The other day I was loading my trailer (Percy) when a middle-aged man parked his rumbling pickup, lumbered out of it, and then stood staring at my trailer. "Nice rig, ya got there," he smiled to one side.
Now, ordinarily, this would cause me to light up and talk proudly and enthusiastically (not hard to imagine, if you've ever met me for about 5 minutes and said the word "bicycle") about how I use my bike to get around. But something very subtle in the tone of his voice, his posture, the way his eyes studied my trailer stacked full with shelves, a desk and two very large paintings.. something made "Nice rig, ya got there," sound more like "what a cute toy of a contraption ya got there," and I did not appreciate that at all. So, regrettably, I was short with him.
"Yeah. I don't pay for car insurance, car payments, gas, repairs.. Plus, I'm fit."
"Well, there's something to be said for that," he smiled large again.
"Yeah, there is." And I turned away to continue loading my trailer.
Whether that man really thought I was "cute" or not-- I have a bigger theme in mind. Many, if not most Americans still think of bicycles as strictly "recreational" vehicles that you put in the car and drive to the local park to ride. It is the minority of Americans that realize the practical everyday potential of bicycles as transportation vehicles. The time is ripe to change that mindset.