I'm a zealot. You're a zealot. Sometimes we lose sight of the bigger picture. The bigger picture is this: Not everybody likes to ride a bicycle.This columnist in Oregon passes on his reasons why he doesn't like to bike for transportation.
Riding a bicycle hurts.
Riding a bicycle is hard work.
You get hot and sweaty in the summer.
You get cold and wet in the winter.
Cycling takes too long.
You're too old or too young or too frail to ride a bicycle.
The writer concludes that bicycling has to get easier if we seriously expect people to use a bike for transportation.
"I'm totally in favor of reducing reliance on cars. We need to design and build more compact, walkable cities and neighborhoods so that fewer car trips are necessary. We need, above all, to create public transit systems that are just as comfortable and convenient--if not more so--than car commuting."
* Riding a bicycle hurts. - Hurts what? Get a skinny seat and keep riding and you'll have a skinny seat in no time. Start out slow and ride for short distances until you can ride faster for long distances.
* Riding a bicycle is hard work. - Whatever. See above.
* You get hot and sweaty in the summer. - And that's a problem? I love getting hot and sweaty any time of the year. Biking when it's hot is a great opportunity to wear very, very short shorts and a strapless bra. If you really don't like getting hot or sweaty, then pace yourself and wear technical clothes that pull sweat away from your body.
* You get cold and wet in the winter. - Boo hoo. I love riding in the rain and snow. It smells good, it's an adventure, and I love getting wet and dirty. If you really don't like getting cold or wet, put fenders on your bike, get water-resistant clothes, wear layers, visit the ICE-BIKE web site.
* Cycling takes too long. - So drive there and schedule in time for exercise. My old commute took the same amount of time by bike as it did by car or public transportation. I preferred to spend those 20 miles on my bike in the open air. Even my 6-mile commute takes around the same time as driving. For errands, I often beat cars.
* You're too old or too young or too frail to ride a bicycle. - Too old? Too young? Oh, go have someone dig your grave already. Old and young - aren't those attitudes? Frail - well, get a bent or some other creative mode of transportation that accommodates your frailty. And if you're too old, young, or frail to ride a bike, you are certainly too young, old, or frail to drive. Stay off the road!