in cycling

An Open Letter to Active Transportation Advocacy Groups

(I originally posted this to Facebook, but the response I got there convinced me to post it here.)

Dear Active Transportation Advocates & Advocacy Groups:

I’m fat.

Until very recently, I rode a bike everywhere.

I was still fat.

I’m not alone. Oh sure, there aren’t many of us in Vancouver, but there are in other cities.

If you want to convince more atypical people to adopt active transportation as a lifestyle choice, STOP DEMONIZING FAT PEOPLE and stop using the “obesity” scare word. It makes you look like smug a-holes.

Here are a few free tips on how you can get more people on bicycles:

  • Talk about how much fun it is to ride a bike.
  • Tell them that riding a bike makes you feel like a kid again.
  • If they’re slightly libertarian, tell them how riding a bike makes you feel like you’re getting over on society (which I personally enjoy).

Tying desired cycling improvement to behavioral and “health” outcomes is a surefire way to keep people off their bikes, particularly if they’re already feeling beaten up by the fitness/health industry.

Signed,

A Fat Person on a Vespa (for now, until she can ride her bike again).

  1. I love your video–it feels so joyful. 🙂

    And I have to say, you are one of the inspirations for my effort to ride my bike to work when I can. So rock on, and hopefully you’ll get back on your bike soon!

  2. It’ll be about 6 months or so before I’m back on the bike. I’m counting the days!

  3. Cecily, I love your video, your spirit, your city, your bike, and your name. I’m sorry you’re missing six months of biking–in the best months of the year. Heal well.
    Anne, in Portland, OR

  4. Thank you, Anne. Being off the bike is really doing a number on my self-image and my independence. I will be so happy to ride again!

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