Divisions, divides and cultures

Divisions, divides and cultures.  Divisions, divides and cultures.  It seems to have been my mantra of the last couple of months.  And apparently I’m not the only person somehow entranced by these topics.

I had an opportunity to guest post on BikingInLA and talk about my thoughts on bike culture.  Zeke responded with his guest post on BikingInLa, providing more thought-provoking insights.

On the other side of things, I’ve talked ad nauseam about the cycling world’s habit of dividing up into subcultures.  Truth be told, I don’t really think this is a “cycling world” issue as much as it is just human nature.  Us versus them seems to be an innate human tenancy.

Now, however, Copenhagenize has brought the two together, and thrown in a little advocacy for flavor.  The post ‘Bicycle Commuting or Bicycle Culture?‘ does a great job of expressing some of the ideas I too have had swirling beneath my helmet (or hat, depending on the day).

To many they [commuting and culture] may sound like the same thing, pedalling hand in hand down the cycle track. Unfortunately, there appears to be a clear-cut division. It seems more often than not to be a regional or even cultural divide. [Copenhagenize]

I can definitely recognize the distinction that is being alluded to in this post.  I recognize it enough that I can probably draw some very quick conclusions (based entirely on subjective stereotypes) about which side of that division a particular person is on.

But I’m not going to do that…

In fact, one of the first comments to the Copenhagenize article from poster ‘BG‘ is:

Oh, boy — this again. Now, listen: as with the VC debate, there’s no need to be so divisive. Most “bicycle commuters” in the Anglo countries are simply doing what works best right now, in the physical and cultural environment they’ve got. That does not mean that they’re opposed to changes that could bring about a bicycle culture. Bicycle culture, as you define it, is a good goal. I’m working for it. But I don’t see why that should prevent the geeky hobbyists from enjoying their geeky hobby.

And to that, BG, I say: Touché! Well… touché with a caveat at least.

I’m making the first of my News Years resolutions.  I’m going to work to recognize the different perspectives of folks, without attempting to divide based on perspective.  The vast array of different uses of bicycles, and the opinions of those that use them, is testament to the amazing utility, functionality and versatility of the bicycle.

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