Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Joy of Cycling

Several years ago, a local journalist asked for somebody to write about for a "Bike To Work" event. The bike shop manager gave her my name and number.

I was pretty excited and told her the reasons I bike to work: I like it, it feels good, I like getting outdoors, I work a desk job, and oh maybe it saves me a little money, and so forth.

She also asked if there were any downsides, so I mentioned the occasional nutball who honks or yells something incomprehensible, and the time I got hit by a car back in 1987. These are exceedingly rare, and did I mention that I like cycling?

The journalist, naturally, focused on the dangers of cycling in her article. You WILL die! Richard Masoner, the young, freaky, male daredevil, risks death and maiming everyday he rides his bike six miles to work! Wear a helmet! Write your will!

I was so pleased, then, to see this article about cycling in the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette .
Joyce Mast pedals down Green Street on her way to her campus job. And as she will tell you, rain or not, she loves – that's a big L-O-V-E-S – not having to go to work inside the box of a car.

"I love being outdoors," she says, bending over to practically scoop the big word "love" up off the floor.

"I love it when it rains, when it snows. Everything. I just love it."

There's not a single word about hazards, harassment, death, maiming. It's truly refreshing to read.

Our friend Sioux Jones is also mentioned in that article: "Local women take to biking as primary transportation.


  1. cycling just isn't the same when you take out the hazards, potential dismemberment, or death involved.

    I guess I'm equally surprised an article about cycling wouldn't include such topics.

  2. We've been getting better articles here, too. Our transportation writers in the Columbus Dispatch are pretty forward-thinking people. We do have a couple of columnists who are a bit paranoid and reactionary who talk about the dangers, but even that's few and far between now.

  3. I have had this happen...you spend nearly all of your press time talking about how great cycling is, they ask what the worst part is and play it up. Very frustrating.
    I even had a reporter want to find a loose dog to record that, b/c I mentioned that I was once chased by a dog, but that it was funny and not scary!
    Anything for a story...
    it is great to see that changing, albeit slowly.

  4. If you knew the News-Gazette, you'd be even more surprised ;) I was stoked, even if they didn't even mention that I am car-free, too, or that she had done the graphics on the Share The Road bus (that includes a pregnant lady and handcycle)