Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thoughts on a name

Early this spring, the bombshell was dropped that the Central Connecticut Bicycle Alliance's familiar name would be no more. The organization is now known as Bike Walk Connecticut. They stressed that the full name was to be used at all times, so the abridgments that immediately sprang to my mind, such as BiWaCo and BikWaConn, or BWC are not approved. As both a slow typist and speaker, I lament this. I am always looking to maximize my syllabic efficiency, and this new nomenclature could prove persistently cumbersome. CCBA slipped smoothly and swiftly off the tongue like a wet Sucrets. I miss it. After a few months, I confess that I haven't gotten used to the new name yet.

Part of it is that I lament the organization is no longer an alliance in name. A word like "Alliance" can give anything a more appealing cache. If you and your compatriots are in any (non-Renault) alliance, there is an unmistakable sense of camaraderie. It makes you want to march (or ride, of course) with banners and sashes. It gives you automatic clout and presence. Your foes will cower. Soon your group will be referred to simply as "The Alliance" and everyone will know who that means. If anything, they should have gone with a more heroic-sounding name, like "Bicycle Liberation Front" or "Car-Smiting Velo Resistance"

My understanding is that the reasons for the name change were to extend the organization's reach state-wide and to include pedestrians in the mix. That's all well and good, but they could have done so with jazzier names. Here are a few:

Feet: Our Only Transportation (acronym: FOOT)- Easy to remember. Feet are integral to both walking and bicycling. The annual fund-raising dinner could be called the FOOT Ball.

Wary Eastern Riders Of Cycling Kickassery (acronym:
WE ROCK)- A bit brash, perhaps, but also easy to remember. "You can too!" could be a recruiting slogan for prospective members who would also like to rock out with us (no rooster jokes, please)

Walking Impressively Tones Hindquarters, UnderStood? (acronym: WITH US)- The acronym is inherently inclusive! Slogan/rallying cry: If you're not WITH US, you're against us! (err, that may dilute the inclusiveness a bit, actually, but I'd still go with it) Sort of pedestrian-centric, but does reinforce the notion that exercise gives you a nicer-looking rump.

Alliance Against Autodependence (acronym: AAA) It's an alliance! Confused motorists would call the organization's hotline when their cars die. A svelte volunteer would arrive with a loaner bike, simultaneously performing both a field rescue and an intervention. What could possibly go awry in this scenario?

The more inspirations I have (and I assure you, dear readers, there will inevitably be more) the less I feel like BiWaCo will be ringing me up for advice. They will likely stick with their current name, and I will likely learn to get used to it.

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