Thursday, May 17, 2012

BTW, it's BTWW

The lead paragraph of this morning's Anchorage Daily News story was perfect for Bike to Work Week:

Detours, lane closures and lower speed limits lie ahead for Anchorage drivers. Road construction projects are gearing up across the municipality, from Bird to Ninth Avenue.”

As usual, summer will bring headaches and frustration to people stuck behind steering wheels. The rest of us will be traveling smaller side streets, trails and bike paths, avoiding most of the dust, noise and ugly orange barrels of construction zones.

Every year I consider not mentioning Bike to Work Week on this blog, because it feels like preaching to the choir. The people who come here are already two-wheeled converts. And I get frustrated every year by seeing a flood of bike commuters for five days, then watching their numbers plummet the following Monday.

But I support this national event, because I’m a believer. I’ve proselytized for years about the benefits of bike commuting. And even if most newbies who try it don’t stick with bike commuting, converting even a tiny number is a step in the right direction.

So we should all keep taking the message to the unsaved who question why we pedal to get places. Stories about construction delays and gas prices are like lessons in sin that we can take to the pulpit.

The next time a friend, neighbor or co-worker complains about getting stuck in traffic or running up a credit-card balance at the gas pump, don’t be shy about telling them you don’t really know what it’s like to deal with that every week, because you get along just fine while leaving your car in the driveway most days.

I don't think that riding to work for a day or a week will ever change as many minds as regular, happy people on bikes will. Go ride, and share the fun.


Flyboy said...

Most newbies that try ANYTHING new give up shortly after. As you say, if only a few people get it and stick with it, the effort is worthwhile.

Phil B said...

B2WW is a good thing, agreed. However, I think what does an even better job of getting folks to join the cult is seeing those of us who ride every day, rain, snow, or shine and seeing how happy we look, how energized, and how unstressed.

I think that often times people will see us doing this and think to themselves, "Hmmm...maybe I should give it a try."

Most of them won't keep at it. But some will. I'm still young enough at this bike commuting thing to remember that horrible process of getting to the point where I no longer think about whether I will drive or bike - those cold winter mornings, the aching legs and back, the snot-filled head, the tiredness - all excuses I first used, then had to find a way to work through until now they just don't matter.

This doesn't happen in a week. It won't even happen for most summer bike commute challengers over the course of the summer. But there will always be that small handful who find that the "rebellion" of eschewing the car gives them a little thrill and they'll eventually become preachers for the cause.

Ride on.

Alaska Steve said...

Preach man, preach!

Debbie said...

Am I to understand that you are including yourself in the "regular and happy" subset?

Tim said...

Duh! Yeah! When I'm on a bike!

Cruiser said...

Another enjoyable post to read.......thanks for sharing.