Wanted: Cycling culture map
I was taught – and have taught others – that a map is a social construct, depicting a world view from a distinct perspective at a given point in time. The map therefore represents a worldview that the producer would also like you to buy into. Think of how indigenous groups around the world do not have their territorial claims projected and how an Ordinance Survey map would be completely useless to project local politcial situations without constant revision. So, it was with great amusement that a Dutch friend of mine and fellow cyclist Wouter Poortinga popped the image below on his Facebook pages. Similar in style to one used by Spitting image way back in the day, Wouter got it from a friend, who got it from a friend, who got it from a friend. If this trail leads all the way back to the artist/social commentator, bravo you for generating a cynical chuckle (here at least), but my strong advice is to keep a low profile whilst travelling abroad(!).
I can definitely see huge problems with this map. I’m sure the Canadians wouldn’t want their country known specifically for bears for instance . Aussies will get the hump for sure. Europe got off extremely lightly – hinting at the origins of the author? – and I think it’s jolly lucky that the UK is too small to write on. However the bigger issue is the complete absence of any mention of bike culture. What a glaring omission! Colour coded cities for good/bad/indifferent infrastructure? Stripey bits for countries that manufacture classy bikes? Little coffee cup symbols indicating a proper macchiato? Perhaps Copenhagenise can help in this respect? It would segue nicely into their recent list. I’m happy to help for a small fee