1. Upper Class Cycling in the Golden Age

    Today I finally wrote up something that I’ve been stewing over for a long time, about the economics of cycling culture and the way it’s become vogue recently to ignore the tidal pull that class and wealth are exerting on the cycling movement with less and less resistance. The following paragraph, about similar issues in the 1890s, is an outtake—it didn’t really fit in with the post but it’s fascinating nonetheless. 

    The most upsetting thing is that this has all happened before. Daniel London writes, in a fascinating article at Narratively, how the golden age of the bicycle ended not because of the advent of the automobile—there was in fact a gap—but because affordable bikes flooded the market and suddenly anyone could buy and ride one. Lower class “scorchers” were taking to the streets in unfashionable garb and the elites, with their social cycling clubs, daring costumes, and effective Good Roads Movement, lost all interest and dusted off the old horse carriages. London suggests that the same thing is happening now—he traces it to bicycle transportation being coterminous in the popular imagination with mustaches and Brooklyn—and much as I want to disagree, I can’t. We are seeing an unprecedented amount of growth in bicycle infrastructure around the US—but not so much in the neighborhoods that don’t have a third wave coffeehouse. I’m regularly asked to give talks about how bicycling is good for business, particularly, it is either hinted or stated outright, for attractive upscale businesses and their creative class customers. It is good for that, if that’s your goal, but that’s not what Bikenomics is about, not remotely.

     

  2. The ShockTwat in action. Photos by Dabe Allen. Described here by its creator. The official spokesvulva of the Our Bodies, Our Bikes Kickstarter campaign.

     
  3. Our Bodies, Our Bikes is a compendium of resources, information, and personal stories at the intersection of cycling and women’s health.

    Help make it happen, nab a copy in advance, and spread the word!

     

  4. "Being a woman is kind of like being a cyclist in a city where all the cars represent men. You’re supposed to be able to share the road equally with cars, but that’s not how it works. The roads are built for cars and you spend a great deal of physical and mental energy being defensive and trying not to get hurt. Some of the cars WANT you to get hurt. They think you don’t have any place on the road at all. And if you do get hurt by a car, everyone makes excuses that it’s your fault."
    — A friend of a friend (via onesmallflowerofeternity)
     

  5. Jessie Kwak, who has excellent stories in both Bikes in Space volumes so far, has made them into ebooks, which you can read free or for a small donation. Enjoy! 

     

  6. Learn about the renegade history of mountain biking from Sarah McCullough (pictured in our last post).

     
  7. Sarah McC backed my first Kickstarter project, a feminist bike zine called “Sharing the Road with Boys.” I sent her the zine and asked her to organize an event on my first tour. Four years, four tours, 12 zines, and 18 Kickstarter projects later, while staying with her for another tour event that she helped organize, I finally asked her how she found that first project. She was just clicking around, she said. 

     

  8. "

    Most of the characters in my fantasy and far-future science fiction books are not white. They’re mixed; they’re rainbow. In my first big science fiction novel, The Left Hand of Darkness, the only person from Earth is a black man, and everybody else in the book is Inuit (or Tibetan) brown. In the two fantasy novels the miniseries is ‘based on,’ everybody is brown or copper-red or black, except the Kargish people in the East and their descendants in the Archipelago, who are white, with fair or dark hair. The central character Tenar, a Karg, is a white brunette. Ged, an Archipelagan, is red-brown. His friend, Vetch, is black. In the [Sci Fi Channel] miniseries, Tenar is played by Smallville’s Kristin Kreuk, the only person in the miniseries who looks at all Asian. Ged and Vetch are white.

    My color scheme was conscious and deliberate from the start. I didn’t see why everybody in science fiction had to be a honky named Bob or Joe or Bill. I didn’t see why everybody in heroic fantasy had to be white (and why all the leading women had ‘violet eyes’). It didn’t even make sense. Whites are a minority on Earth now—why wouldn’t they still be either a minority, or just swallowed up in the larger colored gene pool, in the future? […]

    I think it is possible that some readers never even notice what color the people in the story are. Don’t notice, don’t care. Whites of course have the privilege of not caring, of being ‘colorblind.’ Nobody else does.

    I have heard, not often, but very memorably, from readers of color who told me that the Earthsea books were the only books in the genre that they felt included in—and how much this meant to them, particularly as adolescents, when they’d found nothing to read in fantasy and science fiction except the adventures of white people in white worlds. Those letters have been a tremendous reward and true joy to me.

    So far no reader of color has told me I ought to butt out, or that I got the ethnicity wrong. When they do, I’ll listen. As an anthropologist’s daughter, I am intensely conscious of the risk of cultural or ethnic imperialism—a white writer speaking for nonwhite people, co-opting their voice, an act of extreme arrogance. In a totally invented fantasy world, or in a far-future science fiction setting, in the rainbow world we can imagine, this risk is mitigated. That’s the beauty of science fiction and fantasy—freedom of invention.

    But with all freedom comes responsibility. Which is something these filmmakers seem not to understand.

    "
    — 

    Ursula K. Le Guin, "A Whitewashed Earthsea: How the Sci Fi Channel wrecked my books" (via)

    As EBP turns more to science fiction, we’re highly aware of the implication of who lives in the futures we imagine, who has power, whose story gets told. 

    (Source: zuky, via fuckyeahscifiwomenofcolour)

     
  9. anniekoh:

    Taking the Lane (Vol 2, 2010). Revolutions every damn day : a compilation zine for everyone by and about women who ride bicycles

    Thanks to an afternoon spent last June at the Barnard Zine Library, I encountered Elly Blue’s Taking the Lane zine series. This photo is of one of the articles that resulted in a mini fist pumps and a excitedly whispered “right on!” Taking the Lane is now also a distro for all sorts of women-and-bike awesomeness. Publishing the feminist bicycle revolution.

    Our second zine has been out of print for a while, but you can still find copies tucked away in corners of the libraryverse, like at Barnard!

     
  10. Yes, we are making more feminist bicycle science fiction. Bikes in Space Volume 2 is in the works!