On Thursday at 1 p.m. , I’ll be hosting a live chat with some bicycling fans and the Minneapolis Non-Motorized Transportation Pilot Program Coordinator. It’s National Bike Month. CNN is hosting videos with lots of bicyclists riding to work this week because it’s also National Bike-to-Work week and National Bike-to-Work Day on Friday. A swell idea, I guess.
Here’s the thing: I don’t do Spandex. I usually don’t even do shorts, and I’m not that much of a bike fan. The most undesirable people I’ve ever met were the bicyclists — in Spandex and shorts — racing down the mountains and across the Golden Gate bridge, shouting “move” to my wife and I who made the apparent mistake of not being them.
I like to think they’re not really the biking community, but I have a small frame of reference. A few colleagues I like very much bike to work. They also wear Spandex. Me? I’m one of the few people who still follows the company edict against sandals in the workplace.
I got roasted last year by a biker blog. I can’t remember why but I think it was for something I said on the Current about bikers who ride in the road when there’s a perfectly empty bike path. The biking community does not have a great sense of humor, though I suspect the same people who got upset then think Wanda Sykes is a stitch now.
I have this mountain bike, which my wife won at a school raffle a few years ago. I inherited it when I bought her a new bike for her birthday. I suspect if it could talk, it would spill its gears about the mean things the cool bikes say about it.
I like riding a bike around the neighborhood just fine. But I’m 55. I’m out of shape, and I abhor the thought of showing up to work sweaty. I don’t ride in the road to make a point. I don’t think it makes much sense to buy a several-thousand-dollar bike to save a few hundred dollars worth of gasoline. Last year I rode my bike from Woodbury to the South St. Paul airport each weekend. But saving $4 in gasoline cost me $5 in Gatorade.
Where other people look cool riding a bike, I look like a guy whose car is in the shop.
I’m bored by the biker vs. motorist debate, which hasn’t moved in any direction in years, and on occasion sounds like a “rights” debate, little different from the gun control debate, which also bores me these days. Bike. Don’t bike. Own a gun. Don’t own a gun. Choice is good.
But if I’m going to host this chat, I might as well try to figure out why so many bicyclists are so keen on other people riding bikes to work, too. So on Wednesday morning I’ll ride in from Woodbury (mostly downhill) and we’ll see how it goes.
The first thing I need to figure out is how I’m supposed to lug a laptop and all my other blog-related equipment from home. And what about a change of clothes? I’ll have to bring some extra money because there’s no way for me to carry the lunch I usually bring from home. This simplicity stuff is complicated and costly.
If you’re a regular bicyclist, you probably have some tips and stories about the joy of your ride. Go ahead and share them below.