We are lucky in Australia that most people are so busy mowing the grass of their three acre ‘lifestyle’ block, driving their kids to footie, watching My Kitchen Rules and figuring out how to pay off the loan on the 60 inch plasma telly to know, or even care, about what’s going on around them.
Or are we really so lucky?
Australia, right now, is the most obese place on earth, with 15% of Aussie kids living in households where the adults are unemployed. Meanwhile, rising median house prices, falling salary packages and the fear of redundancy means that most people (me included) will never be able to afford to buy a house within 30km of where they work.
These issues and many more mean that we really need to make riding a bicycle a viable, convenient and equitable mode of transport.
And that’s why we need a cycling hero.
I’m not talking about someone who’s going to win the Tour de France.
I’m talking about someone who’s going to get out there and engage and work with the people at the core of the issue; communities in transport poverty and people who are depressed and obese and need free activities to improve their social wellbeing. Someone who is going to challenge architects, planners and developers and inspire them to create affordable inner-city low-car bicycle orientated housing alternatives; and someone who is going to encourage people to learn by leading and doing with others. Someone who’ll be out their training the trainer, leading and sustaining the cycling to school bus projects and spreading the word.
We need someone like Jamie Oliver, backed and endorsed by a major brand and ready to start and lead the bold and brave conversations.
When Jamie was frustrated with the state of school dinners in the UK, the population’s lack of basic cooking skills, the rising rates of obesity and the nation’s dependency on crap processed foods, he didn’t sit around whinging and complaining on tabloid press online forums. He got out there and made the change he wanted to see.
Jamie went to school kitchens and taught the cooks to cook. He went to the obese and economically-deprived communities and trained them how to cook affordable healthy food and then he trained those he had trained to train their neighbours. He started and led the bold conversations with the Prime Minister, the food suppliers, the shops, the parents, the education officials and the health departments. And then he created petitions and overturned Government policies.
“The future depends on what we do in the present.” said Gandhi
And that’s why, right now in Australia, we need a cycling hero.
Little addition (added 22 March 2013) about choosing your ‘messenger”