Saturday, November 22, 2014

On Bikeyness - A Rantwick Manifesto

Being someone who reads and writes about cycling, (particularly transportational cycling) quite a bit, I have been drawn into and yet felt an aversion for bikey lobby stuff for years. I have come to a few conclusions about myself that aren't very flattering.

I am sick and tired of trying to care about whether any more people ride bikes. I ride a bike because I love the feeling. Many others ride bikes for all kinds of reasons, some just like mine, others not so much. Beyond a generally buoyant "the more the merrier" kind of feeling, I don't care about drawing anyone else to the activity, despite the societal boons associated with it.

People will take up cycling or they won't, depending on fashions, fads, gas prices, whatever. It really doesn't matter much to me; I will be riding regardless and loving almost every moment. What follows is what I think is currently true about me. I would love to hear from you about any or all of it.

RANTWICK ' S Bikey Manifesto

I will be riding whether there are bike lanes or tracks or paths or not.

I will be riding no matter what the current price of gas is.

I like seeing others on bikes. Their choices in terms of clothing or bicycle or style or purpose are irrelevant. I'm just pleased to see them.

I believe that most (but certainly not all) cyclist fatalities and injuries are the result of errors in judgement, lack of understanding or intentional risk-taking on the part of the cyclist.

I enjoy driving and cars and combustion engines very much. I sometimes drive faster than I should.

I think every driver of a motor vehicle (as part of the licensing process) should have to sit on a stationary bicycle and be overtaken at 60 km/h by 3 cars, one at 3 feet away, one at 2 feet away and one just 1 foot away from their handle bars.

I will not hesitate to annoy or even anger motorists with my riding when my safety on the road is at stake.

I will endeavour not to impede other road users to the best of my ability. If I am willing to cause others to lose a little time to keep myself safe, I should also be willing to lose a little of my own sometimes in the interest of keeping everybody else safe and moving well.

I believe that moving away from our current "culture of speed" will benefit us all and that it will happen someday. However, I have little faith that I will see much of a shift in my lifetime.

I don't care what my City is doing (or not doing) about bike infra. Just give me smooth pavement and I will take care of the rest.

I resent motorists who believe their speed/convenience trumps mine. I also resent the many people on bikes who make all other cyclists look bad by doing stupid  things. I have no illusions about these types of people ever going away.

Yer Pal,

Friday, November 21, 2014

Once A Snow Face...

Hey, remember snow face? He isn't a puppy anymore, but his early love of snow certainly hasn't waned...

I've been enjoying the snow too and have been riding the new bike with the studded tires on. We are getting along very well, and so far the Nexus 8 IGH has been performing just fine, even at -10C. Enjoy your weekend, snowy or not!

Yer Pal,

Monday, November 17, 2014

Lost In Translation

I've never been much of a picture guy. That is to say, while I obviously like sharing pictures and video, I have always preferred to fully immerse myself in the nice things I see and do rather than distract myself with taking photos of them. For this reason, leaving a video camera running on my helmet is perfect, since it is passive and requires nothing from me while it is running. I get to capture stuff and immerse myself in the good moments. This approach, however, is not without its shortcomings.

Today was the first day in London Ontario when some snow accumulated and stayed. The bike path along the river was beautiful on my way in to work, with snow seeming to top even the most delicate of branches. It was like riding through a poem.

Eager to share how great it all was, I brought up the video a few moments ago, hoping to grab a snippet or a still image that might show why I was so blissed out.

What I saw however, was a grey wet snowy morning from a bicyclist's point of view. The trees looked nice, sure, but the grey sky and slushy sounds made it all seem kind of cold and miserable. My reality in the ride was anything but; I was warm and comfortable and having a wonderful time, on my way to work of all things!

I probably won't change my approach, but I'm gaining an even greater respect for all the careful photographers out there. You are trying to capture things such that you convey as much of their wonder and beauty as possible... thanks for that. This morning I wish I had stopped to try and do the same, since so much was lost in translation.

The Snow Has Arrived! Yay!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Somebody Just Said It

I've known something for quite a while. Recently somebody took one look at me on the bike and just said it:

Yer Pal,