Comments on: Wide Open Road http://thinkingaboutcycling.com/2013/10/04/wide-open-road/ Re-making the world, one revolution at a time Sun, 28 Dec 2014 21:49:57 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.com/ By: Rosalind http://thinkingaboutcycling.com/2013/10/04/wide-open-road/#comment-10449 Thu, 07 Nov 2013 18:11:32 +0000 http://thinkingaboutcycling.wordpress.com/?p=2715#comment-10449 Hi Dave

You express it all better than I can – and I agree, you can’t go to too many of these things or your head explodes (which would be just awful!). I really glad you found my post helpful – I would really like your very considered, knowledgeable, experienced and passionate viewpoint to be heard and to carry on being heard, so please don’t leave it to the know-nothing wonks. (I wonder if they’re reading this… Hi guys! … ignore the stuff about creating revolutionary subjects and a new society, m’kay, just do everything Uncle Dave says!)

Rosalind

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By: Dave Horton http://thinkingaboutcycling.com/2013/10/04/wide-open-road/#comment-10445 Thu, 07 Nov 2013 07:52:22 +0000 http://thinkingaboutcycling.wordpress.com/?p=2715#comment-10445 You’ve lifted me up Rosalind, thank you!

Of course, you’re right, and in focusing on the negative I lost sight of the positive (always, always, both!). And now you point it out, it seems obvious (but I wouldn’t have got there by myself).

Still, if you don’t mind, despite your wonderfully generous offer of cake and a cuppa ;-), which I really appreciate, and despite realising your comments come from a very good place, I’d still like to reserve the right to (at least sometimes) skip meetings in order to save my soul. I absolutely admire your stance towards meetings, and sometimes I have sufficient appetite (whether from anger and indignation, or from a warmer, kinder place) to go along and get involved; but horses for courses – I know others are better at that kind of stuff than me, and rather than aspire to emulate them I’d rather sometimes work in different (if more mysterious!) ways. (Perhaps I need more practice, although meetings aren’t just practical encounters – as we know they’re intensely political and ethical too; and maybe most of all for me – also aesthetic (perhaps largely to do with very early formative influences and the psychological construction of fear, shame, horror, embarrassment … and the development of taste and distaste), and – whilst I realise there’s always room to grow – at a visceral, bodily, level I react badly to them, particularly when I’m in a minority and my deepest dreams and values are at stake. (I know I’m being a bit too stubborn here, apologies …)

But as I say, I’m glad you and others can be much more mature, businesslike and pragmatic about them. Theoretically I value dialogue, debate, discussion and the exchange of opinions in order to get from ‘here to there’. And I don’t mean to ‘essentialize’ myself (or anyone else) – perhaps I’m just going through an ‘awkward stage’!

But your broader point – yes! Cycling’s capacity to change the world has to come out of its capacity to change specific lives; so however we get someone cycling (and in this world that has inevitably often to involve institutions and business meetings) it’s a little victory for enlightenment, a literal ‘lifting to the light’. It’s potentially a slightly romantic? naive? view, but I think it’s also partly why we (certainly I) bang on about cycling – the politicians and bureaucrats might think ‘all’ they’re doing is creating cycle commuters and a more efficient city, but really they’re creating revolutionary subjects and a new society!!

Thank you so much for reading, and to some degree ‘rescuing’ me! And watch out, I might take you up on that offer of tea and cake (biscuits, anyway ;-) next time I’m down there, and in need of moral support!
All the best
Dave

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By: Rosalind http://thinkingaboutcycling.com/2013/10/04/wide-open-road/#comment-10441 Wed, 06 Nov 2013 14:33:52 +0000 http://thinkingaboutcycling.wordpress.com/?p=2715#comment-10441 Gah, not clear enuff: I mean, these suits are potentially creating a load of thinking, aware, questioning, fit, outgroup members without realising it – they are ticking boxes, while the new cyclists are all questioning the System!

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By: Rosalind http://thinkingaboutcycling.com/2013/10/04/wide-open-road/#comment-10440 Wed, 06 Nov 2013 14:29:41 +0000 http://thinkingaboutcycling.wordpress.com/?p=2715#comment-10440 Hi Dave

I have to go to a lot of seemingly pointless meetings at which I often express radical or what seem to be shocking points of view. I won’t go into details but I know it is good for people to hear from me because I have a unique experience of my particular sector and I am aware that if I do not go into rooms of suits they will never hear my viewpoint. I often come away from these things irritated and frustrated – often also thinking that I might have garnered a bit of dislike – but I do keep going (though not to all of them – as you say, sanity is also important!).

I know you express concern about cycling being seen as instrumental and creating “bums on bikes” for essentially capitalist or economically manipulative ends, but I would draw your attention to what Ian says in the first post here: “the experience of being an outgroup member, not something I’d had before”. The fact is, becoming a cyclist (or a person on a bike) is transformative. Yes, eventually we might see a time when the motorist is the outgroup, but even if it weren’t “other”, riding a bike transforms people in many ways, regardless of how they decided to do it. It’s like art – whatever your reason for participating, you will be surprised by what happens to you as a result. I don’t think you can start cycling and not become much more aware as a person (as well as fitter, richer etc).

