I went on a bike ride last night. Like I do every night except this was with Critical Mass in Seattle.
At this point, you know I’m a cyclist. I ride every day. For my health. For the environment and because I love riding my bike. For me, it is the logical solution to get out of the car gridlock city that I hate. For me, it is embracing the cycling culture.
My friends are cyclists. We ride bikes together, we tell bike stories, she share bike dreams.
We all live in the city of Seattle.
Seattle is an interesting city to live and bike in. It has that blend of trying to do the right thing with setting up a bike infrastructure, too many cars clogging the streets and a growing grassroots community of neighborhood activists wanting Seattle to be their city to live and work with.
This is where things get tricky. The combination of all three components gets people worked up and talking about wanting a better place to raise their family, live and work in a city that is growing.
How do you accomplish this?
My thinking is that change doesn’t happen overnight. If you want a change to last and keep, then you nurture it and help it take root and grow.
Just like gardening.
If you want a movement to last, you foster good relationships with both the cycling community and with those wanting a better place to live and work. You work with the grassroots community activists.
I’m not saying no to cars. I’m saying understand the nature of the beast. That beast being the over dependency on the car culture.
Let’s look at why cars. Why cars over other modes of transportation?
Cars, in my opinion, provide convenience with time and distance. They are the go to choice for many people because they provide instant freedom.
You pay for that freedom. Car payments, insurance, gas. Traveling on shitty roads at time results in mechanical costs….
Bicycles, in my opinion. Provide freedom and health. They go at a slower pace than cars, yes. However, they are the better choice in nimbleness and agility over street congestion.
Living in Seattle is by choice. We moved here from the suburbs for schooling my child and we chose to stay after she moved out as an adult.
We ride last night and cars honked at us. A few drivers yelled at us and asked “Are you in a protest? Get out of my way!”
The thing is, if there was only one cyclist on the road, they would be intimidated off the road.
A mass of cyclists then it’s a protest?
No. We are simply riding our bikes. Ok, maybe it’s a form of protest.
Let’s consider this.
Both bicycles and cars are on the same shitty roads. We both pay taxes to maintain the roads.
Cars do not own the road.
We, people, own the roads. That is what we have to keep in mind.
We, the people live in the city, we work in the city. Why not make the city what we want?
I love cycling. It is the act of movement and freedom that it provides.
I ride in Critical Mass because it is my way of celebrating and promoting what I love about cycling.
The freedom it provides for me.
And isn’t that what we all want in our life?