By Jacqui Ma
There are so many different kinds of cyclists. There are mamils (middle aged men in lycra), mile munchers, fixie riders, couriers, uber eats delivery people, bmx-ers, pashley potterers, brompton groupies, moulton snobs and we can’t not mention the Rapha-lites. There are the steiner-school cargo bikers, the tech geeks with their strava’s, the extreme commuters… and then there is me. I’m just a regular commuter.
Due to many reasons including improved infrastructure, the rise of health and well-being and the fact that there are just so many great designed bikes and bicycle accessories out there, it’s hard not to be drawn into the culture that it opens up to so many groups of people, some of which i mentioned above.
Cycling is so relevant in today’s urban society because of 5 key reasons.
1. We know we need to drive less
Cars are clogging up the city. London’s population is growing by 10,000 a month and the same is no doubt happening many other major cities around the world, and there just isn’t enough room in the city for car driving to continue to rise. The only solution is to look for sustainable modes of transport and cycling is on the top of that list.
"Officially, the cycling programme is about cycling. In reality, it is about breathing.
“Much of the opposition to cycling schemes is based on a belief that motor traffic is like rainwater and the roads are the drains for it. If you narrow the pipe, these people say, it will flood. If you block one route, they say, the same amount of traffic will simply flow down the next easiest route. But that seldom or never actually happens in practice. Because traffic isn’t a force of nature' it’s a product of human choices. Our surveys tell us that huge numbers of Londoners will choose to cycle if they feel safe doing so. If we open up that choice, even more people will take it."
-Andrew Gilligan, Guardian journalist and Cycling Commissioner
2. We need to feel like kids again
We are living in the most stressful times ever with Fifty-two percent of Millennials and 45 percent of Gen Xers say their stress has continued to increase over the last five years. There is not enough play incorporated into our daily lives. This is where cycling comes in. Cycling is special because we learn to cycle when we are kids, it’s a rite of passage for a kid to get his or her first bicycle. When we cycle as adults we will always be reminded of our childhood.
3. We have an urge to support small brands
Cycling incorporates a big dose of engineering and design. Cycling brings with it the potentials for new navigation systems, road safety solutions, functional fashion, material innovations and with these new businesses. These independent companies with their disruptive offerings tap into the consumer appetite to support new and independent brands.
4. We want to regain control
Be it about politics, about food, about unpredictable weather patterns, we as a collective feel out of control. Riding a bike gives us back the sense of control that we have lost in other parts of our lives. There is nothing much more manual than literally pedalling to propel yourself forward on a bicycle. You are in the driver’s seat, and unless you are on a tandem, there are no back seat drivers.
5. Because our new working lives are not simple point A to B commutes
We are freelancers juggling multiple jobs and moving between different workplaces. We are living more spontaneous daily lives than we ever did before. Getting around on a bicycle lends itself to the new way that people are working and playing. The ‘gig economy’, as its been labelled, is the result of a slew of apps like uber, airbnb and taskrabbit that have created more self-employed people than ever. Bikes facilitate this new way of working and living.