I was invited to interview Peter Flax, Editor-in-Chief of Bicycling Magazine. I said Sure! And I did.
The interview was a few days ago. And today–literally today–I read the entire e-mail message that came with that initial invitation, and I saw there was a list of recommended questions. Sorry, Peter, I completely missed those questions. Or maybe I skimmed until I saw the words “Tour de France” which immediately put me to sleep.
I’ve always been somewhat indifferent about the Tour (not to mention the personalities involved). Once or twice I’ve caught a contact high from friends of mine who always get caught up in the race, but never more than that.
So when I wandered into the neighborhood of some of the prepared questions, it was purely by coincidence. But mostly my interview questions are like a grab-bag of my pet topics:
- What is the most persuasive argument to get a person to start biking? 00:28
- How does an exaggerated sense of the danger deter cycling? 01:50
- Does a focus on the “sport” of cycling have a downside, which discourages people from seeing cycling as practical transportation? 03:08
- How does a new cyclist find a local bike shop that has commuter bike expertise, and not just expertise in cycling as a sport? 07:08
- Has the bike industry fallen short on making bikes as reliable and convenient as cars? 08:45
- Is there anything to the claim that comfortable, upright Dutch-style bikes are not appropriate for American commutes? 11:02
- Do e-bikes create an opportunity to get out-of-shape people to start using bikes for transportation? 13:00
- Do you see the perceived political gap of cycling narrowing? 15:00
I thought I might annoy him by entertaining the idea that The Tour de France is bad for cycling. It might have been more fun if I had. But the man is a diplomat–the Ambassador from Bikeistan. And I couldn’t agree more with his closing message to readers of Commute by Bike:
At our magazine, we just think that everyone that rides a bike is cool. And that the act of riding a bike harkens back to your childhood. It’s this fun beautiful thing. And whether you commute or you race, or you just ride around town with your kids, we all share this love of the bike. And I just wish everyone would feel a little bit more like brethren about each other, ’cause it’s like we share this magical thing together
The questions I was supposed to ask Peter:
- The Tour de France starts on July 2 – what can you tell us about this year’s race? Who is the favorite to win it all?
- Who are the top Americans at this year’s race?
- What is the bike culture in local cities across the country and what’s driving so many people to jump on their bikes?
- What are the health benefits of cycling?
- Do you have tips for folks who want to start biking? What should folks know when shopping for a new bike?