It has been made apparent to me lately that writing about anything approaching advocacy or discussing problems just isn’t that sexy when compared to basking in the glow of how awesome cycling is. And it is awesome, obviously. That makes total sense, on one hand, but then, bad news is infinitely more powerful than good, so then it doesn’t make so much sense…
Anyway, while I still enjoy and feel it necessary to engage with the problems of, and barriers to, cycling – ideally in a productive, positive way – I think I’ll make more of an effort to even the score a bit and make with the happy more often.
Therefore, below is a video about Chile. It has no words, but speaks volumes about what an amazing place it is. Really, it’s a video about Chile rather than bikes, strictly speaking, but the main mode of transportation used for the video was, indeed, the best way to see a place: on a bicycle.
What I was thinking about, specifically, was connection. A bike offers a connection to a place like no other mode of transportation. Walking is similar, of course, but you don’t get the same impact of a place when you see it change in front of you as you cover many miles between sunrise and sunset. Like cycling, walking puts you right there, at the feet of whatever it is that you are witnessing, but it’s one speed. You can’t skip the boring parts, nor can you just see where that other road takes you because, on foot, it will take too long. You can still stop anywhere you like when cycling and go as slow as you want to. Cycling doesn’t cost you any of your experience like a car, train, or aircraft does. You can still smell the scents, feel the ground under your feet (ok, tyres, but close enough), and feel the wind across your face.
Not only are you connected to your surroundings, but you are directly involved with the effort required to move yourself from one place to the next. There is something inherently pleasurable about getting somewhere by your own strength, the more so as the effort increases.
Cycling offers a connection to a place that at worst, equals walking, and no other form of transportation can match. …except maybe horses. But then you’d have to feed and water them, keep them somewhere, and riding a horse for 10 hours a day is, I would imagine, somewhat less comfortable than cycling? Nope. Not even horses are a match for the humble bicycle.
I’m going to call it – cycling is the best way to get around, and to me, the video below reminds me of how beautiful this world is, whether it is the wild landscape Chile or the space between your home and your work, and how wonderful it is that we can make our way through it, take it all in, and find a connection with it atop the magnificently humble and universally accessible people mover – the bicycle.
Header image: The Sticky Bidon