Thursday, August 14, 2008

In which your correspondent finds himself at the tip of a blogosphere spearpoint

Image found here.

[UPDATE: Welcome to visitors from HuffPo's bike culture page. I hope you'll have a look around--especially if you're from the Wichita area.]

Like Byron (if one squints one's eyes in one very particular way), I awoke this morning and found myself famous--thanks to my bloggy friend Cordelia, who has placed me on said spearpoint:
AWB's [Academics Who Bike], 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.")


Based upon my [two-blog] 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.
Cordelia has so far identified this blog and Carbon Trace, the bike-blog of Andrew Cline, a professor of journalism at Missouri State University in Springfield, as fitting her definition above. For the curious, Rhetorica is Andrew's day-job blog.

I know of other bloggy academic types who also cycle to work but who don't have a separate blog for their cycling. So. This tip-of-the-spear thing is kinda cool, but it could also be that Andrew and I are just a bit nuts, starting up yet another blog as we are.

Still, if he's nuts, he's my kind of nuts: In this post, in which he notes with pleasure his being identified as part of the AWB phenomenon, Andrew explains his own bike-blog's origins and purpose in terms strikingly similar to those I used in Cycling in Wichita's inaugural post:
what I find more (rhetorically) interesting is the idea that we AWBs blog about biking as way to more fully integrate biking into our lives. Nail well struck. I do not need Carbon Trace to motivate me to commute on a bicycle. I’ve been doing that for four years.

What this blog does do (for me) is begin the process of making my biking political, i.e. not just practiced but practiced with a rhetorical intention. I intend to see a picture some day of public space in Springfield that resembles the one I recorded in Helsinki [scroll down his post to see it].

I do not mean political in the sense that I will try to exert political power to compel others to bike. Rather, I see Carbon Trace as a potential guide, resource, and bully pulpit with which to persuade my fellow Springfieldians to stop using so much gas and start burning more calories for the individual and communal good it would do.

I hope that readers will help Andrew and Cordelia and me identify other AWBs as well--academic types who have both a day-job blog and a bike-blog. We'll add them to the two-blog list we currently have.


rebmoti said...

Even though I'm not an academic, this rings true for me too. (RWB, perhaps?) I don't have a separate biking blog but include my biking adventures on my simplicity blog because to me biking is part and parcel of my efforts to live simply, frugally, and green(ly - never quite figured out how to adverbize that).

John B. said...

How about "verdantly"?

Seeing as "rabbi" means "teacher," I'd say you might fit that designation as well. Seeing as it's not my category, though, perhaps Cordelia should weigh in?

Geez: this thing's two days old, and already we have our first dispute over taxonomy.

Cordelia said...

Tough call on the Reb. We all know about academic territorialism, and I'd hate it to come to that. Let's say that we'll take independent scholars as they come, but since isn't primarily about biking, and the Reb is not in academe, I added it to my blog roll, but not to the AWB section.I'd encourage any to read Reb's blog(s): lots of good things going on there.