Saturday, June 09, 2018
My Online TED Talk Bike Coaches
This spring I got the bike out of the shed, filled the tires with air, got everything operational, but I found that I have just fallen out of the bike riding habit over the winter. Whatever my good intentions, I could not get myself to ride. The car is just too convenient. Weeks turned into months, and still I was taking the car every time.
The kicker was this election day, where I turned up at the polls three times, once for each member of our household. The voting station is a mere one kilometre drive from our house, but still I had to drive each family member there and back. Our shed is full of bicycles that have not been used for years. Clearly, something had to be done to save myself, if not my family, so when Kornelius came over last night, together we watched the TED talks of bicycle advocates, one after the next. It worked, I accompanied him on his trip home to the edge of town on my bike.
Anyways, if you need similar prompting, here is a summary of what we saw, which is only a small part of what seems to be available at ted.com.
One bike activist talks about how the bicycle cured him of Crohn's Disease, and how the twin cities where he lives exemplify how bike planning makes one of them a paradise, and the other highway hell. Another fellow, in Copenhagen, founded a group called Bicycles Without Age, which takes out the inmates of nursing homes, AKA long term care facilities, for excursions in electric assist rickshaws, powered by young volunteers. This gives the oldsters a chance to feel the wind in their hair while riding a bicycle through their old stomping grounds while sharing their experience with a young person.
In another video, a coach for professional bike racers laments his inability to bicycle because he is constantly travelling with the team, going to events like the Tour de France. He demonstrates his solution, a nifty folding bike that breaks down into a suitcase, which in turn folds out into a trailer that holds his other suitcase -- which must save him a great deal in taxi fare to and from the airport and hotels.
Another talk is a how-to on finding low budget adventure travelling on a bicycle camping tour. He used a "tall bicycle," a contraption that I would call a double decker bike. Everywhere he goes, he is asked, "How do you get down off that thing?" His wheels are so outrageous, he found, that they worked to his advantage as he voyaged his way across desert and mountains. Drivers were so surprised to see it in traffic that they gave him a wide berth, and fellow travellers were happy to supply him with whatever he wrote on a whiteboard sign, including food and lodging, so much so that he rarely had to use his tent and sleeping bag.
Other talks emphasized the many health benefits of biking. Many who take up biking literally are enabled to throw away their pills. The advantages are especially well documented for commuters, who arrive at work happier, stronger and more relaxed than those who come and go by motorized vehicles. After all that inspiration, how could I not get out on my bicycle?