I have a family blog that does not get updated enough these days. With three kids, James and I are usually pretty busy, so writing can get shoved to the side. Today I was looking for a picture I knew was on the family blog when I ran across this post from my Hubby the Bike Man. I didn't realize he had posted it (I haven't even looked at the family blog for months!).
How can that be? How can the city where bikes have the privilege of having roads made specifically for them, where every one rides a bicycle, have no bike culture. Further discussion on the matter lead to some enlightening conclusions that come at you like a bus full of Vegas bound retirees. And it seemed so obvious in hind sight, in a way not so unlike the cartoon light bulb going off.
The discussion started with a simple question not unfamiliar to American cyclists: "What kind of cyclist are you?". Most American cyclist will have a natural answer at the ready. The terms "weekend warrior", "roadie", "mountain biker", "downhiller", "BMXer" come to mind. Yet that very same question would perplex someone from Amsterdam. The bicycle is so ingrained into the every life of the Amsterdamer, that they no longer think of it as a facet of their lives.
Suppose I posed to you this multiple choice question: "What kind of driver are you?", with the available answers as "off roader", "race weenie", "mileage counter", etc. It would seem rather absurd wouldn't it? The bicycle is such a large part of the average Amsterdamer's life, just like the automobile is a part of the average American life, that the very idea of "bike culture" just doesn't make sense to them. It's just part of their culture, much the same as American culture is car-centric.
So to have Americans integrate bicycles into their lives, all we need to do is rid ourselves of bike culture, right? Until then... Down with bike culture. Long live the bike.
So, what do you think? Do we need to eliminate "bike culture" or do we need to make it so ubiquitous as to make it unnoticeable?