Too often, we see bicyclists portrayed as a singular, homogenous entity. Whether it’s the media bemoaning an “all-powerful bike lobby,” or elected officials shrugging off bike issues as serving only an entitled few, this mischaracterization is unfortunately entrenched in the public consciousness.
Yet while the demographics of who rides doesn’t mirror the population at large, the truth is that cyclists are still a diverse bunch in terms of age, race, gender, income and, importantly, the reasons why they ride.
As an organization committed to representing the interests of everyone who bikes in Boston, we want to shatter the misconception about who rides. So today, we are excited to launch the Boston Bike Story campaign.
For this campaign, we’ll publish one brief interview per week with a Boston-area bicyclist, allowing riders to explain in their own words what biking means to them. (Interviews will only be edited for clarity and concision.) By sharing these faces and stories, we hope to humanize riders and expand the definition of what it means to be a cyclist. As an end goal, we aim to shift the public narrative around Boston’s bicyclists — who they are, and what they want — to make it harder to pigeonhole riders and brush aside their opinions, concerns and goals.
The stories will appear on our website and on social media, where you can follow along with the hashtag #BostonBikeStory. (If you don’t already follow the Bike Union, please do so on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.) Once we’ve published the first few installments, we may create a landing page on this site to house them all in one easy-to-navigate place. Stay tuned!
So now without any further ado, let’s get things rolling with our first Boston Bike Story.
“I ride because at one point in time my life was taking a bad turn. I didn’t know what was going on with me so I went to the hospital and they told me I have Type 2 diabetes, and if I didn’t, you know, change my eating habits, exercise right, that I’ll probably die. So immediately that just kicked in. I quit smoking cigarettes that same day. And I got a bike. It was a nice giveaway from MPDC, Madison Park Development Corporation. I just took it upon myself to get my whole body and my mind right. I fixed it up to my liking and I started riding. I ride every day ever since if the weather permits. This is a blessing, because I’m still alive. I’m very thankful for getting this bike. Because if I didn’t get this bike I wouldn’t have any clue what to do. I’m getting older now I can’t do the weights no more and stuff like that. So I had to really buckle down and ride this bike. People, y’all see me everywhere. I ride everywhere. From the South End to Mattapan, back. From the South End to Harvard Square, Somerville, and some parts of Arlington and back. That’s it, that’s my story.”