I posted last week on the sendoff for the Ride on Washington, which I just happened to stumble across.
I just read an article about their arrival in DC, and about the focus of the ride, which I thought was especially interesting given my initial reaction. My thought at the time was that the kitted group was a little unrepresentative of average cyclists And I had questions about advocacy which presents only a stereotypical image of cyclists as super fit racers to policy makers who might have complicated reactions to that stereotype.
Interestingly, what I missed from my skimming of the ride's website, was that the idea behind the ride was to try to motivate roadies to have more of an activist voice. The Bike Portland article makes the point that stereotypically roadie culture tends to be apolitical, and less involved than commuter culture in advocacy for better infrastructure. Take the fictional example of the divergent views of Joe (roadie) and Yehuda (commuter) at the Kickstand Cyclery cartoon.
Instead of presenting themselves as advocates to the larger public, the point was for the ride to be elite athletes from the sport side of bicycling to raise awareness of advocacy issues within their community.
I wonder why there's such a divide between roadie culture attitudes towards advocacy, and commuter culture attitudes? Is it about sport/ transport? Is it a rural-suburban vs urban divide? Is it about speed and the feeling that high speed long distance biking is independent of bike infrastructure? Do commuters feel more entitled to demand infrastructure because their ability to do everyday tasks like work and grocery shop is impacted by it?
Anyway, I felt that the article really reframed my perspective, and made me think about some of the opportunities to expand and redefine advocacy.