Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Blame the Vehicular-Cyclists?

In response to the usual in-fighting on twitter to the mess that is cycling in Britain:

It's not just the CTC's fault. They weren't as powerful or instrumental as people may think. Whilst the CTC have made mistakes in the past, they are only a small part of the problem.

The real problems:

1) After the war, people wanted cars and associated cycling with poverty. At that time bikes were considered to be the past.

2) Many people in Britain don't want cycle, and have never had a real affinity for cycling.

3) The majority of town planners and road builders forgot cycling.
  - Many roads upgraded without thoughts to cycling (A-roads)

4) The motoring lobby, and rich land owners in the past were very anti-cycling. In fact the police actively tried to stop races by throwing sticks into cyclists' wheels.

5) In the past racing cyclists were an "underground" entity, a small group of people, that actively hid their pastime from the public. Even in Beryl Burton's day, which is not long ago, cycle racing was still very much hidden away. In fact the race organisers BANNED sponsorship and advertising. And despite BB being one of the most prolific cyclists in the world, back home she was nothing to the general public. Yet contrast that to Italy where almost anyone of a certain age could tell you about Fausto Coppi.

In towns where cycling infrastructure was built,  like Peterborough and Stevenage, the number of people cycling still remains very low. Why? 1 and 2 afaics. And flies in the face of "Build-it-and-they-will-come" theories.

The reason we have SHITE infrastructure is the lack of people wanting to cycle over the last 50+ years. Without those numbers the CTC have been a toothless organisation, that at best have helped fix things at the margins, and stopped the motoring lobby eroding our rights even further.

Can you really blame Vehicular-Cycling for the state we are in?

Why not blame all the people who **didn't** cycle, and chose cars in the 50's
The town planners and the powerful motoring lobby
The road builders who "upgraded" everything into the mess we now have, and who build gyratories and massive ring-roads through out city centres.
What about British Cycling who remained underground for many, many years.

Or you can blame the Vehicular-Cyclists who have had to survive this mess, when very little government money or funding went into cycling.

That said, any VC who now opposes "proper" infrastructure in Cities and by dual-carriages is insane.

Nothing wrong with Vehicular cycling on this road - imo

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 Everything is wrong with vehicular cycling on these roads:
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  1. Thanks. I tried to say this somewhere else, and didn't say it nearly as elegantly as you have done.

  2. Thanks for the nice history about cycling in Britian. Can I argue that Vehicular Cyclists are not to blame, even if they oppose "Proper" infrastructure. The events and lobbies in the article give a sense that I should not trust any initiative to construct "Proper" infrastructure.