The Ranty Highwayman)
We often hear about cycling culture which in itself sets up the mode as something other people do, yet the tenuous idea still exists.
This subject has been written about by others and I’m not even sure I can bring anything new to the discussion, other than an engineer’s eye and my own prejudices I guess.
I am approaching my 23rd year as a post-graduate civil engineer and one way or another, I have been involved in building stuff. The reason we build stuff is for people to use it and hopefully it will make people’s lives better.
My first job was with a utilities contractor where we basically laid telecoms ducts in the street, constructed chambers and ran the odd armoured cable to houses and businesses. Without the construction of this stuff, people wouldn’t have had telephone services and so until we connected people, they weren’t involved in telephone culture.
Fast forward to 2018 and the amount of data being carried through wires and cables in 100mm plastic tubes in the ground is astonishing and one could (I suggest) sensibly argue that we have a pretty mature communications culture. Unless people had spent the last several decades digging trenches in streets, we wouldn’t have this “culture”.
That all being the case, given the UK’s tiny mode share for cycling, why would anyone talk about a cycling culture? Apart from some specific locations, cycling is seen as a weird way to travel and so whenever something is proposed which would enable cycling, we are often told that it’s a waste of money because nobody cycles.