Okay, friends, I’ve got to start this post with a shout out to our brothers and sisters in the Bahamas. We are neighbors and we need to act like it. They got their asses kicked by Dorian and they are going to need some help. I believe that photographers, and cyclists, are leaders not followers and this is our chance to prove it. So, before you go any further, think about making a donation. My father gave to the Red Cross for his entire adult life, and I am continuing with a donation today. Take a second and think about what it could mean. (If you do this let me know if you get a confirmation email. I never got one….)
This week I find myself in Maine. This is a yearly pilgrimage for us, but this is the first time we did not rent a car. We took a taxi from the airport, which was costly, but we are still going to save hundreds of dollars by not renting a vehicle. Instead, we borrowed bicycles. And we didn’t borrow brand new bikes, or fast bikes or beautiful bikes per se, we borrowed solid steel, older mountain bikes which oddly enough are perfect for our needs.
I believe bicycles have been oddly positioned by some of the activist organizations as a way of “saving the planet.” I honestly don’t think most people care. (I called two non-riders and asked if they saw bikes in this light. Both said “I never put those two things together, and if even if I did I don’t really care about that.”) I think most Americans are focused on other things. When you look at American energy consumption, food waste, financial and corporate crime, and rampant consumerism it is difficult to NOT stamp our culture with the “G” word. Greed.(This also applies to many other countries.)
Not like we don’t do good things, we do, but the trend seems to be wavering toward excess. Look at me, I flew across nearly the entire country just to vacation. Would the world be a cleaner, healthier place with all of us on bikes? Yes, for sure. But let’s take small steps with a healthy dose of reality first.
I really thought not having a car here would limit my experience, but not only has it not limited us, even with wind and inclement weather, but it has also made me appreciate what’s possible and how EASY it is to ride where I need to go.
Maine isn’t big on wide shoulders but drivers are cool because there are A LOT of cyclists here. And the speed limits are low. I’ve never felt at risk even on narrow roads with heavy equipment passing relatively close. Maine, like a lot of other states, has a real chance to rebuild with alternative transport in mind. Time will tell if it happens. My guess is Maine, and many other states and cities, are just not there yet. Ask Manhattan. But this is okay. Like most interesting endeavors, like most new ways of thinking, we have to start somewhere. We chose to start in Maine.