Is the bicycle a political object?

Ben@Forest
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Re: Is the bicycle a political object?

Postby Ben@Forest » 20 May 2015, 11:56am

jgurney wrote:Exactly the one you saw that he was. That he wanted everyone to know that he was:
not one of these people who believed cyclists had a right to be on the road - shown by riding on the pavement.
not one of these people who took their cycling seriously as a form of transport - shown by messing about on the pavement and by having a cheap bike, not wanting a 'serious' one.
not one of these do-gooders into peace or co-operation, sometimes linked to cycling - shown by riding in a anti-social fashion that annoyed or threatened others.
not rejecting the idea that cars equal status - shown by aggressive riding to demonstrate he is not meekly taking having to ride a bike lying down, but is resisting this insult.
that while he might be sat on a bike right now, his cultural identity was firmly as a motorist.

He evidently did this successfully as he got his message across to you.


I agree - you are ignoring that that was exactly my point to horizon!. He had said that every cyclist was making a point about their views and hopes for the future and implicit in that was that cyclists are good, noble and striving for the good of humanity. My point was - not necessarily.

jgurney
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Re: Is the bicycle a political object?

Postby jgurney » 20 May 2015, 3:19pm

Ben@Forest wrote: I agree - you are ignoring that that was exactly my point to horizon


Not ignoring - misinterpreting. I thought you meant that this pesky pavement-peddler was not making any kind of statement by his actions, and his actions should not be seen as having a political context. I think you, Horizon and I all agree that choices about ways of cycling, or not to cycle, are made in a political context and often (even if not always) are expressions of ideological stances.

jgurney
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Re: Is the bicycle a political object?

Postby jgurney » 20 May 2015, 3:43pm

Ellieb wrote:Erm.. What about a £10 grand carbon racing bike, or a similarly priced all the frills mtb? What sort of political statement are they making?


They are going in for the form of cycling which does not pose political challenges - one which poses no threat to car sales, does not challenge the role of the car as status-bestower and does not challenge the consumption imperative. In fact such specialised sport and recreation focussed cycling might even lead to participants buying bigger cars to carry their cycles to the track. The salesman is not threatened by them, and neither is the insecure seeker after status totems.

That is very different to the cyclist who rides instead of driving and by implication does not admire people for buying costly cars, and does not feel a need to buy everything the neighbours have. To the salesman, and the status-seeker, those are the enemy. If what they do spreads, they undermine the salesman's revenues and the value of the status-seeker's totems.

Bicycler
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Re: Is the bicycle a political object?

Postby Bicycler » 20 May 2015, 3:45pm

Okay, well I'll be the one to disagree. There's no way you can draw the conclusions you did from the guy's actions. You see him as a supporter of the motorcracy, but his behaviour was equally consistent with just being an inconsiderate anti-social oaf. Some people are just selfish. Not all behaviour is political, no matter how keen you are to search for political intent in others' actions.

jgurney
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Re: Is the bicycle a political object?

Postby jgurney » 20 May 2015, 4:11pm

Bicycler wrote: By that reasoning any niche activity (or any activity not endorsed by some unspecified elite of media types) is a political statement..


I think I'd say more those which are criticised by the popular media rather than those wholly ignored, but on second thoughts, consider the hostility sometimes directed at those who go in for all kinds of non-mainstream activities. Folk dancers and folk music fans, dolls-house enthusiasts, pony riders, railway enthusiasts and vegetarians, for example, have all experienced aggression and hostility apparently in response to their doing something others don't - arguably an ideologically-driven reaction to an act seems as a challenge? I cannot see any pragmatic motive for such acts as bursting into a dolls-house fair and yelling expletives at the attendees, as a friend who attends them reports occurring, or for spitting at folk dancers performing at may fairs, etc, as my wife's folk-dance group has experienced.

Bicycler wrote: Cyclists are no more immune to advertising and conformity than anybody else

I'm not convinced but can't find any evidence either way at short notice. I suspect their is some degree of correlation between adult cycling, particularly not wholly sport/exercise related cycling, and a low response to advertising.

Do any readers work in advertising and have access to research on the topic?

Tasker
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Re: Is the bicycle a political object?

Postby Tasker » 21 May 2015, 4:19pm

'I think it is: I think it's a symbol of a view of life, of society and humanity. It becomes political when it extends from being merely a plaything to a means of transport, a way of respecting Nature, a less selfish way of getting around and a more sociable way of relating to one's fellow human beings. Since it therefore represents a more caring attitude to Nature and society and these are values that are reflected politically, I would propose that the bicycle is a political object and riding a bicycle a political statement.'

Surely, this has got to have been written either by someone who has 1: just brought a bike (felt like that myself when I discovered 'The Joys of Cycling'). Or 2: is a complete Petrolhead - naw. 3: A product of one of the many 'Unis' springing up like Mushrooms all over the place.... 4: Is only thirteen years old.

It's so sweet, my moneys on the latter

Ellieb
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Re: Is the bicycle a political object?

Postby Ellieb » 21 May 2015, 6:05pm

No. I just think he is an optimist (or even an idealistic optimist). My view is that almost any human related activity can be seen as political if you want it to be. Bikes can be political, but pretty often they aren't. At least not in the sense that horizon wants them to be.

Tacascarow
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Re: Is the bicycle a political object?

