Monday, December 22, 2008

Bikes Point the Way to a Sustainable Future

From Alternet

Bicycling subcultures signal a sensibility that stands against oil wars, environmental devastation, urban decay and monocultural sprawl.

[In] this bike subculture there's no person who is the best, who is winning, or getting the most money. It's a pretty equal community in that everyone can excel, but not have to be the top dog -- Robin Havens

A funny thing happened during the last decade of the 20th century. Paralleling events that transpired a century earlier, a social movement emerged based on the bicycle. This "movement" is far from a unified force, and unlike the late 19th century bicyclists, this generation does not have to rally around the demand for "good roads." Instead, "chopper" bike clubs, nonprofit do-it-yourself repair shops, monthly Critical Mass rides, organized recreational and quasi-political rides and events, and an explosion of small zines covering every imaginable angle of bicycling and its surrounding culture, have proliferated in most metropolitan areas. Month-long "Bikesummer" festivals have occurred in cities around North America since 1999, galvanizing bicyclists across the spectrum into action and cooperation.

This curious, multifaceted phenomenon constitutes an important arena of autonomous politics. The bicycle has become a cultural signifier that begins to unite people across economic and racial strata. It signals a sensibility that stands against oil wars and the environmental devastation wrought by the oil and chemical industries, the urban decay imposed by cars and highways, the endless monocultural sprawl spreading outward across exurban zones. This new bicycling subculture stands for localism, a more human pace, more face-to-face interaction, hands- on technological self-sufficiency, reuse and recycling, and a healthy urban environment that is friendly to self-propulsion, pleasant smells and sights, and human conviviality. read more here


clintpatty said...

"we run into a neo- Christian moralism that seeks to impose a black and white, good and bad dichotomy, warmly embracing those who shop and ride correctly, and casting the rest of us into a purgatory of illegality and disrespect"

Huh? I'll admit I do have some moralism, but I just adopt the black and white that is already there and imposed by the law. I don't think I really try to impose it on others. I do try to impose safety, though.

Bello Velo said...

I hear it quiet a bit. one that stands out is " you are giving cycling a bad name" strangely this idiocy does not apply to cars or pedestrians. ever hear "that walker is giving people with feet a bad name" or "that driver is giving drivers a bad name. As far as the law goes as long as the roads and lights are timed and built for cars and I am on my bike then I will happily and openly run red lights. As moralism for bikes well thats absurd. Plus most of the laws forego common sense and give the follower a false sense of safety

Think about how you see other cyclists: you $200 italian shoes, $100 helmet, $80 shorts, nice sunglasses ???? I am not even counting how much your bike cost. then take a guy from a different background than yours. he has a beater and no safety equipment. I hear this all of the time" we should give him a ticket for no lights, cite him for not wearing a helmet on and on... you know the script.

so it is neo christian morality applied to a silly bike that gets you from point a to point b.... so you are in reality imposing this whether you care to acknowledge it or not.

The black and white thing does not work either it just sets you up as being right or wrong when there is mostly grey on all of these issues.

I have the book if you would like to borrow it.

inc123 said...

90% of cyclist deaths are the motorists fault, yet in 90% of those cases, NO ACTION is taken against the driver at fault-- no fine, no sentence, no community service, no nothing. (DOT)

clintpatty said...

and how much of that remaining 10% is drunk driving?

clintpatty said...

Sometimes I'll avoid a ride if I think or know most of the people will be disobeying traffic laws. I'm not having allthebetterness when I do that, though. If I choose to go on the ride, they're kind of imposing the law disobeying on me if I want to keep up. When the roads and laws accommodate bicycles, I'll obey the laws. I'm not looking forward to totally separate bicycle infrastructure that does the same thing anytime soon in Alabama. Plus, I'd just assume use the roads instead of build more. Motorists and other cyclists shouldn't have the extra liability of dealing with cyclists breaking laws, but if they do it in a way that doesn't infringe on others, oh well. A motorist causing a wreck due to swerving to miss a cyclist disobeying the law is no good, though.

An the being all high and mighty/holier than thou on using recycled parts is ridiculous. It's good to use them, but they came from somewhere. It's not sustainable for everyone to do that, and I'd rather leave it to the people who can't afford new stuff.