Can bicycling be a positive experience if it is based on fear? This blogger says NO! See how one prairie town on-line writer views things. Former Mayor Pete Connor of Owatonna Minnesota wrote, in May 2011, his affection for bicycling, in a missive called Bike-ling. The word is his grandaughters way of saying bicycling. Mr. Connor has written a play by play of his cycling observations for National Ding -a- ling Bike Month. Now, we are coming from two very different places but I’d like to think it is easier to share similarities than differences. I agree with Mr. Connor that using a bike for in town travel get’s us out of our cars. It is the fear and insane rules that I don’t agree with Mr. Connor. Here is a sprinking of adjectives employed in this fear based article. Absolutely essential, terrifying experience, alarming, closing in be-hind, regulations, inconvienent, must be observed, less than desirable, traps for bike tires, dearly needs….etc. Please read for yourself.
cycling can be a terrifying experience, especially for the rider who is ill-prepared and unaware. Everything in life takes a bit of preparation. If you can boil an egg then you can ride a bike. But biking is more than just following recipes. Its about creativity and ingredients. Good times, good places are just like good herbs and good produce. What happens to the uninitiated rider as fear creeps into their conciousness is they never get the momentum to become regular bike riders. Because they don’t have the perfect recipe of gloves, mirrors, helmets,shorts etc. they demure into fear. I’ve posted recently about small town perceptions and the fear of “what will the neighbors think?” The other side of the fear coin is what will other bicyclist think. Who Cares? Period. Both sides of this coin are concepts of an autocentric society. Fear big cars and trucks so keep your skinny A$$ bike off the street. Be your own expert Owatonna. You all live in a town surrounded by corn fields in four directions for miles upon miles. What is the problem with hopping on a single speed and going down to the store carrying your day-pack on your back for a lousy gallon of milk? What is keeping you from heading to Target on your bike? On Google Maps the town looks like an hour glass. Mostly a grid and framed by interstate 35W and secondary roads.
no one wearing a helmet is alarming. Mayor Connor, we live in Minnesota where motorcyclist have no helmet law. Australia has just about killed biking with their helmet laws. Helmets are a personal choice. It’s not like we were born that way.
if vehicles are closing-in from behind. I don’t recommend a mirror. Use your senses. Ears, so listen up and turn your head. If you are so old and deaf that this is unsafe behavior then it’s time to get off the bike and start brisk walking.
Regulations: Cyclists, as most people know, must follow the same traffic rules as motorized vehicles. Inconvenient as it may be, stop signs must be observed. Mr. Connor, I hope it is a cold day in HELL before I have to obey stop signs. Bike riding is not anything like a car. The more a bike rider is used to not stopping the more enjoyable the ride. Remember this is a small town. The real problem I bet is there are very few bicylist in Owatonna and automobiles are the choice method for running all over this small community. When if ever people start riding in Owatonna in mass then the streets will have a natural flow. Stop signs impede the flow. More bikes and less stop signs. Until then keep 100 percent aware and don’t be in a hurry.
Urban bike riding has general guidelines. If there are rules they were meant to be broken. Theo nly one responsible for your own preservation on the road is you. From there on you are pretty much on your own. Like we used to say in the 70’s “Keep on Truckin”