Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Turn, Turn, Turn

"Remember the big Folk-Music Scare of the 60s? That stuff almost caught on!"
- Martin Mull

Commie / folk musician Pete Seeger claims to have written a song, made famous by The Byrds.

To every thing, turn, turn, turn
There is a season, turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven
A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

In reality, the words were written by some guy named Ecclesiastes, and can be found in the Old Testament. (Look it up in Ecclesiastes Chapter 3.)

So... what does any of this have to do with bicycling?

Sometimes people get defensive when they read my words promoting bicycling.

A guy (? - perhaps a woman; went by the handle of "Shamrock") out of Carey, Idaho, had this to say:

"Question- how many groceries can you haul on that hog? Can it pull a loaded horse trailer, a load of wood, and just how far do you sail when you get blown off the road?"

If you've never been to Carey, you've missed out. In my estimation, it is a charming, rural place. It's located about halfway between Ketchum and Craters of the Moon. US Highway 20 goes right through the middle of town, and "town" is maybe 2 blocks wide and 6 blocks long. The population (2000 census) is 513. If you could do without big-city amenities, and could find employment (mostly agricultural in those parts, I'm guessing), it would be downright tolerable. I'm sure "Shamrock" loves it in Carey.

And you know, he's right! As much as I hate to admit it, I can't pull even an empty horse trailer with my bike! Load of firewood? Fuggeddaboudit! (I'm feeling so inadequate today!)

I was conversing with a friend yesterday. He said, "Hey, I ran across your blog. I read some of it - seems like you were railing against people who drive to work."

Wow? Is it that harsh? That's certainly not my intention.

My intention is to share with readers my enthusiasm for bicycle-as-transportation, and why. I reserve the right to occasionally make comparisons between driving-to-work, and riding-to-work. I feel I'm qualified, because I'm experienced at both.

There are obviously hauling and towing tasks that cannot be accomplished with a bicycle. (And I'm guessing "Shamrock" doesn't drive himself and his sack lunch to an office building, 5 days a week.)

To every thing, turn, turn, turn
There is a season, turn, turn, turn...

A time to ride the bike... a time to fire up that Super-Duty Diesel Pickup.

Does it make sense now?

I doubt they've ever had a traffic jam in Carey... or a yellow air-quality day... unless it happens on the weekend of the big Alfalfa Days Festival or something.

Now, I'm sure there are some gentleman ranchers, and maybe even city slickers, who have to haul a load from time to time. And if it's a bulky or heavy load, a bicycle obviously wouldn't do. But what does that have to do with getting said rancher or slicker to his girly-man "day job," 5 days a week? Is he stuck driving the F350, like it or not, even if he only needs its hauling/towing capabilities 3 days a year? (I s'pose it would be pretty embarrassing, if somebody who knows him, saw him riding his girly-bike to his girly-job. After all, he has an image to maintain.)

I try to REGULARLY mention... it would be hard to go through life, surrounded by our 21st-century car culture and car infrastructure, without an automobile. (People seemed to do it just fine, 75 or 100 years ago.) I'm grateful we have a car in our family (the wife's minivan) for use when the time is right.

To every thing, turn, turn, turn
There is a season, turn, turn, turn...


Anonymous said...

Great humor to get the point across. I especially like the pic

Anonymous said...

I appreciate you expressing a courteous, balanced approach to bicycle advocacy, because I can't do it. I'll hold up the cynical, anti-car side for you. :)