Monday, May 23, 2005

The Bike and The Bus

The Bike: I like to ride, a bunch. An ideal week for me would include 7 hours of cycling. Most often these 7 hours happen 1 hour at a time, either in the early morning or during lunch. Once, maybe twice a week I can fit in a 2 to 3 hour ride. The bicycle is an obvious choice then for alternative transportation. Get ready for a lot of talk about riding bicycles.

The Bus: this city has taken a progressive step. For the first time ever, busses will be equipped with bike carriers on the front of the bus. This is one of many inspirations for this summer experiment, and realistically makes the experiment possible at all. Users of these carriers must be trained prior to use. Last Friday, as part of National Bike To Work Day, I took the time to “earn” the card that certifies me as a trained user.

I can’t talk about busses without mentioning two other inspirations for my experiment. TransitLibrarian is a bus driver in Minneapolis who also happens to be a very good friend of mine. KassieChurch is a friend of TransitLibrarian. I began reading her blog while they were in a dating sort of way. She and I share many of the same views, and she also happens to rely on mass transit for most of her transportation needs.

But this isn’t Minneapolis. It isn’t even close to Minneapolis. People here don’t ride their bikes for utility. People here don’t ride the bus either. People here drive. One of the first things I think when I see someone riding to work is “suspended license.” One of the first things I think when I see someone getting off the bus is “disabled, unable to drive.” I’m going to immerse myself into that world and see if it’s true.

2 comments:

Jim said...

Hey, CJ/TL clued me into your site. I like your experiment. I'm doing roughly the same thing. I started biking last June, sold my pickup in September, and am now a bicycling fanatic. It was a great change for me, and I'll never feel the same about driving again. Best of luck.

Anonymous said...

After my wife and divorced, I gave her the car and decided not to replace it. For several years now, I've survived through bike, bus, walking, and car rentals. You're right though, people just assume that I lost my license and my job (otherwise, I'd buy a car). It's not an experiment for me anymore, but a lifestyle but out here in the midwest, most people don't get it. Conservatives regard taking the bus as evidence of moral failings on my part, and fellow liberals are willing to praise bus/bike as environmental politics in action but aren't willing to actually take the bus. I love the site, but the question "can you survive without a car on the northern plains" sets out the great problem of our current mindset.