Dear Bicycle: Thanks To You
What are we most thankful for when we hop on our bike each morning? We’re thankful for our healthy mind and body that makes it possible to pedal every day. We’re thankful that we ride through the sun and the rain and the snow all year long — living and breathing through each and every season. We’re thankful for the freedom that we feel when we’re riding our bikes — having the fresh air whip by our faces and turn our cheeks pink — that’s a pretty wonderful feeling.
We could go on and on about how grateful we are to be on our bikes and for this bicycle movement as a whole, but here’s a word from blogger and bike advocate Elly Blue over via Grist.org:
In last [month]‘s New York Times, columnist Mark Bittman compiled a list of people and things in the food movement he’s thankful for. The bicycle movement deserves its own list. Here’s a start:
- I’m thankful for the power of bikes to enable people-powered protest movements. Bicycles have been playing a supporting role in the Occupy movement, and seem to be bringing out the best in everyone, whether used byprotesters or police.
- Free bicycles are on the rise, thanks to an international network of bike collectives. Chances are there’s one near you — find out onthis list — where you can build yourself a bike and learn to do your own repairs. Or, to see an economic multiplier at work, donate money, parts, or time to a bike collective that provides free bicycles to teens or adults with low incomes.
- Hooray for fenders! Riding through a light drizzle is a secret pleasure of mine, and if I had to choose between a raincoat and fenders, I’d choose fenders every time. After all, the rain is far cleaner coming down than it is when it’s tossed back up by your tires.
- I love the energy of small cities with big visions. As the giants like New York and Seattle wrangle over relatively small amounts of bike infrastructure, people in smaller cities around the country, from Oklahoma City to Newton, Mass., are seeing the appeal of bicycle transportation — and can have a much quicker road to revising their infrastructure and habits.
- There is a 325-mile continuous paved trail on which you can bike, hike, or ski between Washington, D.C., and Pittsburgh. It’s called the Great Allegheny Passage. How cool is that?
- Let’s hear it for sharrows and bike lanes. Cycling advocates argue fiercely about what kind of bike infrastructure is most effective, but the truth is that every time any kind of bike markings go down it’s a giant, sometimes bright green billboard reminding all of us that bicycles belong on the road.
What are you most thankful about in the bicycle movement?
Every Wednesday on Ditch Your Car we’ll be bringing you just another reason to spend more time on two wheels. Be it a photo, a statistic or an inspirational video, we want to keep reminding you about why riding is great!