The new biking season has just begun in my hometown. When the cold winds start to blow and the snow begins to fall this is when the real bike season gets hot. Yeah, there are people who think winter is for racing between heat sources and then there are folk that have to be outdoors who think WTF, SAD can get to the best of us let alone the weak. Bike riding, moving around in the outdoors is just the way its gonna be. Never mind that the weather is more or less unpredictable, it can get might cold is all. The big deal for anyone thinking winter bike riding is unconventional or for nut cases is that these people are judging me and everyone else who bikes. And that is ok since I am hitting right back when the message from the start is to ride your bike more and drive your car less.
Winter biking is not fair in many ways to the modern American of the 20th and 21st century. It is only a few people in this country including myself that attempt to stay in motion all year-long outdoors for transportation. How so few have made ourselves into winter bikers is not a secret. We just do it! We have been doing it long before Nike trademarked the phrase. Swoosh and Just Do It sue me. But, what is not fair to Americans is the behavior which stops people in their tracks from attempting to winter bike ride. See the judgmental piece is always there. People are judging themselves and not just us winter bikers. They can’t see themselves exerting the energy to change their transportation choice. Not in the winter or even in the summer.
I have mentioned Ames Iowa for example as a case of a small town, an educated college town, that typifies residents behavior towards their living place segregating the town from the university and their roads and streets from bike transportation. The cause is insidious as racial segregation is in our culture. People are judging us by what we drive, what we might think is our right to the road. As long as we are packaged in our four wheels and buying into the car centric culture, the lot of us can get by as silent resentful neighbors. Go to a place where there are bike riders, this time of year winter bike riders, to see how normal and open and free the place is.
It could be a night like last Tuesday when over the course of my bike ride home I saw dozens of bike riders and knew we all risked being judged but maybe someone was inspired to think they could do the same. Again, the day is black and time is short for posting, have to get dressed for the “wicked” commute. Boston expression if you need to know. Stay wicked and be safe.