Sunday, June 11, 2006

A bicycle built for me

Down Memory Lane
Kathmandu, Nepal
(sorry, photos are still not uploading. there is supposed to be a charming photo of an old man with a turban, a goat, and a bike here.)

So many people ride bicycles here in Asia, not to mention the bicycle rickshaws aplenty. Even the milk is still delivered here in big metal cannisters, from the backs of bikes. Often the milk-bikes are so heavy that they guy can't really ride, he just pushes the bike. In early morning I lie in bed listening to their bells chiming down the lane.

Few of these bike riders are pedaling for their health. Rather, they consider themselves impoverished because they are not driving either a motor scooter, or a car. I am reminded of college days in Tennessee.

I went to college (the second time) in a small town, Murfreesboro, which was, unlike most of America, perfect for a bike. There was no way I could afford a car so bought a 10 speed bike at a yard sale for $25. I rode this bike EVERYWHERE, including in the freezing winter, to the grocery store too. Once a week I had to buy heavy things like milk and drinking water, so I had to find a ride in a car. Otherwise I rode the bike everywhere. I loved it! I was like a hero to the guys at the bike shop.

However, the car-driving commuters (ie, everyone else in town) hated it. They have this idea that bikes are dangerous (because they are not cars) and somehow feel that bikes take up too much room (!) - room that they feel rightfully belongs to cars. They would honk, hoot and all but throw things.

I considerd getting a sticker, or sign, or a t-shirt back that said "Don't honk at me - I'm not dependent on foreign oil." (This was during the first Gulf War, in 1991).

But I was advised by local friends not to do this. I would certainly get honked at, hooted at and most probably, attacked for such a shirt. At the very least, I would probably have things thrown at me because the drivers would somehow believe (wrongly) that I did not "support the troops."

Amazing, sixteen years later, so little has changed. Like they said on Will & Grace, "Wow, it's been so long! Last time we got together, Bush was in the White House, and we were getting ready to invade Iraq!"

1 comment:

bluesman said...

And I did see a woman riding in chicago with a sign which said "Riding to prevent future foreign oil wars" :)

Time sometimes leaves some things as they are.
I got a bike for 30$ and loved it too, that is till it got stolen. Hoping to get more done with my new one, got a few wars to prevent :)