According to Quickrelease.tv, the mainstream media can’t get enough of the "bike boom" caused by higher petrol prices. Go to Google News and type in ‘gas’ and ‘cycling’: you get 768 current news stories on the subject of motorists ditching cars for bikes.
“Reporters tend to lead with the economics angle but the best pieces – for the image of cycling – are those that interview converts to cycling,” said Quickrelease.tv.
“And, with the zeal common among converts, they recount how they may have started cycling because of the spiralling price of fuel but they have discovered how much faster cycling is in towns and how much weight they’ve lost and – the knock-out punch – how much fun it is.”
Dr Ian Walker, a traffic and transport psychologist and lecturer at the University of Bath, is a cycle commuter but he questions the ‘fun’ angle:
“Birgitta Gatersleben at Surrey University did some research where she found people who were interested in cycling to work and removed any remaining impediment by simply giving them bicycles. One of the things she found was that before starting to cycle to work, most people thought it would be (a) loads of fun and (b) difficult and dangerous.
“After a few weeks, most people felt that both these preconceptions were wrong. When they tried cycle commuting, they realised that their fears about danger and difficulty were misguided (which is a really important message) but that it wasn’t as much fun as they thought either.”
Nevertheless, Quickrelease.tv is still on the look-out for a new word: “Cycling to work is an alternative which is less expensive – a growing motivation for many – but it’s also an alternative which is superior.”
The word that’s currently leading the pack is ‘cheaperior’, a blend of cheaper and superior.