Saturday, October 1, 2011

BikeSnobNYC on cyclists' supernatural powers

Awhile back, I commented on the book Bike Snob. I found the author to be very "well informed" as only practical experience can inform. I intend to share some favorite bits from time to time.

Here he describes how cycling transcends many of the annoyances suffered by other forms of commuting:

When you're stuck in your car on the highway because an accident or construction has suddenly transformed a twenty-five minute jaunt into a three-hour nightmare, or you've been sitting in a stopped subway train in a tunnel for half an hour after a particularly miserable day at work, you feel impotent - and nothing is more frustrating than impotence. These are the times when you attempt to bargain with the universe: "If you make this train move now, I swear I'll be a better person." Then you try to think of people worse off than you. "Well, at least I'm not in prison." But really you are in prison, and even worse, you don't deserve it. Eventually you might try the stuck-in-transit last resort: meditating until you attain enlightenment and transcend the material plane altogether. Unfortunately, it's the very rare traveler who can pull this one off.

But you'll almost never feel that maddening impotence on a bike (unless your saddle is adjusted improperly, causing crotchal numbness). Sure, you've got to travel by car, train, or bus sometimes, but the truth is that you can actually do it a lot less than you'd think. A bicycle can often make a trip that might take an hour take just a fraction of that hour. Or, even if the trip does take longer by bicycle, at least you've got almost total autonomy. You can pick your own route, you can make your own schedule, you can weave through traffic. And when you get to where you're going, you don't have to look for parking. On a bike, you're self-sufficient, and you're virtually immune to delays.

When it comes to commuting or running errands, your outlook changes considerably when you bookend your day with a little recreation. ... Being packed onto a subway or a bus or even stuck in your car in traffic makes you feel like cattle, and that's an awful way to feel. If you never want to feel like a cow again - physically or mentally - start riding your bike.

(Good stuff! Pages 51-52. The author can also be read on his blog. Oh - and I'm jealous! I want manufacturers and suppliers to send me stuff to use and review!)


Clancy said...

FYI that light blue text does not show up well when I read this on my RSS(google reader) feed.

Bikeboy said...

What's a RSS google reader feed?

(Sorry, Clancy. I'm kinda old-school. Ya can't please everybody all of the time... I use it sparingly, and only when I'm plagiarizing, so hopefully it won't be a show-stopper.)