Thursday, 26 February 2015

Home is where the heart is.

Know what I love about riding bikes? I love that you can just stop anywhere... ok, almost anywhere, and soak it all in. Here we are, soaking in the beautiful American landmark, Mt Baker, as seen from the Arthur Laing bridge. (Never mind the exhaust we were soaking in at the same time... :-| )


In a car, you can't stop on the bridge deck to check out the planes, trains and automobiles (and distant mountains!) the way you can on two wheels.


On a bike you can stop to take photos of other bridges from mid span, and you can take pictures of bridges from beaches, too.
The Lion's gate from Dundarave in West Vancouver.
They frown on people driving their cars onto the seawall to take photos. See how those trees are already starting to come to life? Some of the many varieties of ornamental cherries are already in bloom, having had the requisite 10 C (that's 50 American) and sunshine for a while now.

Lifted from BikeSnobNYC
Poor snobberdooders was out riding in the snow last weekend, though kudos to him for not letting the weather shut him down. But whilst he was navigating the cold white carpet, we were enjoying a carpet of colourful crocuses crocuci flowers.


The sunshine and early springtime is lovely for us cyclists, but it sucks to be a skier this year. Our mountains and their ski hills are barren of snow. 


Each of Vancouver's three local ski hills is closed for business at the very time of year when they are supposed to be in full swing. It's a far cry from your typical February in Vancouver, that's for sure.

Flickr
It's an even worse season than we had for the 2010 Winter Olympics, when they were trucking snow in from the interior and dropping it on the slopes with helicopters. You've gotta love it. Ha! Yeah, forget Canada. From now on, they're going to have to hold the Winter Olympics in places like Texas, North Carolina, Alabama and Arkensas. Y'know, places where they get actual snow.


I love living on the Pacific for its pacifying effect on the weather systems. Works for me...


Know what else works for me? A city that loves bikes. You've gotta love a place that goes out of its way to get you to tweet #lovebikeyvr! After my last post, somebody had this to say:

It would be wonderful to get rid of the car and bike/walk everywhere. BUUTT... not all of us live in such an urban environment. My home town has been devoured by sprawl to the point that you HAVE to have a car or else ride as much as 3 times the distance just to arive at your destination. Public transport is an afterthought. Cycling here is something reserved for the DUI cases, extreme low income cases, and the eccentric fred types. Maybe thats why our hit and run count is so high. The last time i chased down a car that nearly flattened me, i confronted the driver and was told "yeah well, you never go back for cats and dogs". (Yes i replied that thats the reason i only #@!%'ed his mother once.) You can see the mentality thats created by this environment. Please, be thankful for your city and its virtues. It could be much MUCH worse.

The city of many virtues.

And you KNOW I couldn't leave it alone. I had just read about Surrey, known as "car city," what with its expanding bike lane infrastructure, and their plan to convince more people to ride their bikes. I took a deep breath, put my hand on my hip, got in touch with my inner know-it-all, and replied in earnest, and at length...

You'll find a better photo of this rack here.
Sixty years ago most of your suburban American neighbours felt righteous in actively discriminating against their African-american neighbours, too. Just because they all agree, doesn't mean they're right. 

Of course I am grateful for living in this particular urban center, but it's a chicken and egg sort of thing, isn't it? After all, we wouldn't have a bike friendly city without people who insisted on riding before we had bike lanes. In other words, I am exactly the kind of person who has made this city the bike friendly place that it is. But I have lived and ridden year round in a lot of other places. A. Lot. I started riding full time in Edmonton, Alberta, a city on the same latitude as Moscow, whose primary income is derived from the oil patch - worse, the tarsands. That was decades ago, and even though they have bike lanes now, it is still a place where car is king. I have lived in the suburbs, too, I was in White Rock, BC, before I came here to Vancouver, and before that, I lived in Surrey in the UK. And yes, of course I have encountered people like that asshole who wouldn't stop if he hit someone's beloved pet. I have also lived and cycled almost everywhere I went on island and in rural locations alike, places like Saltspring Island, and North Beach on Haida Gwaii. It isn't always simple, but it is do-able. 

And the thing is, nothing is going to change until normal people like you show the way. My friends in Vancouver's suburb of White Rock were astounded that I should choose to cycle when I could drive, but over time, they noticed the benefits of my lifestyle, and now a few of them ride, too.

In the wise words of the Lorax, "Nothing's going to get better - it's not! - until someone like you cares a whole awful lot."


But the moment someone like you cares a whole awful lot, things do get better, guaranteed, and on the spot. It starts inside, but the goodness grows. Your choices will affect the people around you. Sooner or later, people will see that not only is it possible to make healthy choices, but that it acutally feels good.


Till you find yourself living in a town that loves people who love bikes, because cyclists are accepted as normal, healthy, and sane. (Heh heh. Not that I am often accused of that!) We are still a little way from unconditional acceptance here in Vancouver, what with all of the drivers who hate us, but we're a far cry from the mean streets and fast traffic we cyclists suffered ten years ago, too. It's a work in progress, but at least it's working. 


