Commute book heading for 15,000 views

The Bike to Work Book is going great guns. The page-flippy versions on have had 14,444 views between them.

There’s more than one because I produce personalised versions for anybody with an audience, be that an email list or a website on which to embed the book.

Here’s one I did for a British bike shop, Mr Cycles:

One of the personalised versions – produced for the Cadence Revolution podcast – has had nearly 1000 views. The main Bike to Work Book on has had 11,272 views. The back-end stats show me that nearly fifty percent of readers flick through to the very end of the book.

To ramp up views even further I created a ‘Social Media Release’ on the book yesterday. I placed this on PitchEngine, a spiffy new place for storing and broadcasting press releases. This release and another I created on helped get the Bike to Work Book high up on Google News.

PitchEngine is the more tech-savvy of the two services, featuring lots of social media bells and whistles, including embedding of YouTube videos. I created this short for PitchEngine:

Unsigned Chrimbo cards: bad for corporations, bad for the planet

Despite the credit crunch, the corporate Christmas card is alive and well. I got two from Japan today. Both from Shimano.

Shimano Christmas card - Yoshizo and Ikuko

There’s a pop-up with two roadies from Shimano chairmen Yoshizo and Ikuko Shimano, or there’s a product placement card from Yozo Shimano.

Shimano Christmas card - Yozo

In the fullness of time I’ll upload images of all the corporate Christmas cards I get and we can all vote on the cheeriest and the cheesiest, but for now, here’s a vote on which of the two Shimano cards you prefer. Neither were signed, both came with the same database-driven address labels. (Sorry, there’s no answers 4 or 5, it’s my first time with Polldaddy and I screwed up).

Over on I’ve campaigned against unsigned corporate Christmas cards since 1999. I like personalised ones – even if the image is trying to sell me stuff – but database cards aren’t terribly clever.

To its credit, Shimano Europe took my bah humbug complaints to heart and, in 2000, cancelled its Christmas card budget. The money – many thousands of Euros – was funnelled into good causes instead. Cycling ones, of course. And, along with two other European cycle trade mag editors, I was a judge in how this cash got spent. It always went on youth cycling projects.

Commentators such as Chris Brogan aren’t big fans of corporate ‘holiday cards’. He blogs about alternative ways of showing care.

I’m kooky, I cycle

The study below states the bleedin’ obvious: kids love cars. ‘Course, they do. Most of them have not been exposed to anything else. Cars are comfy. Cars – on cold days like this – are warm.

OK, cars may be quick, but cars also screw with the planet and your heart/lungs. And 24/7 auto-mobility, for many, is a myth. When Henry Ford gave the world cheap cars, the roads – yet to be topped with tarmac – were endless and, to begin with, largely devoid of other cars, cheap or otherwise.

Not so today. Cities have been strangulated by cars. Citizens live in fear of being killed by cars (witness all the road barriers). We need our cities and towns to curb car use, not encourage it.

But will future generations go Dutch? Will kids get on bikes? Only with a lot of kicking and screaming, it appears. Countries like the Netherlands and Denmark went through that kicking and screaming phase in the 1960s and 70s, leading the current generation to find it perfectly normal and, indeed, chic to get around by bike.

Slowly, pockets of the UK are warming to bikes. It’s not quite such a contrarian thing to do. There are even mainstream books written on the subject of normalising bike use…

When I was sixteen I hung out with petrolhead peers, itching to get their driving licences. Because I’m perverse and will do the opposite of what everybody else is doing, I decided to get a bike instead. Up until that point I hadn’t owned a ‘proper’ bike and hadn’t ridden for years.

I bought a Claud Butler Majestic touring bike and it changed my life. My whole career has been pedal powered. I married a medic who I met via a cycling club. I’m bringing up our kids to think holidaying by bike and urban transport by bike is perfectly normal.

We need less kooks like me (and you?), and more normal people on bikes. This won’t happen by marketing cycling as “cool”. Cycling needs to be seen as normal. This will take time. And this time is coming.

Youths believe cars cooler than bikes, says PhD researcher

Dr Tilly Line, a researcher at the University of the West of England, has just completed a PhD: ‘The attitudes of young people towards transport in the context of climate change.’

She found that young people find the prospect of driving cars more attractive than other modes of travel, modes that are kinder to the environment.

Her study concentrated on the views of young people aged between 11 and 18 years and the findings found an “overwhelming desire” by young people to drive despite the risks to the planet and individual health.

“Overall it was found that the participants have a general understanding of the link between transport and climate change, but when it comes to their attitudes towards different modes, they place higher value on identity, self-image, and social recognition than the environment,” said Dr Line.
“For example, the participants pointed to learning to drive as ‘a mile-stone in teenage life’ – something that everyone does at seventeen. They also pointed to the car as a symbol of social status and the importance of their role as a driver in their friendship groups.”

Dr Line said this has implications for the take-up of other modes of transport and that the marketing of cycling, in particular, needs to change:

“Transport policy aimed at reducing the public’s reliance on the car and increasing their use of alternative modes, should recognise such values, particularly in relation to soft policy measures (including marketing activities) targeting the socio-psychological motivations for travel choice. For example, one answer may be to promote cycling as a signal of success and ‘being cool’, rather than promoting the environmental benefits of this behaviour.

“The importance of climate change shouldn’t be forgotten however. It isn’t the case that young people dismiss this issue, but more that they feel powerless to make a difference. I found that the young people think of climate change as being something that will not be felt until far off in the future and that there is little that they can do as individuals.

“On a positive note, I found that a number of the young people welcomed the idea that hard policy ideas leading to enforced travel behaviour away from reliance on cars would lead to a change in behaviour. But that this would only be possible if walking, cycling and public transport was easily accessible and reliable.”

An 18 year old man interviewed for the study said:

“I think some people may want to help the environment, but they don’t do anything about it. But then again, if they were forced to, then they’d have to…I mean, eventually, it’s going to happen anyway. It’s going to come to a point in time where there’s going to be a ban on cars…there’s just going to be no feasible way they can have all the cars on the road.”

Christmas caption competition


It’s December 1st and now safe to mention the C word. That’s right, Xmas.

A Montreal bike club held a Santa ride at the weekend and the 25 riders made it into local newspaper, La Presse. It was staged for a good cause, a children’s charity in Lima, Peru.

I happen to know the joker not wearing a Santa suit, but won’t name names. It’s a pic that’s screaming for a caption competition. So, send in a funny for a chance to win a big pile of bike books. I get sent loads for review. It’ll be a mixed bunch: from Tour de France tomes to bike maintenance books.

Add your caption to the comments section below or email me at The closing date for entries is December 8th (now gone, and no funnies materialised). With a fair wind, the winner could receive the books in time for Christmas.