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Are cyclists normal?

Friday 9th September 2011

A three year research project has discovered that fear of not fitting in, ‘squashed helmet hair’ and turning up ‘hot and sweaty’ for meetings are the biggest deterrents for using a bike to commute (Telegraph).

Successive Governments have invested £150 million to promote cycling as an environmentally friendly way of travelling. But there appears to be a long way to go before the public is convinced, according to the study funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

The study approached 15,000 people and received just over 1,400 replies. Some of the respondents were interviewed in person and accompanied on their usual journeys to work, reports the Telegraph.

Professor Colin Pooley, of Lancaster University, said: “Most people prefer not to stand out as different, but tend to adopt norms of behaviour that fit in and reflect the majority experience.

“In Britain, travelling by car is the default position for most people - over 60% of all trips are by car - and car ownership and use is seen as normal. The significance of such issues in influencing people’s everyday travel decisions should not be underestimated.

“Campaigns to promote walking and cycling as normal, and something accessible to all and not dominated by super-fit or unusually committed specialists, should also be adopted.”

However Norman Baker, the local transport minister, was sceptical. He said: “Cycling is absolutely mainstream and it is quite old fashioned to suggest otherwise.”

Click here to read the full Telegraph report.

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Here we go again and again and again.

Flying in the face of truth Norman Baker? Was sceptical? He believes that cycling is absolutely mainstream and goes on to say that it is quite old fashioned to suggest otherwise.

Never mind the truth of the survey, he is a politician and subject to the rules that say whatever the truth is it's wrong if it doesn't agree with the political position.

I think what he meant to say was 'politically' cycling is absolutely mainstream in saving the world from itself, nevermind the fact that China, Russia and America don't care. And that to suggest anything other than the political correct attitude towards cyclists is political suicide.

I am old fashioned enough to remember that the heyday of cycling he refers to was all but finished off by the production of an economical car in the 1950s and the need for greater distances being travelled between home and work.

It has not returned since.

Where do we find these political master?
Bob Craven, Lancs

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