I do know you must hate these Westminster things but I’m afraid I think you have to keep doing it! Come to my office after and I’ll give you cake and a cuppa as encouragement!

Rosalind

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By: Dave Horton http://thinkingaboutcycling.com/2013/10/04/wide-open-road/#comment-10437 Wed, 06 Nov 2013 07:37:16 +0000 http://thinkingaboutcycling.wordpress.com/?p=2715#comment-10437 Thanks very much for your observations and thoughts Martin – they’re much appreciated. I entirely agree with your sense that things have improved, and continue to improve, in London; and yes, the hope is what’s happening there can be sustained, and emulated more widely across Britain. The future of our cities feels more of an open book than has been the case, probably since the early 1970s; and there’s an excitement to that; and whilst cycling now has some key trends (towards liveability & health, and away from the costs and hassles of the car) on its side, we must also be under no illusions that it remains the minority mode pushing up against the car particularly, but also the other more entrenched (and whilst perhaps more sustainable, still oil-based, polluting & in various respects pretty unhealthy) modes.

That sounds lovely – an autumn break from Sweden spent in London! Enjoy it.

Best wishes
Dave

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By: Dave Horton http://thinkingaboutcycling.com/2013/10/04/wide-open-road/#comment-10418 Sun, 03 Nov 2013 08:12:10 +0000 http://thinkingaboutcycling.wordpress.com/?p=2715#comment-10418 Good luck Georgie! I realise I’m privileged to be able (often, not always!) to ride during the week as well as at weekends, but I also think to do so should be less of a privilege than it currently seems, and one which more of us should be fighting for (not only for ourselves, but also for others). In general, we work and consume too much, and cycle too little; and more time on the bike combats both excessive work and consumption! There are important questions about wealth, affluence, quality-of-life etc which cycling can surely ‘speak to’, yet rarely does. So yes, really good luck with your search for a better balance.

From what I heard (from a fellow campaigner), the Lancashire Cycle Forum was quite positive; which I think makes a change! Perhaps the County is finally realising the contributions which *ordinary, utility* cycling can/should make? But it’s hard not to become disillusioned, eh?, particularly when any contributions we make must come out of our own pockets and from our own free time.

Thanks for reading, and I hope for more cycling for you in the not-too-distant future!
Cheers
Dave

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By: Dave Horton http://thinkingaboutcycling.com/2013/10/04/wide-open-road/#comment-10417 Sun, 03 Nov 2013 07:58:50 +0000 http://thinkingaboutcycling.wordpress.com/?p=2715#comment-10417 Thanks Howie – that sounds like a great ride from Blackpool (a town to which I’m of course close here, yet must admit I rarely go – except when forced to by the kids! I guess I always head for the hills, rather than south-west across the Fylde); and yes, despite more darkness, the Dales are as magical in winter as at other times of year, I think (how beautiful it is, to see the moon, stars and silhouettes whilst riding through night-time countryside!).
Thanks for reading.
Best wishes
Dave

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By: Howie Dean http://thinkingaboutcycling.com/2013/10/04/wide-open-road/#comment-10385 Mon, 28 Oct 2013 06:31:54 +0000 http://thinkingaboutcycling.wordpress.com/?p=2715#comment-10385 Dave,
You like me appear to enjoy cycling around the Dales! I’m originally from Blackpool and one of our trips out used to be Blackpool to Ingleton for lunch then Hawes – Dent via Garsdale head with Barbondale – Blackpool (130 miles round trip) finish. Some of these were in the Winter with 4 hours of lights required. A truly magical place and one that I remember some 25 – 30 years on.
Mallerstang is another fantastic area, a friend of mine owns Hell Gill cottage with Wild Boar fell opposite.

Sadly I drive too much although when I return to the UK next year I plan to get back to some road cycling again. I’ll have to stick to MTB in the mean time.

Howie

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By: georgie http://thinkingaboutcycling.com/2013/10/04/wide-open-road/#comment-10372 Sat, 26 Oct 2013 21:44:12 +0000 http://thinkingaboutcycling.wordpress.com/?p=2715#comment-10372 I’m currently applying for term time jobs to regain my free-time. I lost the school holidays in a restructure 2 years ago and do I miss them. I feel like all I do is live to work and I hate it. You really miss your own life when you loose so much of your time. I’d take that 20% pay drop any day to get my free time back. Wish me luck!

And I know what you mean about those suits… it’s the Lancashire Cycle Forum on monday, but what is the point of me hauling over to county hall and spending my evening there when pitifully little will come of it. It’s over £10 to get there on the train now, or I drive (which would irritate me), or I have to finish work early to cycle there… it’s a lot of effort or expense for what exactly.

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By: Martin Belcher http://thinkingaboutcycling.com/2013/10/04/wide-open-road/#comment-10287 Wed, 16 Oct 2013 09:16:12 +0000 http://thinkingaboutcycling.wordpress.com/?p=2715#comment-10287 PS. So the point of my comment above was that the change many of us want to see is perhaps starting. We just need to push the policy and practical commitments to it to be much more radical. At some point there may be a tipping point. At least one hopes that is the case.

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