Media watch - Cycling is “the new Hip Hop…”

…okay we're paraphrasing, but you get the gist

by Tony Farrelly   October 6, 2008  

CTC 1955 public information film

…okay we're paraphrasing, but you get the gist It's Monday morning, you've probably spent the weekend out riding your bike, or thinking about riding your bike, and haven't been able to keep as up to date with cycling's ever changing role in the pop cultural zeitgeist of our great nation as you'd like. Yeah, we know you feel bad about that… Luckily, we've been fiddling with our back end for the last couple of days so have had plenty of time to flick through the papers (and their websites) so sit back and relax while we bring you up to speed… First up, last week's Independent and a piece ,Trails of the unexpected, by Simon O'Hagan on the Bicycle Film Festival and how it's been growing like billy-oh (bit like cycling's place in the pop-cultural zeitgest then). It's now so big this year's festival is at the Barbican. Step forward Brendt Baburs the man behind the festival to tell us: "Cycling's like hip-hop in the Eighties… Just as hip-hop wasn't just about music, cycling isn't just about cycling; it's about music and fashion and art.” Yeah, maybe, but mainly it's about pedalling. “There's a whole meaning to the bike.” Mostly to do with riding it though surely Berndt? On the other hand, maybe he has a point. Hey, and the film festival sounded good. Er, it finished yesterday. More London-Tahn cycling japes in the Times with a rip-snorter of a feature on “Pedalling the look.” It's worth it just for some classic disappearing up his own fundament quotage… yes, I mean you blokey from Tweed.cc. It's great that cycling is trendy but this piece makes being a fashionable bike rider seem like a pretty hard going, po-faced sort of business. I mean, you wouldn't think that men in tweed on bicycles could take themselves quite so seriously, especially when everyone knows that plaid Lycrais the coming thing. The Trixiechicks sound like a laugh though, and there's some good comments from cyclists who ride bikes outside of London and without the benefit of tweed. Over to the Times, where Cycle Guy 'fesses up to breaking the law, on riding on the pavement and jumping red lights, but only when he really had to or it was the middle of the night and there was no-one about. Hey, we wouldn't hang a man around here for that. Mind you, he does have it in for anyone who ever rides without lights branding them “stupid and selfish”. Let he who is without sin surely, Cycle Guy…? Stupid, yes probably especially if you are riding where there's no street lights, selfish? Well the person most likely to get injured is you, which maybe is selfish, but then any more so than hopping up on to a pavement and back down again to get around an obstacle? Four cyclists died in London last year hopping on or off kerbs. Death on the roads is the subject of a great article by Geraldine Bedell in the Guardian on the ghost bike phenomenon, memorials to dead cyclists placed at the spot where they were killed. Much of this will probably be familiar to many road.cc users, but Bedell charts the history of the ghost bike movement – if something that is so often so spontaneous can be called a movement, talks about the effects the ghost bikes themselves have on their surroundings, and makes the very necessary point that cycling is actually getting safer rather than more dangerous. Also from the Guardian some excellent tips from Chris Boardman on “How to be the best at road cycling” including advice on technique and buying a bike in which he manages to distil the equivalent of six magazine features down into six paragraphs on amongst other things cadence, hill climbing, getting aero, and bike buying. And, no, his advice on the latter isn't “Buy a Boardman” he's even resisted the subliminal approach of wording his answers so that read vertically the first letter of each line spells “Buy a Boardman”. That's the sort of iron discipline you need to win an Olympic Gold… although it doesn't explain why what you actually get when you read it that way is “Evans sale now on”. Right, I'm off for a quick "chukka" in the Homebase car park.