Dear cycling twitter, there are worse things than being fat

Is there anything worse than being a shit driver? Or one of those bellends who moan about cyclists on Twitter?

Yes apparently.

Being fat.

I’m not actually writing this blog about that tweet. He’s from Portsmouth, I’d expect nothing less than this kinda crap.

I’m writing about tweets like this:

In the last few days I’ve seen tweets from people I follow – people who I previously felt like should be on my team, Team Middle-Class White Women Who Cycle – which seem to demonstrate a belief that there is nothing worse than being fat. Who’d have a fat butt? Yuck!

Clearly, the weight of an individual who drives poorly or expresses vocal support of car culture is innately linked to their general assholiness.

I want to grab these people – who are my peers and, I thought, my allies – look them in the eye and say:

Yes! being brainwashed that our car sick culture is the only way our world can be is bad.

Yes! driving like a dick and showing no care for the happiness and wellbeing of vulnerable road users is bad.

Yes! thinking you pay road tax is bad.

Being fat is not bad.

Why is fatness the first thing you go to when you want to emphasise how bad someone is? Or thinness how good cycling and cyclists are?

I feel as though there is a shared dream of a Cycling Britain that is a safe and inclusive Cycling Britain, but for some folk this dream is exclusively thin.

Imagine a livable city, built around sustainable transport and full of lovely cycling infrastructure. This will be a healthier, happier, city. Statisticly the inhabitants of the city may be lighter and slimmer, but they won’t be homogenously skinny.

I’ve got some body politics basics for you:

  • Being thin is not innately good. Thin does not equal fit. Hell, being fit doesn’t even really equal healthy!
  • Being fat does not necessarily equal poor health and lack of fitness.
  • And being healthy is great, but it’s not a moral imperative. No owes you health, and their health is almost certainly none of your business.

When you throw the F-word into your snappy comebacks you are telling me that you do not want an inclusive cycling culture, that you want to maintain the idea that cycling is only for the fit and able-bodied, and you literally don’t care about people like me.

This is the point I want Cycling Twitter to pay attention to:

Make judgments about people based on their behavior. A dickhead in a car is a dickhead in a car. What does calling them fat add to the conversation?

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