If you want to live the Bike 5 life, you’re in luck. I’m going to show you just how easy it is to pull this off. Some of you know that Jan and I are going to do this as soon as we get to Ogden. I’ll start off with an overview today and over the next couple of weeks I’ll drill down.
Where to Ride
The short answer to the “where to ride” question is wherever you’re comfortable. I prefer riding on the street to multi-use trails, but I know plenty of people who would rather ride on paths. Either way is fine.
Start by building a map using Google’s MyMaps feature. Here’s mine for our present home in Plainfield IN. The red star is our apartment and the blue shaded area is approximately five miles by bicycle from our front door. All the other icons are grocery stores (6) hardware stores, restauarants, coffee houses, book stores, bike shops, government offices, entertainment venues, parks and other places we visit that are within five miles. There are over thirty businesses we’ve been to in this area, and most are much closer than five miles.
Being a Bike Fiver doesn’t require much in the way of equipment, except for a bike and maybe a helmet. It’s best if your bike can carry some stuff, so a rack or basket is important, too. You’re going to need a lock so that your ride doesn’t get lifted. Beyond that, it’s all optional.
If you haven’t been on a bike in decades, start with something inexpensive. If your town has a bike collective or cooperative like Ogden’s, visit them first. These folks are cyclists and they will do a much better job of matching you to the right bike than the clerk at your local big box store. It will cost you a fraction of what a new bike from your local bike shop costs. You can always visit (and you should) the local bike shop later when you’re ready to splurge.
For a lot of you, this is a big thing…the deal breaker. Only young or poor people ride bikes…or hipster kids…and you’re none of that, right? What would the neighbors think?
Really? The neighbors are swimming in debt up to their necks. They’re overweight. They have 250 channels of TV, watch all of them and still complain that nothing’s on. Do you really care what the neighbor’s think?
I don’t. In fact, I’ve discovered that I sort of like that I’ve gotten the neighbors talking. Every once in a while I see one of them pulling a bicycle out of storage and it makes me smile. I think that maybe, just maybe, I had something to do with that. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I’m not young, I’m not all that poor, and I’m most certainly not hip…not even on my best day.
But I Bike 5. I Bike 5 because I know it’s right on so many levels. I don’t like paying taxes, so why would I rely on a form of transportation (single passenger automobile) that requires the maximum amount of taxes to service? I believe in personal freedom and responsibility, so why would I not choose the form of transit that gets me the furthest under my own power, without compulsory licensing or insurance? I’m anti-war. I don’t want people dying overseas for oil and telling me that it’s about freedom. It’s not about freedom. It’s about oil. Riding a bike is about freedom.
Bike Five is an attitude that recognizes a better way to do things and then goes all in to get them done. It’s about shedding things that don’t work very well and replacing them with other things that work better. That’s what thinking people do. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
So stop making excuses. Do something different. It’s time to find your bike, saddle up and ride. If you need a boost, call write or otherwise get in touch. I’ll respond. I promise. Tell your friends to like the Facebook page. Please. I can’t afford a publicist and wouldn’t hire one even if I could. I have to do this the old fashioned way. I have to beg.
But I will because I’m old and stubborn and cantankerous and can’t go back to the old me. That me is gone. I am a true believer (danger, danger) who has seen what the simplest, most elegant mode of transporation ever devised has done to me and for me and for my life and for just about everyone else it touches. I want it to do that for you, too. You have to help. Please. Other people can talk. Let’s do. Now.