What this blog is about

Bicycle commuting, bicycle touring, bicycle racing; bicycle ADVENTURING.
To the grocery store, up a mountain, across the country or to the finish line--
it's all an adventure.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

"My Daughter Made Me Ride" by Barbara Hutchins @ Practical Pedal, a free magazine

This is an excerpt from the article "My Daughter Made Me Ride" by Barbara Hutchins, published in Practical Pedal. It's a great reminder that commuting by bicycle doesn't have to be a moral or environmental issue for people, it can also simply be a practical one. I know that I always have to check myself when talking to people about bicycle commuting- I try not to sound like I'm trying to single-handedly save the planet, but rather that I ride my bike everywhere so much simply because I enjoy it. Just today I put smooth tires on my mountain bike and I had to don my BTA (Bicycle Transportation Alliance) tshirt and converse shoes and run out the door just so I could ride it around town a bit. I went sprinting down Main St. just for the heck of it.
I asked Sarah what made her dislike automobiles so much. "What do you mean, Mom?" she said. "I like cars."

"Why do you ride a bike everywhere?" I said.

"Because I don't need a car. I live in a city. Everything I need is within twenty miles. If I had a place to park it I'd probably buy a car just to have for trips, but I'd still ride my bike around town. Does dad still think I need a car? Is that what this is about?"

"So you don't hate cars?" I said.

"No. Why would you think that?"

After our conversation I felt rather stupid. I'd spent months feeling guilty because I'd framed my dilemma as requiring a choice between convenience and some sort of romantic notion of necessity. I felt stupid because I'd framed the problem all wrong. As Sarah saw it, the choice to ride a bike wasn't a rebellion or an Amish-like resistance to the evils of technology. Riding a bike wasn't a denial of progress. In fact, from her perspective, riding a bike was the epitome of the idea that technology is progress. The bicycle is technology perfectly applied to the problem of urban transportation. The bicycle eases congestion, keeps us healthy, consumes fewer resources, and is cheaper.

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