Restoring and ReSTORYing the Landscape

Spinning my wheels all morning.
Happens when unable to do a head-clearing ride (weather pretty rotten oot).
I’d love to dive into a good novel, but I’m supposed to be writing, not relaxing. I wander over to the computer after breakfast, depressed by our daily snoozepaper, pull in the wooden chair and click the mouse… look up and it’s four in the afternoon.

Oh, you’ve heard that one?
The BBC, and other news outlets seem more believable…our paper is both depressing and lamely comical (we call it the SF Comical).
And this is in the most progressive, organic “market” in the USA! We’re lucky, we have more than a few nervous, creative visionaries trying to break through the crust of convenience with such tools as MoveOn.org and the Tides Foundation.
A sodden thought that bears repeating, since it seems as true now as when it was first uttered: repetition works wonders.
News Stories vs. New Stories
Car culture vs. Bicycle culture
One brilliant column in the Scotsman crystallizes all kinds of thoughts that have swirled around my head, but unherded and unheeded carry no impact. Might as well direct you to the great Lesley Riddoch herself.
A real writer, and apparently a hell of a cyclist as well.
My blind spots vs. my strengths.
Right now, I’m trying not to beat myself up about not IMMMEDIATELY finishing my BOOK, my first EASY book, because this damn blog is so immediately gratifying, distracting, all-consuming.
You care, huh?
Then send me a note, do. We bike commuter weirdos gotta stick together more than ever, so we are ready ready ready when we’re needed to be ‘roll models’.
It is going to happen.
Maybe we can be influence-pedalers: currently, despite the haze of green-intention, my bike industry went wildly astray!

The “ultralight” trend.
The “length of fork travel” trend.
The “more gears is better” trend.
By refusing to produce strong, fixable and long-lasting parts manufacturers do a disservice to those without money who need the bike the most, while loading up the landfill with cheap disposabikes and throwaway componentry.
One aspect of the bike industry that is 95% pure sham is the “women specific” trend.
If the company isn’t contacting me or other women’s bike clubs, they aren’t really looking for input from large numbers of ordinary women who ride (as opposed to race)

“Women’s” bikes are created for ease of manufacture, not for safety/ease of women who ride…usually they have way too high a bottom bracket, and the rider assumes it’s because she’s just not very coordinated that she feels so vulnerable perched up high…Augggghhh.

Newspapers and TV harp on the stock market, and broadcast fear…I’m tired of it.

I am convinced it’s going to be positive, the way our drought here in Marin stopped housing developments for a solid 20 years…(too bad that there is a boom on now). Result: more open space to save for perpetuity, thanks to a political decision to curb growths via water hookups. Maybe it could happen again! I would stop complaining about MMWD if they did, but they have flipped flopped into major developers…

I am convinced that in an economic depression the citizenry, sorry, the consumers, will figure out ways to get by (get+buy) withOUT money. We can adapt, yes, even the rich can learn to be flexible.

There are already folks living simply on purpose.
MAYBE because it’s fun.
Maybe because it’s right.

Rapid growth in any system is a disaster.

All my reader/riders, will be the consultants for getting around sans gazol.

And yes, there will be some wailing and gnashing from the Corporations.
Without Madison Avenue’s loudspeaker the complaining won’t reach very far.

Shopping might turn to swapping. I still hear stories from people born before cars, who remember that landscape.
Last night P. J. O’Rourke, a hilarious (but conservative!!) writer appeared on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show and boiled the “Market” down to a Thing that vascillates between Greed and Fear.
Well, what if you refuse to be scared?
Examine the greed?
Isn’t it possible that less ‘money’ would force us to struggle to solve the bigger problems, undistracted?
About car vs. bike culture: I intend to live longer thanks to riding despite living in the USA where 3x as many cyclists are killed per 100,000 people as are killed in Holland. A bitter penalty for being the minority in a car culture.

