BBC: War on Two Wheels

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mark a.
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BBC: War on Two Wheels

Postby mark a. » 12 Aug 2020, 12:33pm

A lovely BBC Radio 4 program by Lois Price about cycling (and motorcycling), and how it should be a normal thing. I'm not sure if she's a CyclingUK member, but her message is very familiar. We should be able to call ourselves "people who get around on bikes", and not just identified (often disparagingly) as "cyclists".

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000llw4

The blurb:

Lois Pryce argues that bicycles need to be reclaimed as simply a mundane means of transport - and cycling needs to be uncool again.

As a passionate advocate of two-wheeled transport, whether it's powered by an engine or her own legs, Lois is tired of disapproving looks. And she thinks that in the case of bicycles, it's partly because cycling has turned into an identity. She wants to revert to the time it was just a way of getting around.


Well worth a listen, I thought.

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simonineaston
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Re: BBC: War on Two Wheels

Postby simonineaston » 12 Aug 2020, 12:58pm

It's kind-of the other way round - people-who-get-around-in-cars frequently refer to "Cyclists" in order to make it very clear that this minority is well-and-truly disparaged, readily identifable, poorly disciplined, dangerous and hateful. It's the standard position for the guys at my office who will often be in the middle of a tirade against "bloody cyclists" when they spot me and do a quick "of course, we don't mean you, Simon...."
EDIT - or did before lockdown - haven't seen the so-and-sos since March :-)
ttfn, Simon in Easton
(currently enjoying a Moulton TSR & a nano Brompton...)

Tangled Metal
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Re: BBC: War on Two Wheels

Postby Tangled Metal » 12 Aug 2020, 1:50pm

Even when the bicycle was used for transport it was also a leisure item. From the earliest days people just went out for fun on a bike. So I wonder whether the idea of going back to a time it was just a way of getting around is a bit manufactured for the modern audience.

My grandfather and my grandmother's brothers used to ride bikes to get around, to work, to the shops, etc. They also used to ride out for exercise and fun. Or at least some of them did, lots of brothers!! They're working class from Liverpool. Mostly railwaymen. I bet middle class used bikes for leisure even more back then.

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pjclinch
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Re: BBC: War on Two Wheels

Postby pjclinch » 12 Aug 2020, 2:05pm

Carlton Reid's "Roads were not built for cars" is worth a look. The picture it paints is that in the earliest days of cycling it was very much a leisure pursuit for middle and upper classes: a cycle was an expensive thing, and with a working population used to being in walking distance from where they needed to be there wasn't much call to be able to e.g. cycle commute to work.
Early cycle pioneers subsequently became early motoring pioneers. Cycling as mass transport happened a bit later.

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

Jdsk
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Re: BBC: War on Two Wheels

Postby Jdsk » 12 Aug 2020, 2:08pm

Tangled Metal wrote:Even when the bicycle was used for transport it was also a leisure item. From the earliest days people just went out for fun on a bike.

And it made an enormous contribution to feminism. And the evolution of women's clothes.

Jonathan

Jdsk
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Re: BBC: War on Two Wheels

Postby Jdsk » 12 Aug 2020, 2:09pm

mark a. wrote:A lovely BBC Radio 4 program by Lois Price about cycling (and motorcycling), and how it should be a normal thing.

Thanks for the heads-up. Looking forward to it, and have passed it on.

Jonathan

DevonDamo
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Re: BBC: War on Two Wheels

Postby DevonDamo » 12 Aug 2020, 2:33pm

I thought it was a good programme. I agree with her conclusions, although for different reasons:

Even though it's absolutely bonkers, humans can't help 'othering' each other, given the slightest opportunity. What I'm referring to is the phenomenon whereby you never see people shouting at each other for walking offences, but as soon as they're in cars where they don't have to come face to face with the actual humanity of other road users, they feel they can safely project their frustrations onto the other anonymous boxes - and horn-blaring etc. ensues... The popularly-derided specialist cycling gear that she was referring to in the programme has a similar affect to being in a metal box for two reasons: (1) it is seen as a bizarre and alien 'uniform' to the majority who will never wear that type of clothing and (2) the shades/helmet combination does a remarkably good job of hiding your 'humanity' and isolating you from the world.

Her programme and my previous paragraph are not part of any sinister campaign to ban lycra and wraparound shades. What we wear will always be entirely up to us. But my hassle-free experience of riding round in the same clothes I'd wear to the pub leads me to agree with her sentiment: in a world of irrational barely-evolved apes, simple visual signals can have a big effect on social interactions.

So my take on it is that the unfair prejudice cyclists often face isn't down to whether you're using it for leisure or work, but whether you're recognised as a fellow human within the second or two you come into contact with others. For those who are about to inevitably respond with fury that I should suggest such a thing: I'm not saying it's right that the world works this preposterous way, I'm just observing that it does work this preposterous way.

Jdsk
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Re: BBC: War on Two Wheels

Postby Jdsk » 12 Aug 2020, 2:39pm

DevonDamo wrote:Even though it's absolutely bonkers, humans can't help 'othering' each other, given the slightest opportunity.

