Thursday, August 14, 2008
Academics Who Bike
AWB's, we'll call them, because BA's or AB's (Biking Academics/ Academics Biking) takes away their Ph.D.'s. I wonder if this is a new phenomenon, or if academic types who already have blogs (and bikes) will be starting up new, subsidiary blogs to accommodate their interest in bike culture and bike commuting. (I should add that I mean "subsidiary" in the business sense, not in the sense of "less important.") On the few biking blogs that I read, Bike Commuters and Bike Portland, a large number of the bike commuters, as was humorously remarked on Bike Commuters, seem to be IT people, not a few of whom work at universities. So it is good to see some from the academic side with biking blogs: John, of Blog Meridian, who has been known to drop by these pages, now writes of Cycling in Wichita, and a Springfieldian (MO), has just launched Carbon Trace. You can see I have a really large sample here, but that is not going to stop me from announcing a new phenomenon (academics do not call it a "trend" unless they are statisticians), the blogs of academics who bike. Based upon my sample (cough), AWBs appear to have a strong desire to compartmentalize, hence a separate blog for this facet of their existence, yet express an equally or more powerful will to integrate the actual biking (but not the blog) into various facets of their lives, e.g. it's not '"about the bike;" it's about bike culture and environmental and social concerns, and about not getting squished. Well, okay, sometimes it is about the bike, but not in that spandexy sense. I can actually see the rationale behind the separate blogs, as this is something that has already been happening: each blog attracts its own community, so establishing a new blog allows one to make contact with and link up with those who have those same interests, or as Andrew Cline of Carbon Trace put it, he did not want to go "off topic" in his other blog, which is about his academic subject. Since my blog has no topic and my career is a secret, I have not branched off. So I have started a new section in the sidebar: academic bike blogs (ABBs ? No.). I expect that at least one of the subjects of this post will have suggestions as to how to enlarge the list. And then we shall study these creatures in their natural habitat.