Out of the saddle

For a while now, I’ve been thinking about starting a blog, dedicated to thinking about cycling. And now finally I’ve pulled myself up out of the saddle, put in the (admittedly minimal, but isn’t that always the case? – you don’t realise how minimal the effort might only need to be until you actually make it) effort and, well, here it is.

I love cycling. Obviously, then, I love riding bikes. But I also have an immense belief in the capacity of cycling to make things better – all kinds of things: my own head, when I need a break or am seeking inspiration; the streets where I live and on which my kids are learning about the world, and their place in it; the planet. That’s just for starters …

I’m currently working on a research project called Understanding Walking and Cycling. It’s concerned with short urban journeys, with how short urban journeys are currently made, and with the capacity of walking and cycling to replace trips by car for such journeys. So, as part of that, I’m already thinking a fair bit about cycling. To be honest, though, I often find much of today’s thinking about cycling a bit dry, dull, boring.

Why? Well, we’ve more or less drifted into a new commonplace understanding – shared by an increasing number of politicians – that cycling is ‘a good thing’. Of course, I absolutely agree that cycling is a good thing! But at a time when ‘what cycling is’ risks being captured and closed off by politicians and policy-makers (e.g. ‘cycling is a remedy for obesity’ say the health professionals, and ‘cycling is a cure for congestion’ say those concerned with making our cities more economically competitive), it’s time to inject some fresh thinking into cycling, to think cycling anew …

Nothing clever though. Thinking is about making notes, observations, reflections … Musing, pontificating, wondering, asking questions … Seeing what comes up … Who knows what’ll happen?



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