Why cycling saves the world

Of course my tongue is planted firmly in cheek with this hyperbolic statement…and I more than half believe it.

But not for the reason you think.

Sure, cycling is good because it reduces fossil fuel consumption, promotes cardiovascular health, puts you in touch with nature, and the latter two are good for emotional health.

Riding a bike, you may or may not know, is humanizing.

In apartment elevators, most people studiously avoid making any kind of contact with each other, but when I am that annoying person taking her bike on the elevator, more often than not, my fellow traveller is impelled to strike up a conversation. From “Nice weather, eh?” to “What do you think of the green paint on the bike lanes? My partner was involved in that. Does it work?”

In winter, we all want to hunker down in our cars and separate ourselves from the elements, but I can’t tell you the number of times people have rolled down their windows to talk to me. BFB (before fat-bike), it was mostly swearing, but since then, and especially since the addition of my Lumos helmet, people roll down their window to strike up a conversation at a stop light!

Like dogs and children, which help strangers warm up enough to speak to each other, bikes also serve as an ice breaker – and riding them makes us available to interact not only with the environment around us but the people in it.

“One man’s hands can’t tear a prison down
Two men’s hands can’t tear a prison down
But if two and two and fifty make a million
We’ll see that day come round.” – Pete Seeger

If we can all bit a bit more open to each other, maybe we can actually make the world a better place, one friendly exchange at a time.


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