web sites trying to figure out who makes the most sense and where to put their money and volunteer effort.

4. No way,  no how, will they ever know what they are talking about: 33%
 Made up of the uncritical, the sheeple, the occasional mainstream transportation journalist who either never rides or whose bike's most often used accessory is a roof rack, and those who look at cycling as a solution to a social engineering problem without ever intending to learn anything about cycling. 

With not quite a serious apology to the City of Portland for my spoof on their post, which continues to flog that horse about four types of cyclists, an argument that is more often used to dismiss thoughtful cyclists rather than improve the lives of the rest of us. I'm also mulling this over as I decide whether to re-up my membership in LAB for another two years. 



bikeolounger said...

I don't see any reason to apologize to Portland over the parody of the Geller sorting scheme.

Thank you, though, for the gentle reminder that many of us could use from time to time, that we do better as part of that seven percent than as part of that one percent!

Steve A said...

Neglecting the fact that the Portland categories are pure BS, in Ocean Shores, the fourth category is much bigger if you exclude the mostly clueless tourists who rent those four-wheel bikes.i have never met someone in category 1 thoug they must exist judging from the bike lanes.