This weekend I lost my bicycle. My beautiful old piece of rusted steel and rubber. It had made countless trips across the city. Floating along, groaning and rattling with the vicissitudes of the road. It stared down speeding motorists and waited for me on street corners in the rain while I was inside enjoying the warmth. It was more than an object that got me from point A to B, it was a symbol.
A symbol of incredible engineering and freedom: of sustainable transportation and good design. To me, it represents a thriving community and healthy living. It wasn’t perfect, it had seen years of rain and the chain would rattle as I rode. This weekend it decided to leave. When I walked outside in the morning it was gone.
Perhaps it wanted a new life, one that wasn’t so demanding: so full of fast downhill descents and grueling uphill battles. Maybe it wanted to cruise along the waterfront and enjoy the scenery or join other roving bikes for midnight meet-ups to celebrate.
Wherever my bike may be, I will miss it. I hope it has found someone else to take it for rides along the hot cement in the summers or to slide along the slick streets of rainy Vancouver winters. I hope its new home is one with oil for the chain when it gets rusty and grease for the bearings. I hope the new owner learns quickly that it skips on the second gear in the front and to take it easy when riding over bumps, as the chain will pop off. I hope they appreciate it as much as I have.
If you ride your metal and rubber contraption, whatever shape or size, don’t forget to look down once in a while and give thanks for the freedom we have. The freedom it provides. Smile while the wind flows through your helmet and cools you down on the hot summer days. Laugh when the rain drenches your skin and clothes on your way to work. Give thanks for your trusty steed and the health and freedom it provides.
In Vancouver we are lucky to have bike pathways and green streets, making biking safer and more accessible. These things come at a cost. We must support our bike infrastructure and green streets; they make the city beautiful and cycling enjoyable. At Uproot, we are proud to support the city in improving its green pathways and divided medians for healthier, happier, more connected biking communities. Support organizations like HUB and BEST (Better Environmentally Sound Transportation) and help make the ride fun, safe, convenient and comfortable.