How and why regular people bicycle in winter

Mikael Colville-Andersen at the Copenhagenize blog wrote an interesting post entitled "Overcomplicating Winter Cycling - Why It's Bad." His point is that articles explaining all the complicated and expensive clothing and equipment you'll need for proper winter cycling, make it seem like an impossible activity for the average person.

But in Copenhagen, normal people just wear their normal winter clothing, hop on their bikes, and go--no problem.

Now we are in the midst of a veritable bicycle boom all over the world. It's exciting. It's challenging. We were excited by the cycling revival in the 1970's but, as we all know, that faded to black again. It is of utmost importance that we maintain our current momentum and (re)secure the bicycle's place in our cities.

This will only be achieved if we focus on marketing urban cycling as a normal activity for regular citizens. If we concentrate on the masses who could be cycling, would like to be cycling, might take up urban cycling. When sub-cultures are the most vocal advocates we see that most of the advocacy stems from their own passion for their hobby/lifestyle. It seems that the goal is to get more people to join their ranks and become 'one of them', as opposed to selling urban cycling as it was meant to be from the beginning of Bicycle Culture 1.0 in the late 19th century - individual mobility for Citizen Cyclists.

So. It's that time of year again. All manner of 'how to cycle in the winter' guides are slapped up all over the internet. Year after year the sub-cultures put on their professor hats and look down their nose at the general population while they attempt to 'teach' people how to be just like them. You know... realcyclists. . . . 

Google "winter cycling clothes" yourself and see what comes up. The results are dominated by 'cyclists' keen on recruiting, with little advice aimed at regular citizens. Not a good sign if we are trying to get people to rediscover the simplicity and convenience of urban cycling that people have enjoyed for over a century. . . . 

Anybody who cycles in the winter deserves respect. Anybody who tries to tell the general population that you need anything more than your regular winter clothes to do it... does not.

What do you think? Do U.S. cycling blogs and info sources tend to make winter bicycling into too much of an elite activity?  Does this discourage normal people from trying out bicycling to normal activities in the winter?

Photo and photo slideshow credit Mikael Colville-Andersen on FlickR.

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