cyclofiend.com - peripheral thoughts & notes

May 2007
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National Bike Month - Coming Soon!
Filed under: general
Posted by: The Cyclofiend @ 10:11 pm

…well, “Coming Soon” for me anyway.  For the rest of the folks, it started 7 days ago.

It’s sorta the height of irony that May usually begins with me driving to work everyday. For various reasons - well, like “income” - I run an event that is held the first Saturday in May, and because it requires moving equipment and merchandise over a distance which would be an all-day training ride, the cobwebs get knocked off the car and I do my part to consume gasoline like the rest of the Californians. It makes me feel a little dirty, but more on that in a second…

Now, having said that, beth over at bikelovejones posted a nice entry a week or so ago about something you can do if you have to foul the nest - read it here.

Ok… where was I?  “Feeling dirty”? (Oh great - that phrase oughta get the keyword-bot-buzzards circling…)  Right.

First off - how the hell do people do that to themselves on a daily basis? I guess that’s why they need the bluetooth-enabled earbuds, the catastrophically loud stereo systems or the home-away-from-home sized vehicles which pass for “transportation” these days. Twice a day stop-n-go, bumper-to-bumper, no-way-in-hell-am-i-lettin-you-in lifestyle has just got to melt your brain, or feed some really dank and fetid aspect of your soul.  Dunno how it goes for you, but after driving around for a while, I came home tired and cranky, Yeah, this isn’t a brave new insight into humanity, but it was just a bit shocking to jump back into it after using the bike even more than normal this past winter and early spring.

And the funny thing is how easy it is to just cut a couple trips out here and there. When using the car, I try to line up errands so at least three of them occur each time the auto gets backed out of the driveway. Of course, I’m not a saint, and do have the luxury of having the car to fall back upon. But, it does feel like a luxury, and maybe that’s a core difference.

When I talk to people about riding their bike to work, the first comment usually includes something like, “Well, I could never give up my car…”  That’s sorta the crux of it - they don’t need to give it up, but we would be much better off if they just gave it a rest every once in a while. Because, if everyone just did an errand or two every week by foot, public transport or bike, the effect would be noticeable.

Of course, the real perfect world would be that they decided to use their car, instead of just jumping in it as some sort of precognative brainstem function.

Hmmm. Seem to have teased out that tricky little idea of being aware and present. Or at least being aware of the choices being made.

Here’s the other thing - some people really like quilting or video games or playing cards. I really like bicycles - I love the history of cycling, the designs, the characters, the technology, the artful minimalism of the design and the stylish execution for the task, and of course, the riding itself.  It’s silly to expect everyone else to be “into it” to that extent - at least right off the bat. If they can see that a handlebar basket full of produce from the farmer’s market is better than a bunch of bags in the trunk, or if they just want to cruise around the block with their SO on a flame-decaled chopper-looking bike rather than watch another hour of commercials strung together by a thin plot, that’s equally wonderful.

There’s too much facelessness these days, and it makes it much too easy to have bad things happen. When we’re all out there, on the other side of the tinted glass, we notice our surroundings and begin see one another as people rather than impediments.

So, today was the last self-inflicted mandatory driving day for a while. Everything got put back where it needs to go, and I can get back on the bike tomorrow - which means I can arrive at work and back home as a much more enjoyable person. Hope to see you out there.

The MCBC has a nice reminder/get excited page about May 17th - Bike to Work Day

And, the day after the event, I did get a chance to ride around a bit…

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