Postby Tacascarow » 21 May 2015, 6:39pm

Tasker wrote:'I think it is: I think it's a symbol of a view of life, of society and humanity. It becomes political when it extends from being merely a plaything to a means of transport, a way of respecting Nature, a less selfish way of getting around and a more sociable way of relating to one's fellow human beings. Since it therefore represents a more caring attitude to Nature and society and these are values that are reflected politically, I would propose that the bicycle is a political object and riding a bicycle a political statement.'

Surely, this has got to have been written either by someone who has 1: just brought a bike (felt like that myself when I discovered 'The Joys of Cycling'). Or 2: is a complete Petrolhead - naw. 3: A product of one of the many 'Unis' springing up like Mushrooms all over the place.... 4: Is only thirteen years old.

It's so sweet, my moneys on the latter

Would you have said the same about Gandhi hand spinning cotton?
Sometimes the simplest actions can be the most politically overt.

Tasker
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Re: Is the bicycle a political object?

Postby Tasker » 21 May 2015, 8:08pm

Ma Hat Ma Coat notwithstanding: oh yeah? Then why, if you're quoting him as being so clever then why didn't he just go on the net to get some cotton? I mean, if he was so clever then you just tell me that then! You can get some very nice (and strong!) cotton thread for sewing.

Honestly folks, some people eh? Pulling in examples of long dead peeps they never even met in the hope there gonna suddenly start start shouting with them....

Ellieb: for me, with your post you've wrapped the whole thing up.

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b1ke
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Re: Is the bicycle a political object?

Postby b1ke » 21 May 2015, 9:29pm

Surely, this has got to have been written either by someone who has 1: just brought a bike (felt like that myself when I discovered 'The Joys of Cycling'). Or 2: is a complete Petrolhead - naw. 3: A product of one of the many 'Unis' springing up like Mushrooms all over the place.... 4: Is only thirteen years old.

It's so sweet, my moneys on the latter


For some reason, this comment made me think of Jeremy Clarkson.
http://www.farewellburt.wordpress.com - Europe on a Tandem....
http://www.thespokeandwords.wordpress.com - West Africa on a Tandem....

Tacascarow
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Re: Is the bicycle a political object?

Postby Tacascarow » 21 May 2015, 9:41pm

Tasker wrote:Ma Hat Ma Coat notwithstanding: oh yeah? Then why, if you're quoting him as being so clever then why didn't he just go on the net to get some cotton? I mean, if he was so clever then you just tell me that then! You can get some very nice (and strong!) cotton thread for sewing.

Honestly folks, some people eh? Pulling in examples of long dead peeps they never even met in the hope there gonna suddenly start start shouting with them....

Ellieb: for me, with your post you've wrapped the whole thing up.

I'm sorry, what was that rant about? :lol:

beardy
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Re: Is the bicycle a political object?

Postby beardy » 21 May 2015, 10:12pm

I am not sure if people see it as a political decision when I turn up for a (distant) cycling event on my bike instead of in my car. It does get noticed and I am sure it must rub off on some people enough to consider doing it themselves, though most just think I am nuts.

In my case it is a personal political code and not something that I am doing to make a statement or to guide others in any other way than by example.

Tasker
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Re: Is the bicycle a political object?

Postby Tasker » 21 May 2015, 10:40pm

To Politise (can't spell), cycling is the most dangerous thing ever. Far more dangerous than any drunk driver/monster truck/ 'Green Party Activist' in his wildest dreams could ever wish for. Cycling still is at this time of writing, mercifully free from the left/right wing fascists.

If we loose the bicycle to them we are lost forever.

Tacascarow
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Re: Is the bicycle a political object?

Postby Tacascarow » 22 May 2015, 8:05am

It might be dangerous. Most acts of rebellion are dangerous, even the simplest. Hence my reference to Gandhi earlier.
Riding a bike may or may not be a political act. That will all depend on context. But rejecting the motor vehicle as your personal mode of transport is, whether you like it or not.
Having to ride a bicycle because you have had your driving licence banned isn't. But I would say that anyone forced to ride a bike through economic reasons are making a political statement in the same way as the million food bank users are.
The whole economy is based on oil & rejecting it's most obvious (& to many envious) manifestation the motor car is revolutionary.

pwa
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Re: Is the bicycle a political object?

Postby pwa » 22 May 2015, 8:30am

To some the bicycle may be a piece of political clothing, but to me it is a mode of transport and a piece of leisure apparatus. I am 54 and have been riding bikes since I was about 5, with no thought for politics. I used to work for a charity that saw itself as being green. But out of a staff of about 30 I was one of two who did not arrive by car. I chose to ride my bike to that place of work because I liked keeping fit, I liked saving money, the journey was only 10 (mainly rural) miles each way, and I like riding a bike. I had no thoughts of being especially green. When I ride I do not see it as a blow against the oil industry. I do not see it as a complete rejection of cars (I also drive) or big business. In fact I see the distinction between motorists and cyclists as a damaging view, a social sickness. We are all humans, whatever our mode of transport. Most motorists that I know have bikes, so are sometimes cyclists. And most of the adult cyclists I know are also motorists. A friend of mine is a self employed digger driver who takes his machines to site on a large trailer towed by a large tractor. But on the weekend he enjoys a ride around the lanes on his mountain bike. The bicycle is there for everyone who can ride one. That sounds a bit like a political statement but I don't mean it to be.