Monday, February 13, 2012

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Why I ride

Ottawa has been going well. I love working for something I truly believe in, that being the environment. And biking is such an interracial part of how I shout this belief to the world. Riding my bike states that I don’t want to contribute to the pollution that automobiles produce. It states that there is another way and it challenges others to think beyond what media and our society tells us. Just because we perceive our cities to be designed around the use of the automobile, they don’t have to be. The roadways could be just as much for bikes, and instead of allowing the putting up of big box stores we could create a demand for more smaller stores. Putting the power (granted less power) back into the hands of the people. Empowering more individuals to own their businesses. Creating stronger communities and economy that demands that we know our surroundings and interact with our neighbours…all of this I say by riding my bike.

My bike empowers me. Just like anyone else out there, I spend a lot of time sitting (like right now as I type this blog post), so my body gets a little angsty, wanting to play an important role in my life too. With my bike it can do that. I am the motor behind those handle bars, I am the one that turns the peddles and sends me rolling from home to work, to soccer, to art class, to friends, to plays, and so much more! I don’t depend on your oil in my gas tank, just my oatmeal in my bowl to get me rolling. That’s why my bike empowers me, because I can go anywhere with it, all I need is a little food in my belly and grease on my chain.

My bike challenges me. Before I really got intimate with my bike I did not even know how to change a tire. That’s right, less then a year ago, when I would get a flat tire I would slunk over to my dad or the local bike shop! But no longer! Flat tire? No problem! Need to repack your axel? Done it (although kinda tricky). Fix tension of brakes? Yep! Realign the gears, yep! Yet there is so much more to learn. And yet, it’s possible! Bikes are complicated but in an approachable way. It’s all fairly simple mechanics when you break it down. Going beyond the mechanical challenges, my bike challenges me physically as I push further and go beyond what I thought was possible. What will my bike and I conquer next? Who knows!

My bike creates community. Despite all of the tension around “bikers vs. car drivers” being a biker is a great way to strike up conversation and create community. There are so many others (hidden by all the cars) that are also facing the elements and cycling to work throughout Ottawa and Canada. I have waved to friends, talked to other cyclists, and smiled at pedestrians all while on my bike. I get to interact with my surrounds and the people in it when I go to work. I get to mail my letters while still on my bike, I get to listen to the birds sing, and watch the sun blast a hole in the clouds. There is something very intimate about being on my bike. I am exposed to my surrounds and therefore get to interact with them and be part of the world and part of my community. The other day I biked home and my neighbour asked me how the biking conditions were, since he was about to saddle up on his bike too. Would we have had that convo were it not for our bikes? Nope! Our bikes enabled this interaction. Yum.

Ok, I will end there for now. But before I TOTALLY end I want to clarify that I am not trying to be self righteous or snutty-poofy by saying all of this, I am simply expressing some of the awesome reasons why I bike. I am simply challenging you all to consider why do you or don’t you bike? And perhaps if you don’t bike, try taking a lonely bike out for a whirl. Who knows what you could find, both in yourself and the world around you! Enjoy the ride!