Tuesday, June 08, 2010

A challenge to the cycling community....

In my opinion, the best challenge to cyclists seldom gets made. The best possible argument against the cycling community would go like this: you (we) have the potential to achieve genuine excellence in the way you (we) travel, so why don't you (we) do that? The answer, of course, would go like this: we do come much closer to complete excellence than motorists allow. But we still make to many excuses for our own and each others' mistakes. We still settle for a lower standard than we could potentially achieve.

Too often, we can't find a good way to say to the world that we exist, we have an unquestioned right to the roads, and at the same time to say to one another that we fall short too often. We have the potential for genuine excellence: we can make our journey through the world a positive thing for our bodies, our minds, for the world around us. Motorists can never do that, or as with cyclists (most of us) who also drive cars, I need to say that when we drive, we can never do that. Behind the wheel of a car, we can only seek to limit the damage we do. But on a bicycle, we can grow our bodies, calm our minds, and travel peacefully and lightly in the world.

So why do we so often accept all the anger and frustration of the motorist, and return it to them with a little interest of our own? Why do even those of us most gifted with privilege, most able to forgive, sometimes cycle with a chip on our shoulders? Why foster a cycling culture that ratchets up the impulse to confront, to accuse, to respond to the violence motorists do, to themselves, to us, to the world, with anger and accusation? Can we find a better way?

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