Odes to Joy
Dave Snyder's essay celebrating "The power and joy of an oil-free commute" (April/May) was most welcome-particularly his evocation of Ivan Illich. Too many of us know Illich's classic "Energy and Equity" only by its aphorism that cars only travel 5 mph when all the time costs are counted. The full essay goes much deeper, explaining how motorized transport enforces itself on everyone by expanding distances and thereby devaluing and destroying what is near and vernacular.
"The road to productive social relations," Illich wrote, "must be traveled at the speed of a bicycle." Bravo to Dave and the SFBC for again pointing the way.
I like to make an effort to commend anyone who mentions the overworked and badly abused word "joy" in connection with bicycling. The surrounding culture associates this word with new and improved beer, new and improved dishwashing liquid, new and improved anti-flatulents, and with just about anything automotive. But, after five years of bicycle commuting, my perspective is that "joy" is the feeling of being self-propelled, and I'm glad to see that your publication is encouraging riders of all ages, and all abilities, and stressing the role of the bicycle as a transportation option, rather than an exercise machine.
Thanks for the copy of the newsletter and the excellent map. My wife and I are looking forward to some two-wheeled adventures when we visit San Francisco in May. Keep up the good work.
Nate Briggs (Salt Lake City)
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