Photo via undergraduatestudies.ss.uci.edu
If you were asked right now to imagine a bike commuter, who would you picture? For most of you, it’s probably of a white man (who’s probably in bike shorts and a neon jacket) enroute to his middle or upper-middle class office job. It’s a reasonable image to have. A 2009 report found that 79 percent of trips by bike in the US were taken by white people and 73 percent of all those trips were done by men. But those same studies show that people of color accounted for about 21 percent of trips and 31 percent of trips were taken by people in the lowest quartile income bracket.
The sometimes-overlooked fact that biking is not just for well-to-do white guys is central to the work Adonia Lugo does as a bike advocate, activist, and anthropologist. She co-founded Los Angeles’ CicLAvia and Ciudad de Luces, an outreach project with day laborer bicyclists. After moving moved to Seattle in 2011 to complete her dissertation, she started the Seattle Bike Justice Project, an ethnographic project focused on bicycling and Seattle’s communities of color. We recently sat down to discuss her Bike Justice Project, equity in bicycling, the sometimes-narrow focus of American bike advocates, her own activism, and much more.
Photos via Ted’s blog.
Ted King’s cycling star is on the rise. The New England native was the top ranked domestic professional in the United States in 2008 when he was tapped to join Cervelo TestTeam and headed to Europe to race in the pro peloton. Now he’s racing for Liquigas Cannondale, competing in some of the biggest one-day and stage races in the world. I interviewed Ted by email as he wrapped up at the Tour of Utah. We discussed his start in cycling, the challenges of Europe, his environmental and bike advocacy, and more.
Photo by Elly Blue.
Noah Budnick is Deputy Director of Transportation Alternatives, a New York City bicycling, walking, and public transit advocacy group. TransAlt is regarded as one of the leading-edge transportation advocacy groups in the United States and Noah is right in the mix organizing and educating New York residents, pushing for policy and infrastructure reform, and more. Part one of this two-part interview covered Noah’s personal attraction to cycling, views on transportation options, and more. Part two picks up with New York City’s major bike infrastructure overhaul and its impact on ridership, how to increasing biking nationwide, and the anti-bike federal transportation bill.
Speaking at the Los Angeles Bike Summit. Photo by flickr user Gary Rides Bikes
Noah Budnick is Deputy Director of Transportation Alternatives, a New York City bicycling, walking, and public transit advocacy group. TransAlt is regarded as one of the leading-edge transportation advocacy groups in the United States and Noah is right in the mix organizing and educating New York residents, pushing for policy and infrastructure reform, and more. In part one of this two part interview, Noah discusses his early love affair with bikes, his views on the severe crash that hospitalized him in 2005 and his eventual recovery and return to bicycling, his appreciation for transportation options, and more.
When did you first get into bikes? Were you one of those kids who learned to ride and never stopped or did bikes come later?
I rode growing up in Vermont. Low traffic dirt roads, potholes to “jump,” lots of coaster brake skids. Fun.
I don’t think my experience growing up and riding is that different from most people. In fact, if you’re the type of person who rides a lot and is really into bikes and doesn’t think there’s much more to say about biking, then I’m writing this for you. I’m writing this for me too, to see what kind of new ideas come out, what new ways there are to talk about ideas, how people will react to them and then what we can do with it all.
It seems safe to assume that you, the reader of this post on a site dedicated entirely to bikes, are intimately familiar with the special vitriol American drivers reserve for bicyclists. The worst rhetoric presents itself in the comments underneath nearly every mainstream media story that so much as mentions bikes (it’s hard to get in a full rant as you speed by that bastard cyclist rudely using the road built for your car. “Get off the rooaaaa” is usually the best they can muster). Comments range from screeds about bikes not paying for the roads therefore not deserving to ride on them to disgusting quips about injured cyclists getting what they deserved for riding where they don’t belong.
The ignorance and faulty logic of bike-hating Internet commenters is frustrating to no end, but it’s somewhat benign in the grand scheme. When that same hatred manifests in the mind of someone behind the wheel of a two-ton vehicle, however, it is incredibly dangerous. Enraged drivers suddenly feel justified as they try to scare cyclists by “buzzing” them, honking, cutting them off, yelling, or throwing something.
What the drivers often don’t take into consideration (at least I don’t think they do) is the razor-thin line between a scared cyclist and a severely injured cyclist that’s been hit by a car or run off the road. Occasionally drivers take that hatred to extremes and try to intentionally injure or kill cyclists. On of the most sickening examples of this happened in late February when a 47-year old man intentionally plowed his car through a large group of cyclists riding in critical mass in Porte Alegre, Brazil.