I am always very distracted walking around town. Everywhere I go there are beautiful women all around me. They all look great, some in figure hugging jeans, some in some dresses and some in more formal officewear. Saying all of this makes me sound like a dreadful perve but I try my best not to be. I find different hairstyles distrating too. Braids always look fabulous while platts are just amazing. Have you ever seen a picture of the Ukrainian Prime Minister, Yulia Tymoshenko? Goodness me.
Thankfully I am not the only one, but I also get very distracted by women on bicycles. I know I am not the only one because there are websites devoted to them all over the place. Just look at some of the different cities linked to on Copenhagen Cycle Chic. A recent post on Amsterdamize showed some fabulous photographs. I don't know how he does it. If I ever saw Yulia Tymoshenko on a bicycle, I think I would need a quiet lie down.
On my way to work, I sometimes see women on older style bikes that they have restored (or ust kept in good condition) or bought from the classic bicycle shop. They glide past me quite often, summer frocks fluttering in the breeze.
Compared to some cities though, they are few and far between. Cycling is not marketed here using those types of images.
In one of his earlier posts, David Hembrow referred to cyclists as pit canaries. His view was (and, I assume, still is) the number and variety of cyclists is a clear indication of the safety and "normalness" of cycling. As he says:
Are your cyclists a small part of traffic, wearing helmets, dressed in fluorescent jackets and predominantly young and/or "sporty" ? Do your cyclists cycle "vehicularly" and identify themselves as "cyclists"? Or do you live in a location where cyclists are of all ages, both sexes, and generally ride in normal clothes with no worries about visibility ?
Cyclists are the pit-canaries of the roads. If they're numerous, dressed in ordinary clothing and wide-ranging in age you can tell that you are in a location where cycling is "normal" in society and where it is safe enough, and feels subjectively safe enough, that everyone cycles.
The recent increase (though slight) in normally dressed women is perhaps an indication that cycling is slowly becoming a legitimate form of transport again in Australia. How much the increase continues (and whether it does continue) remains to be seen. The fact is that the numbers of women and children using a bicycle as every day transport remains tiny. David Hembrow's most recent post discusses some of the "problems" that Amsterdam is facing because of increased bicycle traffic, particularly congestion (if you can call it that) from cargo bikes. Amsterdam has also experienced an increase in bicycle ownership. It has increased most among people aged 45 and over. Among people aged over 65 it has almost doubled. At the other end of the age spectrum, the group aged 12 to 15 is cycling more and is the age group with the highest bicycle use.
These are the ages that you practically never see here on a bicycle. It cannot be that we are so different from the Dutch. The untapped demand is no doubt there. It just needs to be tapped. We all know how.
(Pinched yet again from Amsterdamize).