Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on August 25th, 2014 at 2:39 pm
People for Bikes, a national advocacy group funded by the bicycle industry, wants to change cycling in America by coming up with a new name for it. Specifically, the group wants help figuring out what to call everyday cycling in order to differentiate it from recreation and fitness riding.
Here’s the set-up from People for Bikes via an email they sent out today:
“Lots of people ride bikes for recreation, exercise and sport. But there’s another kind of bicycling that’s becoming more and more popular in communities across the country. It’s difficult to quantify, because folks call it a lot of different things. And it doesn’t have an official name…
Imagine you’re rolling out on your bike right from your garage—no spandex involved, you’re wearing normal, everyday clothes.
You’re heading somewhere you need to go—like work, a meeting, or the grocery store. This might be part of your daily routine, or maybe you’re in the mood to run errands or get from point A to point B by bike, because it’s gorgeous outside…
This trip isn’t about exercise. You’ve got a destination in mind, and the bike’s the way you get there…
Help us name it by taking this survey!”
It’s worth noting that People for Bikes is the same group behind the Green Lane Project, a program that’s working to hasten the development of protected bike lanes across the country. They say they want to establish a new word for this specific type of cycling in order to, “quantify it, count the people who do it, and grow the movement.”
In an online survey, they offer four choices (they also allow you to fill in with whatever name you like). Here they are:
- Everyday Biking
- City Riding
- Community Cycling
- Functional Bicycling, or Funcycling
In my opinion, when it comes to language issues, I like to keep things simple and I try to avoid creating new labels whenever possible. When ideas like this come up, I also like to compare how it’s handled from a car-oriented perspective (I figure they’re a good model to emulate, giving the popularity and political dominance of driving). Does the AAA have separate terms for driving? I don’t think so. Do we differentiate between recreational driving trips and more serious, utilitarian driving trips? Nope.
One concern I have is that by slicing cycling up into its sub-parts, we’ll only make each group smaller and thus lessen the collective voice. We also might unintentionally create more divisions and cliques when what we need (in my opinion) to make major national progress for cycling is a large and unified voice pushing in (mostly) the same direction.
And who’s to say that a ride into work or to the store can’t also be recreation, fitness, and fun?!
Given those thoughts, I have used the term “everyday cycling” when I want to make it clear that I’m talking about people who aren’t suited up in lycra or riding for a workout.
What do you think?
Take the survey here.