Yes. Presumably it wasn't bonkers when our brains evolved. And that underlying tendency pops up in many different situations. Fortunately countermeasures are available.

Jonathan

PS: Recommended reading:

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined
Pinker
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Better_Angels_of_Our_Nature

The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies?
Diamond
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_World_Until_Yesterday

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simonineaston
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Re: BBC: War on Two Wheels

Postby simonineaston » 12 Aug 2020, 2:41pm

Even though it's absolutely bonkers, humans can't help 'othering' each other, given the slightest opportunity.
So true. Endless overlapping and interconnecting Venn diagrams to allow us to jump to conclusions about how the folk in all the minorities we know of will behave. A shortcut to dersion disgust and even violence, if it's thought we can get away with it... Britain has had a downer on cyclists since forever, in a way that other nations seem not to. France Italy Nederlands Germany all make room for cyclists & treat them as normal citizens - just seems to bring out the worst in us Brits.
ttfn, Simon in Easton
(currently enjoying a Moulton TSR & a nano Brompton...)

drossall
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Re: BBC: War on Two Wheels

Postby drossall » 12 Aug 2020, 10:10pm

Jdsk wrote:And it made an enormous contribution to feminism. And the evolution of women's clothes.

And the gene pool, apparently. When everyone walked everywhere, people rarely met anyone living more than five miles away...

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tykeboy2003
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Re: BBC: War on Two Wheels

Postby tykeboy2003 » 13 Aug 2020, 8:29am

Tangled Metal wrote:From the earliest days people just went out for fun on a bike.


Does that also not apply equally to cars?

No difference really, just a mode of transport.

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simonineaston
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Re: BBC: War on Two Wheels

Postby simonineaston » 13 Aug 2020, 8:30am

What puzzles me is why so many folk are so aggressive towards cyclists when there are very few if any disadvantages or downsides to the bloomin' thing. You could understand it, if a bike was smelly, noisy, expensive, dangerous and resource-hungry... but it's hard to think of an invention that's more benign. And still most Brit.s rant about cyclists as if we the very devil's spawn. Weird.
ttfn, Simon in Easton
(currently enjoying a Moulton TSR & a nano Brompton...)

Jdsk
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Re: BBC: War on Two Wheels

Postby Jdsk » 13 Aug 2020, 8:38am

simonineaston wrote:What puzzles me is why so many folk are so aggressive towards cyclists when there are very few if any disadvantages or downsides to the bloomin' thing. You could understand it, if a bike was smelly, noisy, expensive, dangerous and resource-hungry... but it's hard to think of an invention that's more benign. And still most Brit.s rant about cyclists as if we the very devil's spawn. Weird.

Do I detect an underlying presumption that outgroup derogation is based on objective reality?

; - )

Jonathan

reohn2
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Re: BBC: War on Two Wheels

Postby reohn2 » 13 Aug 2020, 9:17am

simonineaston wrote:What puzzles me is why so many folk are so aggressive towards cyclists when there are very few if any disadvantages or downsides to the bloomin' thing. You could understand it, if a bike was smelly, noisy, expensive, dangerous and resource-hungry... but it's hard to think of an invention that's more benign. And still most Brit.s rant about cyclists as if we the very devil's spawn. Weird.


It's because it is so benign,in a country of 'you are what you have' bicycles deny it because they're pretty much of a muchness and are limited to the power exibitionism the rider can display.
It's a class thing in a country riddled with a class structure at all societal levels.

I enjoyed the podcast but it's subject,the class structure,wasn't anything new,she mentions her and her friends being accused of dropping litter without reason other than they were motorcyclists,the same kind of thing happens to me occassionally.
I find it utterly bizzare to be accused of RLJing when there's no TL's for miles around and on the same ride I'd witnessed four cars RLJ,the accuser was taken aback when I told him in no uncertain terms that in any case cars cause far more injury an death than bicycles and their riders could ever do.
Cycling is seen as a powerless outgroup to ridicule and abuse whenever the mood takes hold to attach any misdemeanor hate structure (horse)powerful might is right,the bullying majority sees fit to lay on us.
The benign practicality,usefulness and sheer beauty of travel by the humble bicycle is wasted on a moronic,bullying social structure that persists in the UK.
Pearls before swine spring to mind.

My 2d's worth.

PS,I've been riding mostly on the roads recently for a bit of a change and I have to say things seem to be improving in respect to the way I've been treated by drivers,I do hope it continues but 50+ years of cycling has taught me to be extremely cautious in such beliefs.........

Edited for punctuation.
Last edited by reohn2 on 13 Aug 2020, 10:07am, edited 1 time in total.
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simonineaston
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Re: BBC: War on Two Wheels

Postby simonineaston » 13 Aug 2020, 9:55am

Worth a look...
(Looked up outgroup derogation and am somewhat relieved that I never studied sociology!)
ttfn, Simon in Easton
(currently enjoying a Moulton TSR & a nano Brompton...)