Getting bikes into the "Wheels" sections of newspapers

It's a bit of tilting at windmills to try to push newspapers into cover more than just the latest, shiny car or gas-guzzling SUV. Local quixotic advocates (such as former courier Wayne Scott) have been trying to get the media to play fair by pushing for inclusion of even a little bit of cycling in the automobile sections of newspapers (not to mention television or the internet). It would be a big accomplishment, given that our local Toronto Star "Wheels" section is the largest such car fetish read in the country.

Recently the Ride the City folks suggested that the New York Times could dedicate one day a year to a Bicycle section in place of their Automobile section. They even included a mockup of what it might look like. It's all very utopian, but it can be useful for us to dream.

Replace the New York Times Automobiles section with a Bicycling section once a year. That would be just one week devoted to bicycles and bicycling—the remaining 51 weeks would continue to be devoted to cars.

Bixi, now with ads

Increasingly municipal governments seem to need advertising revenue to get any public infrastructure built. Since the City of Toronto had already sold its public soul to Astral Media, it has been Councillor Adrian Heap's position that no bikesharing system could be set up in the City without Astral's help or approval, despite the fact that a bikesharing system could conceivably be operated with no advertising revenues. Any day now we should be hearing from the City what Astral Media is proposing for Toronto's bikesharing system. (Would City officials take the same position with any extension of our transit system? Unlikely. The only thing that seems to stand in the way is that the TTC is already a public entity, and that a heck of a lot of public space would need to be given up in order to pay for it all.)

The Dutch and their bike (ads)

The following video is via Martino's Bikelane Diary, who is also a member of I Bike TO.

I second Martino's enthusiasm for this collection of Dutch bicycle promotion ads. They have a bit of humour. I don't think the Dutch are normally known for humour - tulips, pot, water, bikes and tolerance, perhaps - not so much humour. I was always told growing up that the Dutch are much more into slapstick than the dry wit style of the British. But not true: I love the ad with the mafiosa who laugh at the guy who rode his bike. At the end the two get into a Lincoln-style car and it explodes. It says: "Fietsers leven langer" (Cyclists live longer).

My Dutch is pretty lax so I don't know if I got the translation right for another ad:

Als we zo graag op de fiets zitten waarom staan we dan in de file?

Fietsen naar je werk. Een goede zaak.

(If we can so easily sit on the bike why do we then stand in line/traffic jam?

Bike to work. It's a good thing.

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