So here's to progress. Be the change that makes all the difference in your little corner of the world. You'll feel good about yourself as you do it, and you'll be happy with the results (specially the bottom line!) when all is said and done. Change is coming, slowly but surely. Take heart.


23 comments:

  1. Another top babble to start my weekend off with a good read and to motivate be to get my lazy fat arse on my bike tomorrow.
    Of course you're right. It's up to people to get out there on our bikes and show the demand, show it's possible, and show how much more awesome their friends will be when they also start riding.

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    1. motivate "me"... I should proof read "before" I publish... d'oh !

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    2. I rode 60km on the Sir Hubert Opperman bike ride today.
      It was a good day out with some mates. About 25 degrees (C).

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    3. I am green jelly... you guys seem to have an endless summer.

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  2. Second that on the motivation. I have been wondering whether i should call off tomorrows morning ride due to cool weather. Oh and 80% chance of rain. 50° (F) isnt too bad to most of the country but down here in Florida where we dont have the cold weather gear, then throw in the rain to compound things, well... Anyway, i better get some sleep so i can go catch pneumonia in the morning.

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    Replies
    1. UPDATE: 40 miles of soggy cold 20mph singlespeed goodness. No pneumonia yet... probably take a day or two to set in lol

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    2. Awesome! Apparently, exercise helps boost your immune system, so don't hold your breath!

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  3. Babble,

    Great post, as always. It’s all so (disturbingly) interesting. The present era, it’s quite incredibly strange! Developed civilization completely dominated by machines, specifically the automobile. As you have so observantly chronicled…automobile possession and usage have ascended (by maddening unreason) to the level of one of life’s “necessities”, like food and water!!! What an unfortunate catastrophe! “Humans” lived for approximately, what, 100,000 years, independent of mechanized personal transportation. Then, around a hundred years ago, the “automobile” became available to “the masses”. And now? Can’t live without one?! Really? WTF? // Bike riders are like the first little mammals during the Mesozoic Era, surviving among the dominant, giant reptiles. Well, guess what, the dinosaurs became extinct. Time for automobiles to follow suit? Yes, it is.

    Old-timer

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    1. Right?! And if automobile over-use doesn't become history, it seems ever more likely that humanity will.

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  4. Babs ! Great post and I am jealous of your weather. Also, I went to the link to see a better pic of the rack, but all I found was a place to secure one's bike. Was hoping for a better picture of YOUR rack :) Keep the rubber on the road.

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    Replies
    1. lol! It's in here somewhere...

      And thanks. I keep trying!

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  5. il Pirata est Mort2 March 2015 at 07:24

    Been reading "The Emperor's Handbook" (latest translation of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius' "Meditations) and his constant mantra is that "It's up to you".

    Be the change!

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    Replies
    1. So so so true. And the best thing is that change is almost instantaneous once enough of us agree upon the best course of action. It doesn't have to happen at an evolutionary pace.

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  6. I will send you snow. How much do you want. We have enough that I can offer it to you at LOW LOW rates! ;-)

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    1. Lol!! Er, nah, that's alright. I think that the lovely flowers might object. Tough as it is, I think we can suffer through the season without any snow. Sooner or later somebody will adapt a ski with wheels, to keep the winter lovers happy.

      Oh wait. They call that a mountain bike. :-)

      We're good,

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  7. but...they're reopening Cypress Mtn this weekend!! They sent me an email saying they made more snow than in 2010 for the Olympics! hahaha...
    I think they should just open up all the hiking trails, including the Grouse Grind, if they want some winter revenue this year.

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    1. I feel sorry for the little guy. His Christmas present, a snowboard and boots, is sitting lonely and abandoned in the corner of his room.

      But he put a fair few winter miles on the longboard this year.

      I heard that a lot of people were doing the Grind all winter long, open or not.... ?

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  8. We impatiently await new Babbleage hopefully with more leggy pix and stuff !!

    There be warm sun here!

    vsk

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    1. I heard! I sure wish I had a team sponsoring me to ride the Fondon't, so I could come and check out New York in the springtime. I have been at New Years, and in the summer, and loved it both times.

      Lol!! OMG, I was so busy last week that I totally forgot to blog!! Thank you for the reminder. Coupla meetings today, but I will get on it after that. Thank you, too, for thinking of me, Mr VSK. :) xo xo

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    2. No probble Ms. Babble !
      I wish I were a high dollar Wall Street fat cat banker to bankroll the trip. Or at least engage in some fractional jet ownership.
      Alas, I am only a poor corrupt official!

      I hope you are all mended and in fine ass kicking form!

      vsk

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    3. Yep, feeling fine, thanks. Wish I could say the same for my computer. It is in the shop for a bit. Fingers crossed that the man can bring it back to life after it had a hearty drink of beer.

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