Bicycling technique for everyone

Bicycling is a technique, not just a cultural activity. A bicycle is a two-wheeled self-propelled vehicle. There are ways to make bicycling more efficient. There are more efficient and less efficient bicycles.

It’s important to distinguish bicycling as a technique, which can also be facilitated by other techniques (smooth paving, ramps, yields at intersections) from bicycling as a cultural activity (something involving generally earnest people who like to get around under their own power).

The key distinction here is that bicycling technique is not dependent on social constructs. Bicycling technique involves people getting in the saddle and pedaling away. It does not mean large-scale import of cultural ways from Northern Europe.

The Dutch style of bicycling, involving big heavy bicycles with coaster brakes that can carry passengers on the rear rack, is just a style. It is possible to encourage bicycle techniques without endorsing the Dutch style.

It is my strong feeling that in order to promote bicycling, we must develop an organic and local bicycling culture that is based in promotion of bicycling technique, that makes it easy to use a bicycle in an efficient way. Arguing that we must adopt Northern European habits because Northern European cities have more bicyclists is not persuasive.