Different Spokes: Where We Live

It used to be the case that 75% or more of the Different Spokes membership resided in San Francisco. A quick look at the current membership list shows that has changed; out of 105 members 61, or about 58%, have a SF address. The Peninsula, particularly the South Bay, and the East Bay had just a scattering. Well, that’s no longer the case: there are 21 members on the Peninsula and almost all of them reside in the South Bay (Redwood City and south) including one person in Santa Cruz; there are 16, or 15%, in either Alameda or Contra Costa County. Perhaps it indicates the slow outmigration of LGBT folks to the suburbs, the growth of Silicon Valley, or just the increasing acceptance of LGBT people in general allowing more people to come out who aren’t in liberated zones. Having had two very active members, Chris Thomas (now in Utah) and David Gaus, in the South Bay certainly helped increase membership probably because of their high profile in leading ALC training rides. (I remember years ago when Doug O’Neill, Sharon Lum, and I were beating our heads against the wall trying to drum up LGBT cyclists on the Peninsula. No more it seems.)

A more interesting question is why our membership roll continues to decline during a period when cycling is growing. Some speculate that we’re already in a post-Gay world and this has lessened the need for a ghetto either physical or social. That is, LGBT cyclists are cycling with straight groups rather than with Different Spokes because we’re more accepted and have less need to hang out with other LGBT cyclists. Another argument is that this is an effect of digital technology: our relations are less determined by physically hanging out and more dependent on virtual relationships. I’ve speculated in the past that it’s partly due to the club becoming more narrowly defined as a fast male recreational club and having less relevance to LGBT cyclists of other types (i.e. mountain bikers, women, slower riders, newer riders, any riders with kids, touring cyclists, commuters/transpo cyclists, etc.). Regardless, at least we’re geographically becoming more disparate.