The Inclusive Cycling Manifesto

Here’s the thing: you really don’t need to ride a bicycle. If you don’t want to, you don’t have to. But if you do, this manifesto is for you.

Riding a bicycle is for everyone who wants to ride. You don’t need a special bike. You don’t need special kit. You don’t need to be in good physical shape. You don’t even have to want to get fit. All you need is wanting to ride and access to a bicycle.

You don’t need a reason to ride. You can have a reason, of course. Maybe to get from A to B. Maybe to look at the passing scenery. Maybe to feel the elements, the ice cold raindrops on your face and the gusts of wind. Or the baking sun burning down on your neck. Maybe to feel yourself. Your heartbeat pounding inside and the sweat. Maybe you want to get away from a terrible pain inside, and the acid in your muscles makes you forget. Maybe you do actually want to get in shape. Loose weight. Or just be able to eat more cake and not care.
Sometimes when I ride, it makes me feel totally free. Other times I’m just freezing. Either way, having a reason is not required. Riding a bike for no reason is perfectly ok too.

You may pick a bike that fits your reason. Or two bikes if you have different reasons. You can get a standard bike or a special one. A fancy bike or a cheap one or something in between. The best bike is always the one you are actually riding on.

If you need to motivate yourself to ride then do that. Do whatever it takes. If you need expensive kit in trendy colors then wear that. If you need an ice cream stop. If you need to ride alone or if you need to ride with others. If you need to track your performance and see the gains in your FTP, then do that, and yes you should brag about it, too. If others don’t care, then that’s their problem, not yours. If you need perfect weather, then stick to that. Be as limited or as limitless as you want to.

If you need to belong to a special club with special rules and principles that exclude others (for their choices in socks or mismatched water bottle) then do it. Make that club. Have your rules. Make it feel special for you. If you want to ride with me, and I fit your rules, then I’ll ride with you. If your rules disqualify me, then I’ll ride with someone else or on my own. I won’t judge your need to judge others. If that’s what gets you on the bike it’s fine with me.

I’ll ride with you if you want to ride with me. Together we define the reasons and rules if we need them.

I prefer kit that is comfortable in sub zero temperatures and makes me feel sexier than a ballet dancer. But that’s just me.

There are things I don’t like. I don’t like it when people don’t look over their shoulder. Or if they look, see me and proceed to pull out right in front of me anyway. I don’t like when people act in ways that are unsafe for themselves and others. I don’t like cars that honk at me or pedestrians that yell at me. But I shall also be the first to admit that I have engaged in careless and sometimes reckless behavior on my bike, so I am in no position to judge.

In the end we are all just trying to ride.

p.s. I wrote this manifesto as a reminder to myself. I’m not yet satisfied with it, so I plan to keep editing.