Wednesday, August 26, 2009

mama needs a new bike

Madsen Cycles Cargo Bikes

So this is a bit venal, but I haven't had a new bike since college and this one would let me bike Everett to school in style!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

just one less car?

Originally uploaded by Zlatko Unger
I always thought of Critical Mass in terms of cars for some reason -- how they felt about it, how they'd react, how this could make them more aware of people on bikes. It wasn't until Friday, my first CM, that I realized -- Critical Mass is about bikes. (I'm pretty sharp for an old person, if you hadn't noticed.)

Gliding through a tunnel beneath the interstate, we whooped and hollered, sounding like a siren that lasted for miles and miles --
the city was on fire and could only be put out with water bottles, and the kind of joy you leave behind in childhood
I took off my helmet and tossed wisdom into the wind
It twisted my hair into knots and blew out any trace of the day
People on streetcorners called out to ask what we were doing
Riding bikes, dammit! Riding bikes...


Imprecise collection of commentary heard on bikes this month:
-- Can I ride? and Lemme have your ride...
-- If I rode a bike like that, I'd be in that ambulance up there, bless your heart...
-- F*#% you" and variations on that theme...
-- Be careful -- there's some crazy drivers out there
-- One rock, tossed.
-- One teen, charging at.
-- (from a stopped mercedes) I love your shirt, good for you! (on my One Less Car tshirt)
-- Get your white asses out of the neighborhood (twice from the same kid trying to impress his date. he ducked when I turned to look at him, so he probably either lives on our street or has seen me around before)
-- get on the sidewalk
-- you ride that bike like it's a car. I've never seen a bike stop at a red light before. I'm not being negative, I think it's great!
-- a honk, a swerve, and a mouth full of exhaust
totals: about 60% negative, 30% positive, 10% neutral or just plain strange

Friday, June 29, 2007

shades of green

I'm struck by how easy it is to sneer at people who dare to think they might be able to, in the language of the college essay, make a difference. I've made my share of patchouli jokes too, so I'm not immune, but the press around the U.S. social forum has got me thinking about what function it might serve.

(*AJC article describing the march kicking off the first ever U.S. Social Forum, held in Atlanta, here.)

At dinner last night, mentioning I'd been at the social forum, my brother smirked "yeah, I'm headed down there tomorrow to sell some soap I made from organic compost. I wanted to go today, but my hemp pants were at the dry cleaners..." He is the funny one in the family.

Since Slim and I started talking about things we are doing, and want to do, people have been labeling us. Nice words, nothing mean, but labels function to create differences.

Yes, I like trees, but who doesn't? I like clean air, too -- does that make me a fringe dweller? I also like: good food, not having to sit in traffic just to see my family, listening to the birds, and walking my dog in the woods. How odd can I get? Calling me a tree-hugger seems to let people escape our mutual responsibilities.

I'm just trying to make up for all the people driving Hummers, or air conditioning 5,000 square homes. I've accepted that your actions affect my health and well-being, just as mine affect yours. Slim and I are far from the greenest people I know. We're just trying to be more consistent. We care about something, so we try to do something about it. Simple.

Does the obligatory sneer help you avoid taking action, however small? The world is changing all around you. The question is, what are you going to do about it?

P.S. Jim Wooten, our rain barrel cost us $12.95 and we are saving a bundle on our water bill.