Bike Month is Over. Carry on.

I have two advocacy success stories from Bike Month. May I share?

They were both last weekend, which was Memorial Day Weekend here in America.

“…a cycling enthusiast”

On Sunday, my friend Chuck suggested that we bike to see our mutual friend Matt perform at Bookman’s, a local used bookstore and coffee shop. (Not all of my friends have Websites, but these two do.)

Matt Hall at Bookmans's
Matt Hall being ignored by laptop users. Foreground: My Ridekick

I loaded my Ridekick Powered Bike Trailer with 40 or more pounds of books and DVDs to trade — or try anyway.

Chuck gave me crap for having an electric boost for my ride, so I resisted touching the throttle in solidarity. Resisting the throttle was harder than the pedaling, as it was mostly downhill. (On the way home I exercised no such restraint — because Bookman’s rejected most of my cargo.)

It was the kind of excursion I tend to do on my own, so it was nice to have company. But Chuck wrote about our excursion on his blog, Passion Aggressive, and blamed me for turning him into a “cycling enthusiast:”

People (like me!) leave their cars in the garage and get on bicycles because of Ted. Matt is just as pro-activist, and he is one of the most empathetic and imaginative artists I’ve ever known. Both provide inspiration to me.

An inspiration? Are you serious? I have to say that I have never encouraged Chuck to ride a bike. He just started doing it. On occasion he has read and commented on this blog, but I think it’s more likely that my influence on him is that I ride a bike for transportation, and maybe I make it look easy.

I’m no fitness nut. Chuck knows me as a flawed person with my own motivational issues — yet I still get around on a bike. He probably looked at me and thought, Sheesh! How hard can it be?

Never underestimate the power of backhanded inspiration.

The motivational power of shirking

For my second advocacy success of Bike Month, the credit goes to mostly to my wife.

We started a garden over the weekend, and some long overdue landscaping. Our neighbors may eventually have to stop thinking of us as the hillbillies down the block.

To help with planting and weeding, she recruited her son (my stepson) and a friend.

Soviet Gulag Workers
Helpful teenagers in our yard

A little background: Last Fall, I bought a used bike for my teenage stepson, this Diamondback Sorrento. I fixed it up to the best of my abilities. It’s rideable. The brakes work. My stepson has never used this bike. Not once. I haven’t pressed the issue.

After less than two hours of yardwork on Monday, I encountered my stepson and his friend adjusting the seats on a couple of our bikes, including the Sorrento. They were preparing their escape from manual labor. My wife had given them leave — and money — to go to the store and get sugary drinks.

Hell, I could have run to the store and kept them busy in the yard. I suspected they would be gone for much longer than it should take to go one mile to the store and back. But instead of challenging their motives, I realized that they had accurately seen the bikes as a means of freedom — exactly how I would like them to view cycling.

I just waved and said, “See you in awhile!”

Carry on.

Now that National Bike Month is over, guess what happens next week. It’s Bike to Work Week here in Flagstaff.


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