Recently I have had to trade my bike for a different mode of transportation - at least partial transportation. They certainly are not as fun, but this form of transit has provided me with a lot of food for thought.
This is the first time in my life I have had to use crutches and I have found the behavior of others quite interesting. I am slow, clunky, and inconvenience people while using public transit - but they accept it. Not only do most people accept my presence, they willingly inconvenience themselves for me and exercise high levels of patience.
What I find interesting is that not a single person asks why I am using crutches. They treat me kindly, but who knows, I could have hurt myself . . .
I did not injure myself inflicting harm on human or animal kind, but I find the juxtaposition between the treatment on my crutches and the treatment on my bicycle fascinating.
When on my bike I often treated like a criminal. I am robbing people in cars of precious seconds. Seconds most likely not spent with loved ones or on helping human or animal kind, but spent on the isles of big box grocery stores, fast food restaurants, or couches placed in front of television sets. I am honked at, yelled at, swerved at, have had things thrown at me, and am an object of utter disdain. The ironic thing is, as a cyclist I -
These are but a few of the possible benefits, but my point is that when on crutches people give you the benefit of the doubt, but on a bike all bets are off - I am often treated like public enemy number one. Humans are such interesting creatures. This Walt Disney cartoon, made over 60 years ago, sums up what happens to people when they get into a car.
Even though people treat me better while on crutches, I can't wait to get back on two wheels.
When in the Brussels train station, I noticed a charging station that was a bit different than what I normally see in mass transit hubs. There were three seats and you could plug in your device and pedal to provide power. Not a bad concept, especially considering the menus in most airports, train stations, and bus stations.
One reason for my recent hiatus was to visit foreign lands . . . strange lands . . . maybe even bizarro lands. There is this place I visited, and I am not sure if it was a dream or not, called Amsterdam. It was strange in many ways, but the most strange thing of all is that there were more bikes than cars. What cars there were respected the cyclists and did not go into a violent horn infused rage when they had to wait for more than few seconds or even follow behind cyclists for lengthy periods of time.
It was a place where small humans slept in cargo bikes while their parents shopped.
A place where bike parking took on a whole new meaning.
A place where tricycles are for adults.
A place where "baby on board" has a different twist.
And where buying a soft top convertible means something different.
And where it's hard to tell what century you are actually in.
Lots more photos from other places near and far to come. Thanks to those who have emailed and been patient during the past few months - I have been on the run and my email has backed up. I will try to catch up with the backlog the best I am able.
We have featured many haiku contests on this blog, and reader Yvonne emailed us and wrote the following:
I enjoy your blog! I think bike commuters need more than haikus. I think we need epic poetry, like the Norse Sagas or Beowulf to celebrate our sometimes heroic efforts to get to work. I wrote this to celebrate my first bike commute after a long illness. (The ATL is where I work.)
Here is her effort, and a picture of her steed to match . . . thanks Yvonne.
A gray sky ceiling shrouded Cambridge
When ATL staffer starting sure-footed
Cycled downhill (and walked the cycle
Up slopes seeming tall as mountains).
Sidewalks succored her fatigued figure
After grimly grinding into the granny gears
Of her brave bike newly burnished but
Unable to crest the seeming cliffs of
Uphill riding onto campus.
Prudently swerving plentiful potholes
Rerouting around road construction. She
Many times damned Boston drivers
And the havoc-wreaking Hades of backhoes
Digging huge holes on Huron Ave.
As we announced in October, in collaboration with the folks responsible for the Walletforphone products, we are giving away several of their products for readers to review. Many people submitted their name for consideration and I am happy to publish the names of those who were randomly selected to receive a free product. First up, those who were selected for the bike mount.
Arm mount recipients are -
We received an email from a student asking for help to determine the viability of a bike product as part of a class project. The product would assist cyclists in carrying stuff on a bike. The academic project requires some survey information and we were asked if we could help the project receive the necessary feedback to determine product viability.
I completed the survey in less than 5 minutes. The proposed concept looks pretty cool and is something I would be interested in seeing produced. So, if you can spare a few minutes, click here to complete the survey and help some enterprising students out.
Okay, I'll admit it, a cool part of running this site is getting stuff. I am thankful to all those who send me physical stuff to review, and I am also thankful to all the readers who submit their hacks for posting.
The most recent package I received was from the kind folks at sugru. I actually wrote about sugru in the past, but have never used it. Actually, I still haven't, and that's where I want some help from readers. What should I do with this stuff? I can't really think of a direct need I have right now. They sent me two packs to play with -
So readers, pass along your ideas in comments. What should I do? Actually, what should anyone do with it? What have you done with it? I have not proposed a giveaway of any sort with the sugru folks, but if I see some good ideas in comments maybe I can try to twist their arms to giveaway some samples to BikeHacks readers as well.