Every Day Acts of Rebellion

It hadn't initially occurred to do a blog, I'm not an expert on cycling or sustainable living, or much of anything else. But two things happened in rapid succession to show me the value of sharing our stories.

The first was seeing the film "Go Further", about the Simple Organic Living tour, which made a huge impression on both my son and I, caused us to reevaluate how we were living, and moved us to recommit to utility cycling.

The second happened while coming home from the grocery store last month, we have been running errands by bike, off and on, for months, so by now traveling with my son on the Trail-A-Bike and our Labrador tethered along side has become old hat for us. This particular trip, in fact, felt like a bit of a "wimp out" to me, as we had ridden to a near by, big-box chain grocery store rather than going the few more miles the co-op or farmers market, because neither of us was feeling very ambitious.

So there we were, on our way home, the basket loaded with groceries, our dog tethered at our side, when we noticed a family walking towards us on the sidewalk with their dog. The very narrow bike lane we were on was immediately adjacent to the narrow sidewalk they were walking on, and past experience riding with our dog had illustrated for me the wisdom of pulling over (we were once chased for a dozen blocks by a little dog baring a remarkable resemblance to Toto, gosh I wish we had pulled over immediately and let the dog's human companion gather him up)

This family was totally blown away --I mean flabbergasted-- at what we were doing. This family never could have imagined, before seeing us, that one could shop by bike, let alone do it with kids and a dog in tow. I had spent my whole life marching and protesting and participating in boycotts and writing my Congress man (you think I'm kidding? Ask my mom, I have been trying to save the world since I was a toddler) and, after all that, it may well be that the most radical and subversive act against the dominant paradigm I have ever done is to make the switch to bikes. Every time my son and I head out to his Taekwon-Do lessons, or on errands, every time I peddle to school, I am putting the truth to the lie that cars are necessary. We are saving money, getting healthy and changing the world in our spare time. Pretty cool.

1 comment:

John said...

I have similar experiences when I ride to a supermarket about 3 miles from my house. This particular store is bordered on two sides by six lanes of high speed traffic, but I found a "secret" route that's bike-friendly. When I arrive in the parking lot on my bike, I always receive startled glances from motorists, who clearly don't expect to see a bicycle in such an auto-centric environment. Sometimes I think they'd be less surprised if I rode up an a unicorn.