The first week of the new spring season has brought about a new first for me in my recovery. Today I got the bike out and actually went and got some shopping done using the bike as transportation. I believe this is the first time anyone in Canada has ever used a bike for something worthwhile. As people like the mayor of Toronto know bikes are essentially toys and anyone who plans for or builds bike lanes is just catering to an effete yuppie sort of game player at the expense of all the well meaning people out and about in their cars trying to do the business of the nation.
I felt that by using my bike for a necessary errand i could confuse these play bikers. They won’t have any idea what to make of someone utilizing a bike for something other than amusement. Now granted there was a time way back when I actually used my bike to get to and from work in Niagara on the Lake. The one way distance was about 12 miles from home to work and I rode that virtually every work day for the summer. The commute took between 1/2 to 3/4 of an hour depending on the wind conditions. I did get wet a few times but happily had a locker at work where I could keep a change of dry clothes so if I got wet on the way in I could get dry clothes for the day. If I got wet on the way home it was really no problem because I could take a shower and change as soon as I got home.
I have heard that some people in europe actually use their bikes this way, going to work, running errands, etc. but I doubt the veracity of these claims.
Meanwhile in North America we seem to be going at the very best two steps forward and then one back in terms of accepting bikes as serious transportation alternatives. Even in cities like Toronto where cars in the downtown core travel at about the pace of a pedestrian we get some neanderthal like Ford who wants to gut any planning and building to make cycling more safe and therefore more attractive. While Participaction advertises that our children need 60 minutes of physical activity every day, other levels of government stand in the way of one of the best ways for the kids to get around.
And then the Liberals in Ontario make a great noise about expanding the toll highway eastwards farther from Toronto so more people can commute from greater distances burning more fuel and killing and maiming more people and call it progress.
Ah well this all started in my mind anyway about how nice it as to finally get the bike out and take a little ride today. It wasn’t long, it wasn’t hard, it wasn’t fast, but it was a great joy for this old beat up cyclist after a pretty tough year.
Here’s to looking forward to a great many more rides this year and hoping this snow we are supposed to be getting tonight and tomorrow is the last we see for a few months.