Ride Boldly!

Bikes, bicycling, and road safety.

Winter Cycling & Slow News Days


bicycle in winterThere has been the expected annual spate of winter cycling stories on multiple local news channels and sites – from the Strib and PiPress to features on local news and radio programs.

There is a common theme to these stories: Hey, look at the freaks! Sure, many of the stories have positive elements, such as the riders discussing their health and well-being. But the basic nature of the stories is one of abnormality, and not that this is a choice that can be made by people in the right circumstances – and in some cases, there are people who are forced to the choice by circumstances, although those people are rarely featured in such news puff pieces.

To my mind, a lot of these stories aren’t exactly bad for the profile of cycling in the state – or anywhere, as there are plenty of these stories in many cities – but they really don’t promote the idea of cycling as a sustainable or possible choice. It’s rare these articles contain actual tips on how to make such a decision for yourself. While many do present the winter cyclist as some sort of super-person, and thus there is the potential for aspiration, it’s really not made explicit that these people are admirable – just crazy.

I think a real sign of progress for the cycling community will be when we reach a point where these stories are driven out of the slow-news cycle by tales about fuzzy puppies, because there won’t be a freakshow/crazy element to the profiles – cyclists will simply be accepted and expected, regardless of season.

Photo by Jaymi Heimbush, via Flickr

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Author: julie

Julie Kosbab is an online marketing consultant and active transportation advocate living in Anoka County, Minnesota. She was one of Minnesota's only League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructors when certified in 2005. She is a past member of the National Bicycle Tour Directors Association. She has 2 children and 4 bicycles. Find her on Twitter as @betweenstations.

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