What a mess
Bikeskirt is primarily a story proving that women in the south can and do in fact commute by bike fairly successfully. I personally haven’t delved too much into the philosophical/political because I feel that
- I’d be preaching to the choir
- Bikes are fun, and drama clouds that fact
- I’m a judgmental asshole and try to keep that at bay as much as possible
- I am actually not a good writer and have a hard time making coherent points
But that doesn’t mean I don’t stew about all of the things out there in the social sphere that impact why we and others do or don’t ride.
Friday morning while I prepared to hop on my bike and ride to work, I heard on the local NPR station (WBHM represent!) about a wreck on our most nightmarish road to town, 280. The wreck had resulted in one death and major traffic delays. It was upsetting to hear that someone had passed away (which later turned into multiple deaths), but I felt that the reason they were reporting on the wreck was primarily because it was blocking all lanes of traffic into and out of the city.
When I arrived to work I heard my co-workers speaking about how terrible the traffic was on said road from hell. I didn’t hear details of the conversation, but I’m sure it revolved around how inconvenient the incident was for them as they tried to make it into the office. I restrained myself from jumping into the conversation with unwelcome comments such as “it took me the usual 10 minutes to get to work today” or a more general “I had a great time riding my bike this morning”.
This all got me thinking about how people’s priorities are completely backwards (how did traffic become worse than death?), question for the umpteenth time why everyone wants to live in the horrible suburbs and spend an exorbitant amount of time in boxes, and contemplate why we as a society have lost our ability to discern how we want to live and to run our government for the good of all society. For example, many people I know move out of the city because they want the perceived safety and the good school system, but why can’t they take a stand and create that in the city? Why do they want to commute in a car for an hour on a good traffic day when it is completely unnecessary and unhealthy? Why are we all sheep who do what society tells us to? Questions for the ages.
While this is not specifically bike related, it does speak to a main reason why I ride. I ride because I want to live a meaningful life of integrity, and no one is going to tell me otherwise. The cars that buzz me, the friends and family that think I have a death wish, the strangers who make snide remarks, the city planners that continue to ignore that I even exist – they might upset me, but they don’t stop me for doing what I love and believe in. I wonder how many people who live the suburban life can say this.
I have hope for change; the city seems to be recognizing the great things that downtown Birmingham has to offer and new businesses and opportunities for development are popping up. We have new apartment buildings being built too, which is very exciting. I love my city, and I just wish the people around me who do nothing but gripe and complain and thus accept the status quo did as well. Take a stand! Live for the city IN the city! Don’t accept these social ills!
See what I mean about not making coherent points? Maybe what I’m saying is that everyone else’s life is shitty and mine is awesome so be more like me…which is not a very good argument for anything. Whatever, I’ll just ride on my wide open streets and appreciate what I have anyway.