Saturday, August 15, 2009

and women don't like beer, either

This article discusses how bicycling is a white, upper/ middle class pursuit and wonders why. It irked me. First, it doesn't actually have any data at all to back up bicycling as "white." It sounds like someone asked a few (probably white) people if they think most cyclists are white and they all said yes, which isn't exactly an accurate sampling method. Second, it jumps to assumptions about cycling as transportation after considering cycling as a sport. It's likely true that a smaller percentage of non-white people take up bicycling as a hobby for the same reasons they're probably less likely to take up any sport that demands expensive equipment and travel; like skiing, it just doesn't make sense for most of us to do it, and if all your friends aren't doing it there's no good reason to take it up. But I suspect that a lot MORE poor people, who are disproportionately non-white, use bicycles for transportation because they can't afford cars.

Maybe things are different in Toronto; it has much better public transportation than my area, so maybe the poor have better options than bicycles. But about half the cyclists I see once I cross into Albany are black. I'm not riding anywhere that a sane recreational rider would choose to go; the people I see are just trying to get around, just as I am. Unfortunately, they're apparently invisible to the powers that be.

1 comment:

Miriam said...

but people without helmets, panniers, or bikes the right size for them aren't really "cyclists" right? I mean, they're just those other people.