06 January 2011

Link: How to talk about cycling with a Conservative

This was sent to me by a liberal friend, and I'm finding it amusing enough, and general enough, to want to share it:
How to talk about cycling with a Conservative

These "across the aisle" arguments have worked for me in the past and, except for continuing to (lightly) include the climate change issue, I think I've largely embraced this more widely accepted set of points, and certainly moved into the national security as related to dependence on foreign oil realm when discussing the global implications of tiny choices at home.

I think my favorite line in the article might be:
"Note: Some business suits actually contain trace amounts of Lycra and Spandex."
Go read the article, you'll see...

Actually I'm wrong, my favorite line is:
"people who choose to ride should be able to do so safely, as taxpaying citizens worthy of full protection of their individual rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of that special kind of happiness one gets from riding a bike."


(Note, I looked into the Edison video and it was FILMED by Edison, but he's not actually riding the bike)


Jaclyn said...

Since I've started following some cycling blogs, I've been surprised to see that cycling is sometimes seen as a liberal vs. conservative thing. I'm a conservative and I ride my bike frequently to work, as well as running errands. I'm saving my money for a Dutch omafiet with a view to eventually getting rid of my car. For one, I simply enjoy riding my bike, and it's also good exercise and saves me money on car expenses. I never really considered any of those things to be political.

Scott Loveless said...

The simple solution is to explain to them that the more you ride your bike, the cheaper their gas becomes. That almost always elicits a blank stare and ends the conversation.

Velouria said...

Very good article, thanks for posting. I had not realised that cycling was considered the domain of liberals alone, what a shame to compartmentalise it like that.

Charlotte said...

I don't think that cycling is necessarily a liberal undertaking, but I do agree with the author that some advocates for cycling do use liberal ideology to promote it. I have personally witnessed the wholesale rejection of a European model for transportation infrastructure by one conservative so I found the point about Dutch bikes and the idea of "Copenhagenizing" to be a relevant one.

The good news, and I've said this before, is that there are enough good reasons to ride a bike without even getting into the more political ones. Hurray for that!

George said...

The article makes some good points and I appreciate that you posted a link. I hadn't however, realized that being a conservative I was less likely to be a cyclist.
Recently, as gas prices have been going up, I blogged a little about some thought I have regarding society bicycling more. If you'd like to read them here is the URL.

I wonder if being a conservative means I don't enjoying surfing too. I hope not.

Charlotte said...

Hey George,
In my family the more to-the-left members tend to ride bikes and the more to-the-right members tend to not, but surfing knows no political affiliation!!!
Good thing too.

Anonymous said...

while I agree that it's unfortunate whenever any nominally agnostic activity gets lumped into a political stereotype (ie. hunting = Republican, urban gardening = Liberal), I think it's fair to say that some language around cycling advocacy, especially when it comes to things like helmet laws and/or expanding shared-use infrastructure can sound like liberal nanny-state infringements on personal liberty. So, I can see where it comes from, even if the bias is lamentable. The advice about Turn Offs isn't bad.

kfg said...

". . . it . . . can sound like liberal nanny-state infringements"

Not exactly. The abolition of cars, to be replaced by bicycles, has become an actual part of the platform of the radical left.

And for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

One more damned false duality to fight in order to get anywhere at all.

dr2chase said...

I tend towards the "cheaper gas and more parking for you, what's not to like?" That, and "I thought it would be good to send Hugo Chavez a little less money".

dr2chase said...

@kfg - do you have a pointer to that platform?

Because, googling for
radical left platform "abolition of cars"
I get three hits, including "I have never talked about the abolition of cars", the wikipedia article for the "McGillicuddy Serious Party", and an article explaining that aliens do exist. I thought this was actually a nicely eclectic set of results, but it suggests that no such platform exists.

I also googled for merely "abolition of cars" in quotes (many more hits, mostly in the negative), and it appears to be perhaps linked to "Ecotopians"-- who are fictional characters in a book by Ernest Callenbach.

So, rule number one for talking to anyone, liberal or conservative, is don't make up stories about them that aren't true. If you think you need to say something that might be controversial, you might want to find some supporting information.

kfg said...

I know, I know, if it don't show up in a Google search it doesn't exist.

Go to the meetings, you'll not only find it discussed there, but sometimes they even set a car on fire.

dr2chase said...

@kfg - forward me the next invitation you get, somehow I am not on the mailing list. Sounds like a real party :-).