El dia de ir al trabajo en bicicleta

Denver BTWD Spanish Flyer.
Originally uploaded by richardmasoner.

That mouthful is Spanish for “Bike to Work Day” or, literally, “The day of going to work on a bicycle.”

In my area, many of the more visible bike commuters tend to be nerdy engineers riding fairly expensive rigs with pricey accessories and clothing. To us engineers, riding a bike to work is an exercise in cost and time optimization. We bike because it makes sense, especially in highly congested Silicon Valley traffic.

In the San Francisco Bay Area and many other locations across the U.S., however, there’s a vast population of ‘invisible’ cyclists. These are the workers riding cheap garage sale bikes with bags swinging from the handlebars. To them, they bike because they must bike. Bikes are a symbol of poverty and most of them would love to be shackled with the burden of car ownership.

Many of us middle class “bike advocates” tend to sneer at these lower-income cyclists, but I think it worthwhile for advocacy groups to reach out to these groups. We should listen to their concerns, and I think we should work to change the mindset that riding a bike is a symbol of poverty. I left a similar comment at Paul Dorn’s Bike Commute Tips site on this topic of outreach toward Spanish-speaking bike riders.

I convinced the Denver Regional Council of Governments last year to create Bike To Work Day promotional material in Spanish, and I’ve suggested the same this year to the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition. Is there any Spanish language outreach to cyclists in your area?

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