Monday, September 12, 2011


There's no doubt about it, cycling is a healthy sport, good for non impact muscle development and cardiovascular stimulation. However it seems some people do not wish to cycle as they do not want to appear weird...
The fear or seeming “weird” is putting people off cycling to work, an academic study has found.
A three year research project has discovered that not fitting in, alongside “squashed helmet hair” and turning up “hot and sweaty” for meetings are the biggest deterrents for using a bike to commute.
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.
“I get called the bag lady, because I walk everywhere and I have quite a lot of stuff with me,” said Steph, a respondent from Leeds.
Lara, also from Leeds, complained: The helmet is a problem for me, because I just think it would make my hair a little squashed.” 
Meanwhile Joe from Leicester added: “I probably would cycle if I didn’t worry so much about image and public opinion – me arriving at a meeting hot and sweaty.”
Sally from Worcester observed: “You do get a sense of some people thinking oh, you’re a bit weird because you’re going up on the bike you know. A bit odd.”
And these are all valid points save perhaps for the turning up on a bike being weird. We have a number of guys here cycle to work, oddly enough though none of them are office staff, I rather suspect turning up to work in the office sweating buckets is somehow frowned upon, though there are shower facilities available, but then you have all the extra gear to carry and it just seems like you're doing your morning ablutions all over again. And helmet head is definitely not something a fashion conscious lady really wants to contemplate either.
So essentially the government is wasting £150 million of our money trying to get people to do what they just don't see the point of, cycling for pleasure, yes, cycling to work with a full shift ahead of you? No.
I can't see this changing a great deal in the future either, cars are just too handy if you want to turn up smart.


1 annotations:

Anonymous said...

Of course there are many people who don't give a damn about flat hair, and there are people who don't sweat that much. There must be a lot of them around here.

I sometimes park the car and walk a couple of miles along a cycle path/walking path right next to the river. It's a fantastic walk but all the time people fly past me on their bikes.

Some of them don't have helmets on, almost none of them Lycra, but they must all work where they can get changed, or where they can wear shorts (why not?). If they are doing nothing else they are reducing the traffic jams that the lazier or older people have to sit in.

Personally I don't give a shit about looking smart, but as I live on the forth floor, and I couldn't be arsed carry a bike up and down every day, I'll give it a miss.

Walking is great though and it beats sitting in traffic jams or putting up with odious bus passengers.