Are You A Cave Man?
There was an interesting question raised on the Commute By bike blog yesterday, as to why the world at large seems to view cyclists as “Kooks, Freaks and Weirdos”. Basically in societies where the car has usurped the bicycle as the mode of transport of choice about town, people riding bikes are very much in the minority.
So the media take on it tends to be that people riding bikes must be a special class of the lunatic fringe. Stands to reason, because otherwise they’d be in cars, right?
I have a different take on it though. I started riding a bike again, primarily because I had what I believe alcoholics call a “moment of clarity” about four years ago. While sitting in a queue of traffic, I realised that . . .
- Riding a bike is almost certainly as fast, if not quicker than driving, when door-to-door journey times are considered
- Peak oil is a-coming. Might be in 2040, might be in 2011, might be 2008.
- At the same time, oil demand is going up. So prices will really take off.
- Environment and green stuff and CO2 and polar bears and things like all that seemed to be a problem that I was contributing to.
So I needed a change in my mindset. I started cycling to my local clients (>90% of them are within 14 miles of home). Along the way, I discovered that riding a bike is FUN - precisely the reason I used to spend all day riding when I was a kid.
So now I want to get as many other people onto their bikes, to spread the luurve.
Along the way there have been risks - financial and physical. Buying bikes and stuff did take some money (though not as much as I’d have spent on fuel for the car), and I had to learn to mix it with the traffic again. In short, I acted like a pioneer, and did lots of new stuff just for the heck of it:
And now my mission in life is to go back, and tell the Settlers to get the wagon trains saddled up (or whatever it is you do with wagon trains), ‘cos I’ve discovered something they’re just going to love when they get there.
The problem is that there are CAVE men around - the media (”Shock Horror: Duffy Rides Without Helmet. In A Supermarket Too!”), many local councils, the police, Jeremy Clarkson drivers, drivers’ organisations, etc, etc.
So here’s a question for you: Where are you on this continuum? More to the point, where do you think the majority of people would place you - alongside the kooks, freaks and weirdos?