After weeks of snowless January and February in the Midwest, winter arrived last night just like the weather people said it would. No problemo. It was just a little snow and the fatter knobbies on my hardtail handled the slippery roads and trails just fine.
While I was out, I noticed that I wasn’t alone. In spite of the temperature (20 degrees), the howling wind (20 mph out of the northwest) and the bleak, gray skies; there were other Bike 5’ers out on the roads of Plainfield Indiana, the Indianapolis suburb I currently call home. This is new. This is different. This is cool…very cool.
Things are changing ever so slowly across suburban America. You might not notice if this isn’t on your radar like it’s on mine. Ten years ago, I couldn’t have imagined that employees would be riding bicycles to work at suburban restaurants and stores, but then the price of gasoline started rising and eventually peaked at over $4.00 here. When gas prices were high, employee bicycles were everywhere.
As prices came back down, people began driving again but not all people. Some have stuck with the bicycle. Maybe it’s to save money, but maybe it’s for some other reason. Maybe it’s because they figured out that it’s sometimes easier to get where you’re going on a bike than it is in a car. I don’t know. I’d like to ask them.
Regardless, it doesn’t much matter why they’re doing it as much as it matters that they’re doing it and they’re doing it in significant and growing numbers. Things are changing right before our eyes. There’s nothing more beautiful in my mind than an employee bicycle chained to a light post among acres of big box parking deep in the heart of suburbia. It’s a bold statement, something akin to a fist thrust into the air that says this is who I am. I never get tired of seeing it.