If there’s one thing you can count on internet commentators for, it’s unsolicited advice. When U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg was spotted using D.C.’s Capital Bikeshare to commute to work, “Bike Twitter” lept into action.
Sec. Buttigieg was offered advice on everything from seat height to how heavy his backpack was. One astute observer managed to divine that he wasn’t looking far enough ahead while riding – all from one still photo and a three-second video! Even the Secretary’s “motorcade” security detail was offered advice.
Buttigieg, to his credit, takes it all in stride – and with a sly wink, tweeting “Bike Twitter says my seat was too low. Can confirm.”
Bike Twitter says my seat was too low. Can confirm. https://t.co/iEJ7L8if9Z
— Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@SecretaryPete) February 26, 2021
Stoked on Bikeshares
While advice was offered, the vast majority of responses are overwhelmingly positive. Even the critics are mostly stoked that one of their leaders was doing such thorough research on his portfolio. So, while it’s easy to focus on the marginally negative, especially on Twitter, we should be clear that most commentators were chiming in to give props, not take shots.
It is a good sign for U.S. cycling policy that the Secretary of Transportation is giving bike commuting a shot. Whether it’s Sec. Buttigieg in D.C. or Jagmeet Singh in Canada – who recently had his ride stolen – more politicians being visible on bikes, and using rideshare programs helps raise the profile of cycling and commuting everywhere.
It’s an even better sign, just generally, that he’s got a sense of humor about it. No caps-lock response, just a subtle side glance at “Bike Twitter.”
Better bikeshare action shot: pic.twitter.com/jRtEmfs2M1
— Michael Stratford (@mstratford) February 25, 2021
And, not to stretch this too far, but Set. Buttigieg’s response is a great reminder that any trip by bike is a good bike ride. Getting out there is way more important than looking perfect when you do. Get out and enjoy the ride!
On the flip side, the Secretaries commuter-spotting is also a reminder to pause before offering your advice to a stranger – on the internet or in person. There’s a good chance that person already knows what’s going on or, even if they don’t, they might not want to hear it right at that moment.