Friday, February 19, 2010

The city as playground

I don't see many teenagers around here riding bicycles. Are they (or their parents) too afraid? Is it not necessary to get around because public transport is good enough (or parents drive them around)? Or is it just not cool to do so?

I remember being made fun of by other kids when I cycled to and from the grammar school in the neighboring town. Maybe it was because I didn't attend the extended elementary school in my town as most kids did (Hauptschule in German, a school from 10-14, but without a general qualification for university entrance -- see Wikipedia for an explanation). But actually I believe it was because of that stupid looking bicycle helmet that my mum made me wear. The "bicycle helmet fashion" in my area started in the early 90s, and the first helmets were really really ugly and uncomfortable. It created a very negative image of cycling amongst young people.

Better motivations for kids to cycle are those fancy trial riders, e.g. Danny MacAskill from the Inspired Bicycles Team in Edinburgh:

Cycling is really fun, and can be very challenging and cool if need be :).

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