There was a lot of pressure in this country today to ride your bike to work, and frankly, I think it was a little overdone. There's so much about the way our nation's transportation system is setup that favors cyclists, and it feels like we've shoved aside pedestrian thoroughfares and open sidewalks so we can accommodate the increasing number of bikes out there. Sometimes the bike culture seems a little obsessive and insane - it's just a bike, a possession, you know? But they're taking over the world.
So that's why I chose to walk to and from work today - a "walk to work day" if you will. I represented one less bike on the road, and it felt good.
Think about all of the ways that bikes are harming our environment, our culture, our communities:
- The raw materials used to produce bikes is significant, and the refining/production process they undergo is full of waste and harmful emissions. The tire manufacturing process is particularly egregious, and think of the oil required to keep those bike chains moving. You won't find anything like that with a trusty pair of sandals on your feet.
- Think about all of the asphalt poured every year to make special bike lanes - and the construction, the traffic hassles, and the destruction of green space that goes along with it. We need to start organizing the layout of our communities around people, not their modes of transportation.
- As I said above, bike culture is getting out of hand. Everyone's obsessed with how sleek and shiny their bikes are, how well accessorized they can be, how much stuff they can haul around, and how fast they can go. We've come to judge each others` success based solely on the model and styling of bikes we ride around, instead of really looking at what's on the inside, or at our average walking pace - these are the things that really matter.
- When we bike everywhere, we really lose touch with our surroundings and our humanity. If you're zooming by your neighborhood park or the community grocery store at 12 miles an hour, how do you expect to stay connected to your fellow humans and what's going on in their lives? Walking is the way to really be a part of the community you live in.
- Bike racks are everywhere now, and they're taking up land that could be used for green areas, community spaces, etc. We really have paved paradise so that we can put up our precious bike parking lots.
Of course, these are just a few of the ways in which this dominating bike culture is taking over our lives. We really do have to stand up against it, and find a more just and sustainable way of getting around. Walking is less wasteful and more fun.
So, the next time someone starts trying to convince you to wrap up your identity and your freedom in some overpriced piece of carbon fiber, say no. Say, "because of me, there will be one less bike on the road today." It's the right thing to do.