Over on Salon, Rachel Shukert is writing about bicycles. "A bicycle is a perfect machine: simple, elegant and efficient. It does exactly what it needs to do, whenever it needs to do it," she writes. And "there's a convincing case… that the bicycle advanced the cause of women's liberation more than any other inanimate object." General interest magazine Mental Floss explains that "the Victorian lady rarely exercised or engaged in physical activity, which left her poorly conditioned." But when the bicycle took off in the late 1800s, "There was no reason a woman couldn't get on a bike and sedately pedal farther from her home than she'd ever been before." There have been some disparaging remarks regarding cyclists on this site, but shouldn't we all be biking more?
I'm one of those people who loves to bike (Yes, the one above is mine. And I have another one ). There is such a simple pleasure in the self-propelled rhythm of it. Wind in your hair, book in your basket. You can cover more ground than walking, and you don't necessarily have to work yourself into a lather like running. And it's eco-friendly. I understand that this country's growth was car-related. Didn't people used to live in cities or towns and villages where nothing was too far away to be reached by bicycle? Then economic boom meant everyone could have a house with a picket fence and a two car garage. The so-called "freeway" was invented. The suburbs were invented. Cars became necessary. But maybe it's time for a shift? Considering the price of gas and our dependency on foreign oil? Adding bike lanes instead of HOV lanes of killer SUVs seems like a good idea. Think of the decrease in roadkill and teenage drunk driving accidents. Lord knows Americans could use the exercise. As Shukert writes:
I can't help thinking, a little sadly, of the spinning classes I walk past every day at the gym — 30 or 40 women, all in terrific shape, pedaling none too sedately … and going nowhere.
Wheels Of Change [Salon]
Women's Lib Arrived On Bicycles [CNN via Mental Floss]