A while back a man by the name of Mikael Colville-Andersen tweeted this simple message:
“The people who worry about how much their bicycles weigh are probably not the people you want advocating cycling”
It is a basic message that says sports only cyclists do not understand the requirements of utility and commuter bike riders (see, I made a segregating separation there).
I think he is dead right!
When I first got involved in Advocacy, I was full of beans, I had great ideas to go with it, AND YOU WERE ALL WRONG. If you disagreed with me, I not only told you how wrong you were, I was a zealot, and I had to make sure you wouldn’t say it again. In doing so I alienated a number of people, lost some good friends and hurt people I didn’t mean to. Some of these people are now allies, some . With all my crazy ideas, some I still like, I went and hit the pavement.
I had ‘Drive to Work Day,’ not the first to have this idea, but 200 registered and a number of people did it.
‘Respect 4 Riders’ – this was a bad idea, it was saying that we needed to earn respect in order to get respect, but soon changed to motorists need to show respect before we return the favour.
And more things are coming, hopefully better ideas.
I loved all things safety, Hi-Vis and Yellow were my favourite colours, right up till being hit by a car wearing the LiveStrong kit. Let’s not even talk helmets, but a few poor buggers got an earful from me about how dangerous they were without them. Oh, and Red Light Runners? I once chased one down to tell him off, how ironic it was that I ran a pedestrian red in order to do it (but it was only orange when I got there was my excuse).
I was angry, I was frustrated and everyone had to know. But then a change happened, I saw someone advocating that was angrier than me, in fact more angry than other people I knew. It struck me that this is not what I want people to see from cyclists. I don’t want them to fear I may scratch their car or yell through their window. I certain do not condone it any more.