When I got my first iPod in 2003 I was quite happy to put the white earbuds in my ears and stroll around university with a seamlessly endless supply of music.
An interesting thing happened that winter though. As I walked from class to class when ever I would pass a fellow student with an iPod would would nod slightly to each other. We didn’t know the other person but we were connected by the shared bond of having one of the few iPods on campus.
Fast forward to 2010. On Sunday I went on a leisurely bike right around downtown. I noticed a vey similar trend taking place. Whenever I passed a cyclist (who was obeying the rules of the road) we telepathically acknowledged the other, nodded, and essentially provided them with (a tiny amount of) personal approval.
The iPod took off like wildfire and before too long there were more then justa dozen on campus. The exclusivity bond disappeared, but I didn’t mind that. Thousands of people had discovered the excitement of having all your music in your pocket and I was glad that they had.
I’m hoping and I’m optimistic that the same trend will be repeated with cycling here in London. I hope that one day events like Critical Mass are no longer necessary because there are tonnes of cyclists using the roads to commute.