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Monday, July 21, 2008

If this one doesn't set off your bloviated pomposity meter, nothing will ... one of these years I'll figure out how to put a "radio voice" into my writing, eh?

Yea, my rain luck didn't apply this a.m, though it would have if I'd not overslept, 'cause fifteen minutes earlier woulda done it. The storms *did* at least abate to just rain, not "severe thunderstorms."
Then on the way home stopped at WEFT for "life in the bike lane." And I'd wondered if there would be dead air. SNork. More like diarrhea of the mouth :) I'd practiced a "radio voice" on the drive back from MD (hey, it's good for a few miles!) ... and sometimes I could carry that but usually it was the "just a little nervous and trying to anticipate" voice.
If I'm back next week and if it's online as well as on the air, hey, I'll post it 'cause it could be call-in. It would be 6-7 central time... welp, it will be any way, whehter or not I'm the guest!
Of course afterwards I thought of a couple of directions I really wanted to go in... but at least they were directions I thought of before hadn but forgot. I got in the stuff I wanted to get in, like the MAPS of the cycling route, the "selective attention" and lane position information, and the League of Illinois Bicyclists being a worhty org.
But in trying to explain why cycling was a lifestyle change but in a good way, not a "dang it, I *sholud* be doing this, I have to make myself" way... I didn't get to the part about getting back to nature. Okay, two things. Yes, I did get to posing the equestion "is this reason you're giving for not cycling a *reason* that you are open to solution for, or an excuse ... and any one will do?"
But I didn't get to the part where... okay, is your "elephant in the living room" - the *real* reason that you can't admit to - simply that you really are, honestly, simply afraid you'll get run over?
Welp, I'm going to go inside and ponder that... beause if I stay out where where the connection is live I will be devoured.

... pondering that (cut and paste quick! before the 'squitoes find me again)
Pondering that!
I think that the main reason most people don't want to ride their bikes more is that, in fact, they are afraid that they shall be hit by a car and killed or crippled. Or perhaps they're worried that they're more vulnerable to some kind of robbery or assault.
The fact is that the traffic stuff iss a real risk.
The fact is that it requires either denial, foolishness or courage to get on a bike and get on the road.
To me, the benefits of cycling include having to be brave and thoughtful. There are two reasons I embrace the risk.
Many people seek “back to nature” experiences, often with risk involved, where we're forced to think on our feet and what we do actually matters. We revel in it; we're 'More alert' and we notice things we don't notice in day to day life.
I don't know, maybe just getting in nature activates things so it doesn't have to be increased risk for the same hormones to take over – but if that's the case, then I think after a while it doesn't work. Thus people go out and do incredibly stupid things in nature and expect to be rescued...
When I am out on my bike, I am IN nature. It's a different scenario of nature; instead of mosquitoes or storms or bears or avalanches ... it's ... mosquitoes or storms or squirrels or gravel or traffic. Just as if I were camping, I have to plan and have the right gear and think on my feet and think for myself. I have to be more alert and I have to notice things, and I learn all kinds of tricks... and I embrace it because that's living.
And just as when we're out in nature, or facing wild weather, it can bring out the best in community spirit – being on the bike can do the same thing. (It can bring out the worst, too. We have more influence on which one than we think. That would be another essay. Perhaps I shall write a book of Bicycling Homilies.)
Practically speaking, all that practice being brave and alert carries over to all the risks I don't think about in life. Therefore, I conclude that the increase in risk while I'm riding leads to a decrease in risk in all other aspects, leading to a net decrease in risk, especially if factoring in the other health benefits of cycling.
The other reason I do it is a more political/spiritual one. Yea, out on my bike... at any second, a moron in a car in a moment's attention can ruin my life.
I can sit in my padded comfort and sympathize with the people all over this weary world who are many-fold times more vulnerable to risks they have no control over. IN fact, many of those risks are from wars and pestilences that, welp, if we're honest... my lifestyle and my country's politics contributes to. People will ride 150 miles “to raise money” for a cause. Why not just beg for the dollars? Somehow it's better if we do something... People will spend the night in a cardboard box “in solidarity” with the homeless, and it does give at least a small insight into what cardboard feels like... welp, when I'm the little thing on a bicycle and the big cars are whizzing by and I am at their mercy, I lift all vulnerable beings in prayer or something kin to it. All the folks who have to suck up to somebody, no matter what, because of the (perceived or real) control that person has over their lives... and I think there is value in learning to be humble and cultivating honest humility including towards oppressors; The most raging moron out there bein' one of God's children.
Then there's that other angle. By getting out there in my vulnerability, it is sometimes excruciatingly clear just how much horrendous local and world-wide carnage is, honestly, caused by our dependence on the automobile. Slavery sucks – but it's very, very hard to shake. When slavery was part of our lifestyle it was very hard to get people to perceive its inherent evil. We'd have to accuse ourselves (and then forgive?!? and then who *else * would we have to forgive, for what???) – not to mention generations of people we have been loyal to. Most of us can't do it. Talk about risk – the folks at the forefront of those kinds of moral sea change usually pay the price with their their livelihoods, if not lives. But sometimes when I'm riding I almost feel willing to answer that call if it came.
And slavery is just has hard to shake if you're the slave... think for ourselves? Figure OUT what to do without a car? Without this dependence that so happily dictates our priorities?


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