Hooray you sexy readers! A quick post to reflect on how cycling has no barriers nor preconcepts.
Since I started using the bicycle as my main transportation modal, I've definitely observed an increase in cyclists on the streets and roads around the city - a great achievement for Brazil's standards by the way.
The reasons for people to choose the bicycle are many and range from those who can't afford to maintain a car to those who opt for the bicycle because it's healthier and quicker. A relatively improvement on cycling infrastructure might have as well contributed to people's confidence when it comes to hoping on a two wheeler.
On this post I want to reflect about my daily observations while on my rides and talk a little on why I think cycling has no barriers nor preconcepts - I hope you enjoy!
Obs.: Since I free wrote this text, it kinda deviated into a deeper reflection at the end. I would love to read your commentary on the whole societal crazyness we've been living on the past decades.
It's early morning of a Friday when I get on my fully loaded mountain bike and leave behind my flat, I turn left to take a bicycle lane that will lead me to the city's exit. On the sidewalk near the hospital I notice some workers looking with admiration, they are maybe questioning what kind of bicycle is that, strapped with bags and equipment - it's not normal.
While I'm leaving for a trip, many cyclists are going to work, others might as well just be taking advantage of a brand new cycle lane to enjoy the morning breeze for some exercising. While we all have different objectives for that day, we are all using a bicycle. There's no going nuts in traffic nor honking. There's no raging or frustrations to discount on others, results from a heavily sedentary and stressed lifestyle.
My journey continues and I'm now on the roundaboud aiming my two wheeler southward. The relatively safety of a bicycle lane is replaced for a right shoulder of a highway, where cars and trucks are speeding a couple meters from where I am. It might sound dangerous, but as long as there's respect between modals we can surely share the space; it of course doesn't prevent a fatality from occuring, but that would be an out of order event.
This is where the magic occurs, it feels like all the cyclists become one entity, regardless of race, monetary status, sex orientation, fitness level, cycling style, political vision, machism, feminism, ism, ism, or any other separation that is pushed on society.
On the other margin of the highway a roadie (road bicycle cyclist) is carrying on his training, he raises his hand and waves and so do I - we don't know each other. A couple more minutes another one approaches from behind and I hear a "good morning bro" as he goes past me. Further on a big group, someone says "hey cyclo tourist", we all wave. The highway was dominated by roadies it seemed, until I spotted the first cyclo tourist, too sad we couldn't stop to talk to each other. A feminist would say that this is a practice dominated by man, well... ask that to the lovely lady who passed me on a solo trip carrying as much weight as I did. But hey! You are all privilegedged people with fancy equipments says the anti-capitalism... and it might be true, but it doesn't stop us from giving the same good morning to the poor farm worker that is using the same shoulder to cycle his rusty and full of tools commuter. Does that happen in traffic? Or a driver is more prone to honk if someone is driving a slow and rusty car in front of him/her?
On that moment we might be called cyclists, but on those bicycles are humans that are able to respect and admire each other and that's the beauty of the whole thing.
Keep in mind that I don't want to pretend the cyclists are the Holy Grail, the uttermost owners of any public space, the detentors of all rights as some activists loudly shout; there are bad cyclists, there are some that do not respect rules, there are some with bad sportsmanship, there are some that are rude and they are for sure the vast minority. However, this is not the aim of this post.
The moral of this story is that it's sickening seeing Humans more and more divided by the so called 'flags', fighting for their own rights and forgetting that we can all co-exist as Humans, all it takes is a "good morning". If respect, empathy and solidarity can happen within a certain group (cyclists), why can't it happen within a larger group (society)?
Did you like this reflection? I'd love to read your comments down below.
If you liked this post, please, consider leaving your upvote for a hot coffee.
~Love ya all
Disclaimer: The author of this post is a convict broke backpacker, who has travelled more than 10.000 km hitchhiking and more than 3.000 km cycling. Following him may cause severe problems of wanderlust and inquietud. You've been warned.