Why do I care? What's the big deal? Why can't motorists just drive their freakin' cars and me leave them well enough alone?
I guess there really is no big deal. I could leave them alone and not make a fuss. I'm not really a fanatical environmentalist. Heck, I don't consistently recycle!
The big deal for me is that cars have been a ceaseless series of frustrations and disappointments. I could never afford a new (or newer) reliable car. And so I have always been stuck with clunkers that don't suit my needs. And if I couldn't afford a decent reliable car I sure couldn't afford maintaining a clunker and I wasn't born with mechanical aptitude adequate for tinkering with the modern automobile, nor did I absorb it from my environment. Nothing there…dad wasn't a huge tinkerer either.
On the other hand, I can fix a bike. Just about anything related to a bicycle I can fix. I've been tinkering more and more. I can sort of true a wheel. I've maintained my clunker bike for 16 years now. I am just much more successful onwith the bike.
I hate traffic. I hate congestion on the road. I weary of parking, planning and dealing with cars. I hate sinking money into an inanimate object that continues to frustrate me no matter how much attention I give it.
The bike is so much simpler. Despite my weather woes this morning the bike is truly much more efficient in terms of maintenance, fuel consumption and effectively getting me where I need to go. Even when I end up having to spend money on the bike to fix or upgrade I am still spending hundreds less than I would spend in routine maintenance on a car (I say this from experience).
Bikes make more sense.
Despite ending up at work soaked and cold I did enjoy my ride. I had the Clear Creek Trail mostly to myself. The leaves have started to fall, carpeting the concrete path and tinging the air with the nostalgic smell of their decay. I could hear the creek gurgling beside me as I rode upstream. If I had been in a car I would not have been able to sense nature so directly, so personally.
I was annoyed when I got to work, as every person I saw on my way in commented that today was not a good day to ride and that I was hard core, crazy, etc. I was really getting annoyed. Today riding in was not really a choice. I have no car. My wife needed the car this morning. I could have gotten a ride, but it was far more convenient to just ride my bike. And I was telling myself that I need to just ride when I don't necessarily feel like it or when the weather is soggy.
Getting a ride in a car this morning would have gone against my belief that going to a one car family was a good idea. I am still struggling with the decision. I try to convince myself that it was ALL conscious choice and that I am not a victim of circumstance. But then on days when I feel bad and end up riding I want to blame circumstance. If only I had gotten the promotion/raise I could have afforded: 1) a place to live closer to work OR 2) to have fixed my polluter OR 3) a car to replace my polluter.
Those things may be true. And I may actually be a victim of circumstance. However, I DID make a conscious choice even if I am a victim. Even though in our society it is expected that you propel an SOV from home to work and back each and every day in pursuit of a "living." I knew I didn't want to be herded with the sheep. I knew I wanted to break from what is expected and make my own way in the world. And while I chose, I sometimes feel like the choice I made was the only option I had. Is it truly choice?
Better question is this: even if I had no other choice than the one I made, is the choice I made the BEST choice?
So far, I think so.
But today I don't want to ride. I want to sleep. I want to rest.
Why does human powered transportation matter?
To completely strike a non-sequitur: When all else fails, you can still ride a bike.
A FEW MINUTES LATER
I just discovered a website called honku.org. While my day does not align perfectly with the honku message I quick jotted this down:
Wheels cut the puddles
Rain soaks a green jacket through
Wet feet do not feel
And in regards to the crazy SUV pilot from last week:
I'm taking the lane
You're honking your horn at me
You don't understand