Friday, December 08, 2006

Why wait? You could be a bird in this lifetime

This morning as I reached the Broadway Bridge I pulled up behind no less than eight cyclists stacked up in the bike lane waiting for the light to change. The light turned green just then, and I watched them all take off in front of me, like tropical birds, each wearing a different colored rain parka. Then it was my turn to be a bird, in my bright yellow, and a couple more swooped up behind me.

What an exciting sight! Beautiful, human-powered machines, soundless, smokeless, and fast. I feel so sorry for those people trapped in their big bulbous cars, belching away, separated from the outside air. If they only knew how invigorating this is, how much fun it is to be out on a bike, most of them would do it. More than fifty percent would, I’m sure. There’s just no way they’d pick that icky life over this if they could just know.

They’d have to work through the initial inertia. Get a bike, for starters. Then maybe they’d find that they hated riding -- but if they’re a little bit persistent, and a little bit lucky, maybe they could go further and discover that they actually don’t hate riding, that what they hate is – for example -- riding without fenders. The basics are simple but so important to having a good experience -- like your tires have to be full, your chain has to be oiled. And of course your body has to get used to the physical output.

But once you get over the hump, there’s just no other way. Distances shrink. Later, you look back at your former self and you think, “Wow, I thought that was a long way?” (And your legs – you’re going to love your legs.) The idea of taking your car begins to sound like a big hassle once you’ve experienced the freedom from finding and paying for a parking place, the freedom from having to buy gas. I could go on and on….. ( hence, my blog).


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