Choosing to Ride
I was very concerned about the letter in the last Tube Times that referred to cars and drivers as our "enemies." I think that kind of black and white thinking can be extremely dangerous and simplistic, and I am glad that the SFBC does not seem to approach transportation issues from that perspective. If we began to subscribe to that narrow viewpoint, we would automatically lose a large share of our membership base because many members both ride and drive.
At age 51, I'm now in that category. It was great being a biker-only for 20 years, but now I'm glad to occasionally use my car. I try to use it seldom and responsibly, and I think that's the point. Cars are tools - highly overused and often destructive ones in our culture - but I could not in good conscience support advocating getting rid of all cars. Thank God for trucks that deliver goods, taxis that deliver old folks to their doctors when they are sick, and ambulances that may be the difference between life and death.
I choose to ride my bike for exercise, transportation, and yearly foreign travel, and I hope that I will never be viewed as the "enemy" for occasionally choosing a car. I also don't think that sort of us vs. them attitude will be very healthy for us as cyclists. I don't want drivers gunning for us as their "enemies" - that attitude can be physically as well as mentally and politically dangerous for us!
I hope the SFBC will continue to work with the mainstream "powers that be" to widen the opportunities for safe riding in San Francisco and promote bicycle use so that more and more people will change their choice of transportation tools - from the car to the bike. Keep up the good work!
Size Doesn't Matter
I enjoyed Mathew Honan's piece in last month's Tube Times on how cycling improved his health, and I'm sure he didn't mean to imply that fat is de facto unfit. While many people - often beneficiaries of the hugely profitable diet industry - would have us believe that even a few extra pounds is tantamount to a death wish, many fat folks enjoy perfectly normal cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure levels as well as enviable levels of fitness. Correspondingly, we don't have to look far to find thin people with joint problems, heart disease, diabetes, or strokes. Perhaps we could say that cycling makes you feel great and improves your well-being whatever size you may be.
Thanks All Around
I just want to let you all know how much I appreciate all of your efforts to make SF a better place for biking. I moved to the city five years ago. I have always been a biker, but I lived here for a year before I built up enough confidence to try riding my bike on the streets of San Francisco. In my first year biking I discovered the SFBC and a new sense of power on the streets. Over the past four years I have been amazed at the progress you have made, both in the physical improvements, including bike lanes, increased signage and bike parking, as well as the effects your educational efforts have had on the attitudes of both bikers and motorists for sharing the road. I am very proud to be a member of the SFBC!
Thanks Christine. I agree that the SFBC has helped bring tremendous improvements for bicyclists on city streets - and in the way transportation decisions are made in the city. But it's really you and your fellow members we should be thanking. Your commitment and energy are what make the SFBC so effective. Thank you for your part in this Velorution! -Ed.
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