Isn’t it funny - the moment you get on a bike you become invisible
As cyclists, we are placed in a peculiar state of heightened awareness the moment we get on a bike. Everyday we are disregarded by drivers who ignore us, tell us we don’t belong, or worse, try to attack us. Those of us who are privileged enough to have camera equipment - if you collect enough of the “right” footage, you might get the opportunity to take your attacker to trial. But time and time again, the system fails us. At best they disregard the driving as ‘careless’. They don’t want to ruin someone’s future job prospects. It was an “accident". And so justice is yet again, outside our reach.
I am not saying this is the same as the experience of a Black person in the Western world - far from it. Nothing can hold a candle to centuries of oppression, pain, and terrorism. But while the majority of us cyclists are white, our experience of being disregarded, ignored, and even killed while cycling should provide an opportunity to genuinely empathise with every day racism and living with the threat of police violence. At the end of the day, we can get off our bikes, but you can’t change the colour of your skin.
Right now, the Black Lives Matter movement needs us to speak up for them. The racist UK government is led by a crafty bigot, whose cock-up managing the Covid-19 pandemic is still rampaging through the country, with a now projected number of 40k+ deaths (disproportionately affecting BAME communities), higher than the rest of Europe combined. Great Britain, indeed. (The coronavirus is still here by the way, don’t get comfortable.) Some might say, oh racism isn’t as bad here - to that I say maybe it's more subtle, but that makes it worse, because we can’t see it head on. This makes it harder to fight.
Did you know? I've been writing these newsletters since 2011. 2011. That's almost a decade. I'm going to start adding links to all of them here, and it might take a minute, so without further ado, here are all of LBK's newsletters in chronological order. Enjoy! I love the smell of tarmac in the morning: June 2011 Raindrops keep falling on my head: July 2011 Breaking Away: August 2011 Just when you thought it was safe to go outside: September 2011 When good bikes go bad: October 2011 Bicycles/Bingo/Beer Fundraiser: November 2011 Bad weather riding = Badass. November 2011 Every time...