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Location: 40 dgrs. 48' 26.34" N, 96 dgrs. 40' 05.96" W, United States

Liberal bicycle commuter, political junkie, policy junkie, free thinker, I've got too many titles. All in all I'll leave it with a quote from the late Senator Paul Wellstone of Minn. "Politics is not about big money and power games, it's about the improvment of peoples lives."


April 27, 2006

Naked bike racks and naked community

I've been getting my thoughts in line on this topic for a while and after reading a little one page essay in Newsweek I'm finally motivated. Long story short this lady talks about community, sidewalks, and coddling our children. She mentioned the absolute gridlock at schools with parents picking up their kids from school contrasting that to her youth of everyone walking or riding a bike to and from school.

Something I've noticed for quit a while is the vacant bike racks at our schools. I remember when I was in elementary school we had this huge bike rack. On any particular day there would be at the very least 80 bikes locked up. Now I can ride by that same bike rack and you would be lucky to see 5 bikes. Has society, the media and our parents instilled the fear of god in us that we are going to get hurt or kidnapped if we walk or ride to school? My old elementary school is 5 blocks away from my parents house and if I happen to go by there when school is getting out there are all of these god damn mini vans jockeying for position so precious does not have to walk 10 feet more. I kid you not it's absolute chaos, is your child sooo frick'n weak or are you so frick'n worried that precious might just be "put out" a tid bit? The worst part of it I think is the fact that all the automobiles are mini vans (only in America.) I won't take credit for this I saw it on a sticker once but it said "mini vans are tangible evidence of evil." Well said I think.

I have a school directly behind my house my back yard backs onto it. It's absolutely criminal that my neighbors who live only a few houses from me DRIVE precious to school. Not just one neighbor but several... and they are all in mini vans aggggh.

I'm going to be purposefully vague here but I know someone who deals with many young adults and that person says it is totally amazing how now days young adults are totally unable to manage, they are unable to conduct their life on a day to day basis. Maybe being coddled to no end as a child has something to do with it???? When I was growing up my life was easy, I'm not saying I had to kill for my own food. What I am saying is this, my parents taught me how to be independent and adapt to changing conditions. A guy I work with puts it sooo perfectly... "Improvise and adapt." At a very young age these days we are taught that adaptation and improvising is not needed. I think it's sad that bike racks aren't full, I think it's sad that zillions of kids aren't walking and greeting the neighbors. I think the saddest thing is the loss of community and neighborhood closeness.

Cycling Nomad of Truth... out

Comments on "Naked bike racks and naked community"


Blogger budda43 said ... (4/28/2006 8:08 AM) : 

Thanks for the post Mike. I never really thought about this yet but it is a good point.

How is my son (plus one on the way) going to get to and from school?

I don't think I would like for him to walk or ride a bike alone, their really are too many whackos nowadays. But I think it would be really fun and amazing to walk/ride with him to school everyday.

I could even take a break in the afternoon to ride home with him. I don't think this is coddling but it may be. I just don't trust the world anymore and I would NEVER forgive myself should something happen to him out there.


Blogger Bicycle Commuter Mike said ... (4/28/2006 9:23 AM) : 

Walking or riding a bike to school with your kid is certainly not coddling, it's called family, community and quality time.

I did a little searching around and it seems as though there really are no more wackos now than there were 20 years ago when I was young. I'm a firm believer that it's society that has instilled this idea of fear in us.

Of course how could a parent ever not feel guilty if something happened to their child, I understand that of course. I just feel that there are certain risks in daily life and to try and insolate a child from all risks just isn't a reality.

I remember when I use to walk or ride home from school all the neighbors along the way were always outside hanging around, a kidnapping would not have happened in my neighborhood, it could not have happened. Which brings up a thought, next time I will notice if adults are out in their yards and drives watching the kids.

My only thought is this, there is a certain amount of "needing to cut the leash" even if there are some outside risks involved, I think that it helps with development.

Budda, have a great day!


Blogger Nathan said ... (5/03/2006 1:25 PM) : 

Right - there aren't more wackos but there are less witnesses.

- Why do people drive their kids to school? Because it's too dangerous to walk/bike.
- Why is it too dangerous to walk/bike? Street crime, dangerous roads.
- Why are the roads dangerous? Too many drivers.
- Why are there too many drivers? Because people drive everywhere but, at these times of day, especially because everyone is driving their kids.
- Why is there so much street crime? Because there's no sense of community.
- Why is there no sense of community? Because people drive everywhere.


Blogger Bicycle Commuter Mike said ... (5/03/2006 4:43 PM) : 

Nathan would that be the definition of say... "vicious circle?"

Have a great day!



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