I Have a Bicycle. Part 1: Morality on Wheels
1 1/2 – 2 months previous to NOW:
I have joined an exclusive club. One without expensive dues, long lines, bouncers, or techno music. OK, scratch that. Sometimes it has techno, but only if that’s what comes up on my iPod.
I have become a bicycle rider. A traverser of the bike lanes. And like I said, I’ve joined an exclusive club. I’m into saving the earth, reducing CO2 emissions, helping the environment, getting healthier, etc.
When I said I ride a bicycle, what I should have said is, “I ride a mountain bike.” It is rugged and powerful. And while I may not have to actually ride up a mountain or anything, Provo has some tough environments with plenty of debris. Just the other day, there was a big stick lying menacingly on the side of the road, and I said “no problem!” and rode the devil and his angels over that thing.
But riding a bike isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s not all mud and beautiful vistas either. I have to tackle a difficult moral issue: Am I a vehicle or a pedestrian? My solution has been to become both. In this way I’ve managed to harness the benefits of both the privileged pedestrian, and the speed and vitality of the vehicle. I use crosswalks, push buttons at lights, and try to avoid red lights as much as possible by cutting across sidewalks and parking lots. But I also use car lanes, turn lights and speed.
You may be asking, “What prompted this situation?”, “Jeff, why are you doing this?!”, or “I wonder what else I could be doing with my time, instead of reading this?”
Since becoming a bike rider, I have received many such questions, and have prepared a list of Frequently Asked Questions for your convenience.
Question: “Jeff, what has caused this transformation from car-person to bike-person? Isn’t that like taking a step back in history?”
Answer: “The simple answer is ‘yes.’ I felt like I needed a change in my life. Just as a caterpillar must live within the confines of a cocoon for several weeks to become a butterfly, I feel I must embrace the bike in order to achieve my best self.”
Answer: “Actually, the honest answer is a lot simpler. My wife has a job up in Orem and needs the car. My job isn’t within easy walking distance, so I need the bike to get to work.”
Question: “How far is it to work?”
Answer: “Almost 3 miles.”
Question: “How fast can you go?”
Answer: “Ummm… kind of fast, but not really fast. But I’m not really slow either.”
Question: “Can you do this?”
Answer: “I don’t think so. I can’t see what you’re doing, so I’m not even sure.”
Question: “You’re kind of a loser, huh?”
Answer: “Wait! Is that really your question?”
Question: “Yes. You know, you just type on your computer all the time. And you only talk about yourself. It’s kind of boring. And selfish.”
Question: “Fine. Next question-”
Answer: “Yeah, great. That’s fine. I think that’s about it for today. Tune in next time for more Frequently Asked Questions with Jeff!”