The Power of Pleasure in Riding

The Power of Pleasure in Riding

I will be speaking about using the pleasure of riding as a tool for bike advocacy at the Bike SD Two Year Anniversary Party on Thursday, November 20th. Full details about the event can be found here.

The talk will address the pleasure of riding and how we can use enjoyment as a powerful tool for bike advocacy. “Why do you like to bike?” is an apparently simple question that may hold the key to growing both the numbers and consistency of bicyclists.

It is a real honor to help kick off this organization’s third year under the theme, livability, community, and culture. These three keywords are candy for a cultural scholar such as myself. Given the work Bike SD has done to be a successful, inclusive, and innovative organization, I only hope I can provide inspiration to keep up the great work!

If you are in San Diego, join us in delving into the details of why we find such pleasure in pedal power. If you are not, watch here for an updated post on the talk, with perhaps a bit more academic-y take on the whole thing than would be appropriate for a celebration replete with food truck morsels and Modern Times-brewed libations.

Paying for Pleasure

Does spending more money on an activity, such as mountain biking, produce greater pleasure? I really want to answer this question with a resounding no, but at the end of the day perhaps that’s not totally honest.

Over and over in my interviews, people talk about “just having fun” as being the driving force of early off-road riding. It was precisely this fun the drove them to invest more deeply into riding, both in terms of time and finances. Better technology, better bikes, better riding? More fun?

I spent $1,500 dollars on a gorgeous full-suspension bike that I love. Riding on this bike is more fun than riding on my old $400 hard tail. Though this was a huge expense for someone on my graduate student salary, I do not regret it. I’ve learned a lot about how riding technology affects riding ability, and how a bike can make a person a better rider. The new bike makes riding more pleasurable and increases my desire to ride.

Quality equipment is pricey. And quality equipment can improve an athlete’s performance, ability, and comfort. This, in turn, can produce greater pleasure in the activity. So maybe you can buy greater pleasure after all.