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On speaking out on cycling issues and road danger

I’ve just read an article by Sophie Heawood in The Guardian and it echoed something I’ve been thinking for a while. In her piece, Sophie says “We’ve become used to living in a world where BBC broadcasters can’t say what their politics are; where religious leaders get into trouble for having thoughts on how we lead and look after each other (a recent poll found that, actually, 44% of us want our religious leaders to speak out). But it sometimes feels as if even the politicians don’t want to talk about politics either; or about, you know, what they actually think.”

She’s talking about how bland politics has become, with politicians too scared to say that they are passionate for something, that they stand for something in case it offends some imaginary group devised in their focus groups.

I often find myself pondering something similar when it comes to our stance on cycling issues and road violence. If we criticise people who drive cars, we lose social media followers. This sometimes makes me think that we should avoid it, and only tweet positive things about coffee. Of course sometimes anger gets the better of us both and we take to Twitter to have a rant. But this is something that we feel passionately about and which we think that we should speak out about. We’re out there cycling every day just trying to run a business and deliver coffee and every single journey we come home talking of close passes and bullying. Some journeys, we come home dripping blood and bruised. We do a lot of miles so statistically we’re going to have more problems than your average cyclist. It is incredibly important to us that the roads are safer and that there is good cycling infrastructure – we couldn’t run this business without it. We also have friends and family out there riding bikes and we want them to return home safely too.

So we will continue to speak out on this matter, and it may occasionally lose us some followers, but cycling has also helped us to find ‘our people’ – we’ve made good friends and many of our customers also cite the fact that we deliver by coffee and speak about cycling issues as reasons for choosing us.

The internet and the world in general would be a worse place if we were all silent on things we truly care about for fear of offending some unknown person. We perhaps have some work to do when it comes to finding the right balance, but we will continue to speak out about bad infrastructure and dangerous driving. And we’ll continue to share envy-inducing shots of drinking coffee by the river too. We hope you’ll stick around.

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