To be, or not to be! Is that the question?
It’s not the question for me. My burning, recurring question is, “Should I cycle or… drive my car?”
I’m usually about 30 minutes away from some business meeting or something and trying to make the decision if I’ll make it there alive/in one piece if I actually ride my bike. Getting sweaty is never a concern for me as I LOVE to sweat!
This evening I had a class in the Exchange District. It’s only a five kilometer ride and it’s almost one straight line to get there by bike. The problem, however, is that I need to ride straight down Osborne Street in Winnipeg to get there. Osborne is notoriously bad for cyclists since there usually is congested traffic AND there is no bike lane.
I’m committed to getting exercise every day AND I also love the idea of saving the environment by choosing to cycle more. I’ve been a city cyclist since 2001, when an old friend insisted that I get a bike and learn to ride in the city. I used to rely on my bike(s) as my primary mode of transportation, but that was when I lived in Ottawa and Toronto.
Since coming to Winnipeg in 2011, I’ve purchased my first car. I tried being a full-time cyclist at first, but it just wasn’t feasible. This city is dangerous and scary for cyclists. It constantly feels like a WAR of two worlds.
I decided, in the end, to ride my red vintage bike to my class in the Exchange District. I am selling my bike soon and wanted to enjoy riding around in a nice dress with the sun on my bare arms. Cycling is great for your body but I think it’s even better for your mind. After I’m riding for a few minutes, my blood is circulating well and I’m feeling happy and as light as a feather. I feel like I’m seven years old again.
The weather was so lovely that after my class ended, I decided to ride on some bike trails along the water, through the Forks, and along the rapid transit way in the south Osborne area. It was a meandering path, and it worked because I wasn’t in a rush to get anywhere. It was peaceful, as hardly anyone uses those paths and I can sing to myself, “dance” on my bike while listening to music, and generally feel on top of the world.
The thing I was thinking, as I rode past another cyclist, was how great it would be if cities could somehow find the money to give every person one bike that works for them. The people would be encouraged to ride bikes because: (1) the bikes are free, (2) we would install protected bike lanes that get people safely from point A to point B, and (3) we would also install bike racks to the front of every single public transit bus so if you get tired, you can just put your bike onto the front of the bus. You would also get a cheap or free bus pass.
Perhaps the money for the bikes and bus passes could come from putting higher taxes on cars, especially commuters who don’t carpool. Perhaps we could add some road tolls onto our busy streets for personal motor vehicles.
I kind of look forward to the end of fossil fuel, it’s kind of a sick thought, but I like the idea of everyone having to be forced into using their bikes. I feel like they would then realize they’ve been shortchanged by following this lie that we all need to drive our cars everywhere.