BY CAROL CRAIG
If I ask you right now to close your eyes and think of a person who cycles, who would you picture?
For many of us, the image that pops into our mind is a middle-aged man wearing black cycling shorts and a heavily sponsored colourful jersey. He is sporting a bike helmet and gloves while propelling his racing bike through traffic on busy roadways. Sweat is dripping off his brow, while appearing confident and determined to cross the finish line.If you right now to close your eyes and think of a person who cycles, who would you picture?
Although this image is in truth a reality, there are other types of cyclists that many of us can relate to: the Strong and Fearless, the Enthused and Confident, the Interested but Concerned and the No Way No Hows. *
The Strong and Fearless and the Enthused and Confident represent a small portion of cyclists. They are confident and comfortable on roadways, but appreciate supportive infrastructure. The Enthused and Confident adults most likely cycled frequently to school as a child.
The Interested but Concerned group represent the largest category of people. They are curious about cycling but are unsure about commuting every day.
The final group, the No Way No Hows, are not going to consider cycling as an option for transportation. Women are most likely to be in this category, usually citing reasons about safety in traffic, coordinating schedules, and what to wear.
Which one are you?
Choosing to cycle for daily travel can provide a wide range of benefits that far outweigh the costs of cycling infrastructure, equipment and programs. Cycling instead of driving is becoming increasingly important to the lifestyles and identities of people in our community. It is no longer being viewed as an outdated, old fashioned mode of transportation, but as a cool, responsible way to get around. Perhaps the greatest strength of cycling is that it provides enormous benefits to both the individual and to society as a whole.
Cycling can be intimidating for a new rider, or even one who hasn’t ridden for quite some time. Cycling has that mystical ability to be whatever the rider wants it to be. The first step is to choose to cycle. Anyone can do it.
Next time someone asks you to picture a person who cycles, I hope that you can picture yourself.
You Know Me…I ride a bike.
Carol Craig is a Public Health Nurse at the Sudbury & District Health Unit. Most of her time is dedicated to supporting people to live actively.
- Geller, R. “Four Types of Cyclists,” Portland Bureau of Transportation, Portland, OR, 2006. http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/264746, Accessed May 8, 2013.