Dear “Recreational Cyclists”,
We’ve seen some you out there yesterday on Bike to Work Day, and we’re stoked. It feels empowering to break out of the cycle of driving and get on a bike, sweat a little, be out in the world, and to talk with people at work about what you did. Congrats!
We’d also like to invite you into something a bit different and even more empowering. Marketing gurus in the bicycle industry, clothing industry, and even some advocacy organizations, define you as “recreational” riders. Maybe you have a bike in the garage, wished you rode it more, maybe you drive it to Mission Bay to enjoy a ride with the kids or grand kids, or maybe you bust out 25 miles every now and then – but that’s how they define you.
We at BikeSD believe that every bicycle ride is recreational – whether to the store for groceries, taking the kids to school or a picnic, a spin around the neighborhood or to the corner store, a 200K randoneé, a hard charge up the coast or up to Alpine Brewery, or a ride to the movies or dinner. Bicycle riding is recreational because bicycle riding is almost always fun – and ultimately rewarding. And bicycle riders are not a marketing category but are people with jobs and families and civic interests and who love good music and want the “livability” of our beautiful city to shine.
We want to make every ride fulfill its recreational potential, and we say its more fun to ride when there are other riders out there (lots of them!), when bright bike lanes and infrastructure chart a course for our everyday adventures, and when bicycle riding stands as a shining example for what a city’s rich urban fabric can offer both residents and visitors. Small business will unfold their storefronts as people walk, wheelchair, and linger on our streetscapes. Children and older folks can retake their place in our public sphere rather than stay inside as motor vehicle traffic roars unencumbered through our city streets. More people on bicycles slows the city down and creates the spaces – economically viable spaces – for human interaction.
Here at BikeSD, we often talk about the “mom with kids” – does this person feel like they can ride on this street or along that route? She doesn’t have a name, but she’s our archetype. We want everybody to feel like they can take the step that you did yesterday, and to do it safely and surrounded by other bicycle riders and lots of smiles.
So don’t let yourself be defined by others. Help us make every ride recreational and every day feel like yesterday did for more and more people by joining BikeSD.