First of all, show of hands—how many of you know what gas costs?
I understand it’s more now? I’m not sure, of course. [Added info: Found a different AAA source with more current data and the cost of operating a vehicle is actually over $9,500 a year.]
Why I bike: I am lazy
I also bike because I am lazy. How many of you had to walk to the parking lot to get your car and then drive here, find a parking spot, walk to the building.... Do you hear all that walking?
I pretty much bike point to point. I am so lazy that sometimes I actually take my bike inside. This redefines indoor parking, I believe. My ride to work is also mostly downhill so I coast.
It’s a little counterintuitive but you can bike if you’re lazy.
Why I bike: I am impatient
There are many reasons—my mom might call these character flaws, I think—to bike.
I bike because I’m impatient. I always hated waiting at stoplights. There really isn’t time to finish reading the article before the light changes for one thing; you can’t do your nails. But when I’m on my bike and I get to the stoplight it’s really just a chance to catch my breath.
So I’ve got a new attitude about stoplights: They’re a good thing. I bet you don’t share that.
I also hate one-ways because there’s no point to going like this and like this and like this [gesturing to draw three sides of the block].
I’m also a little bit of a control freak although I thought of titling this “mechanically inept.” And for the men in the room you don’t have to fess up. But when I take my car to the shop and they tell me a lot of things I don’t understand and I have to pay them a lot of money—remember, I’m cheap and I’m impatient—I don’t like that part.
But I can actually fix my own flat on the bike. The technology has actually not changed that much since the Wright Brothers. I get to feel like I’m in control at this point. It’s a great feeling.
These are other reasons—I’m not saying this is about you, it’s about me—
Additional reasons to ride a bike: Low self-esteem
Low self-esteem—or, flip side, big ego—
When I’m pedaling and I feel the wind and I’m making the wind myself because I’m going so fast? Awesome. I’m not going that fast—it’s like 17 miles an hour and you’re going to pass me—but I feel great about it.
Additional reasons to ride a bike: Desperate (but successful!) attempt to appear cool/hip/trend-setting
This one is not about you at all—maybe it’s about me—but if you think about what’s cool right now it is not you in your SUV on the way to Costco to pick up a gallon of ranch dressing and five pounds of Tater Tots. You’re not going to be on the tourism brochure cover or the magazine cover – I think this picture of a zillion cars is the people leaving Cirque du Soleil the other night.
You know what picture there is going to be on the tourism brochure cover, don’t you? This is a total set-up. You know what it takes to be cool.
The only thing missing from this shot is the farmers’ market vegetables. So, you can be hip and cool and urban just by getting on a bike. Who knew it was so simple? I thought it cost a lot more, actually, and shopping at better stores as well.
Additional reasons to ride a bike: Excuse to shop
There are other sorts of character issues. This is an excuse to shop for men as well as women. If you like buying something and then bragging to your friends about how yours is better than theirs biking is totally for you. There’s more than one rider here tonight so I know you know what I’m talking about. Technical fabrics, special food—it’s basically sugar in a pouch but it’s still special food.
You knew I was going to do a little bit of this piece. If you like knowing what’s good for other people and telling them about it, biking is totally your thing.
When people are talking about the problems of the world—it’s air pollution, it’s peak oil, it’s urban sprawl, it’s diabetes and obesity—if you ride a bike you’re not responsible for any of that! How cool is that?
So you can have this— *
Remember when you learned to ride a bike and you had that sense of freedom and "I don’t have to wait for Mom or Dad to get in the car"--which was the limitation in your life at that point—you could ride your bike.
If you have any of these character flaws you don’t have to admit it out loud. Or maybe it’s psychological issues and therapy costs a lot. You could take a little bit of that money and you could ride a bike.
*On the video when I mention skipping it's a reference to the talk earlier that evening by Patty Sanders about the virtues of skipping to make the world a better place. I left it out of this transcript because it only made sense in context at the live event.
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