But I am quite sure NOT pedaling will kill me faster (or suffocate my joy). This irony lives in my messenger bag, next to the high-calorie lunch I shoved in because errands are going to take me four hours, and four hours away from the fridge can affect my road smileage.

The bike blogs circulate, entertain and alert thousands of people (someday millions) and aren’t beholden to adver-dollars. to be repeated until their messages can help mould a new habit among the curious as well as reinforce the ‘choir’.

~ by jacquiephelan on January 24, 2008.

7 Responses to “Restoring and ReSTORYing the Landscape”

  1. Love your writing! I was steered over here by Kent Peterson. Keep riding and smiling!

    Joe in Iowa

  2. Hey Jacquie,

    Enjoy your writing and got to your blog via Kent, too. I mostly ride recumbents but do take the occasional foray onto uprights – I just love bike riding.

    For my money (or for free) you can rave on about planned obsolescence in the bike industry (any industry), weight weenie-ism, food, fashion and other stuff like that.

    I read about your exploits in bike mags and am tickled to find out you’re a thinker-writer doing weird-cool stuff besides.

    Bike riding, non-consumerism rules…

    Write that book!

    edde

  3. Hi! I want to finally say Hi. I’ve been reading and this is so fun. Now I am a fan! Cheers! Bruce

  4. Jacquie, this is a really good piece that gave me a lot to think about. First off, don’t be beating yourself up; though if you are like me it’s so easy to do and no one can do it better! A lesson I learned in rehab was that time we spend “shoulding” ourselves is time wasted in the past. Just get back to work on that book girl!
    I’m growing in that green movement, both bicycle wise and otherwise. I’ve been “retro” focused (though I prefer “simple” focused) since about 1995 when I bought my Rivendell. I continue to eschew technology when simple is better and bicycles are a perfect example. I am of course encouraged to see you continuing to ride with Suntour barcons, toe clips, etc. Bikes should be part of life a’la China or Holland or other bike savvy places. The simplicity and greening/gleaning are beginning to spread to other parts of life as well. While I have not found a back-door-caterer yet, I have been known to pluck homeless pumpkins from trash cans and take them home to make soup, pies, or risotto. Perhaps a recession/depression will drive people away from conspicuous consumerism and back to simpler choices, though that is going to be a hard habit to break for many people with the availability of credit cards!
    If you’re still reading this – it’s time to get back to work!
    Paul

  5. My wife hates those WSD bikes with a passion. Especially the pink ones.
    On a lighter note: I’m glad to know that there are others out there that probably smile just as much as I do when the oil prices go up. I can’t wait until it hits $5.00 a gallon.

  6. It’s tough to be in the world these days. My partner, laid off last summer, is chronically under-employed in a town/state/country that’s getting harder and harder to find a job in; I’m more comfortable living close to the bone than she is, so we make daily compromises: I love someone who watches television and drives a car and cannot, will not, imagine her life without either; she loves someone who rides a bike everywhere and finds her next winter coat hanging on a fencepost, and we both know that she will never get me to “dress up” my life much more than it is now. But we fill up each other’s souls with what really matters, and even if we won’t live forever (or even “long enough”, whatever that is) that is something right there. Life is filled with a million little compromises in the name of love. Perhaps that’s what we all need to focus on right now. Just the love. The rest will follow, or it won’t; but either way somedays love is the only thing that makes sense.

  7. Work at a college in the midwest where cars rule. When the ground turns white, mine are the only tracks in the snow, even in the warm bike commuters are few….at a college. It’s a good day when guilt or lack of attention parts the sea of vehicles to let me cross the road. Civilized it is not. Cycling IS life and that old 69 Raleigh makes me smile as its fixed gear turns smoothly and silently through the fluffy white stuff with nary a bearing sealed. Great way to start the day. Yeah yeah, and once at work, you are on my desktop smoking some guy up a hill on your dirt drop rig. Thanks for a good read today and years of smiles in the past.

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