"Fire is motion / Work is repetition / This is my document / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all defenses."

- Cap'N Jazz, "Oh Messy Life," Analphabetapolothology

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

will i die?

i'm planning a dangerous adventure...

one thing i feel very adamantly about is the need to reduce our dependence on oil and to have a more eco-friendly energy source.

and the best way i see for the individual to take action against our government and the "blood for oil" types is to get off our dependence on automobiles.

in chicago this summer, i relied on nothing more than my two feet and a bike to get around, using public transportation occasionally when i had to cross the river or into unfamiliar territories.

so i am understandably sad to see that my sprawling hometown of lexington, ky is still largely reliant on SUV's, hummers, and personal vehicles to get around. i have been slightly heartened to find a few more of our lextran buses up and running, but from what i understand, they run too inefficiently and unpredictably to rely on to get from, say, home to work daily. looking in the windows, i see very few passengers. i can't even find the nearest stop to my house, or anywhere really. thinking back, i can't remember ever seeing this many city buses running in my town.

i've never used the public transportation here before. i feel awful about it too, because right now i am just complaining without doing anything to help solve the problem. but my dad informs me that the nearest bus stop to our house is probably at the monstrous fayette mall, which would take me a good half of a day to walk to, and i would most certainly get hit by a car on one of the major highways on my way.

lexington is also not very bike-friendly or pedestrian-minded either. so, it is everything critical mass chicago works to eliminate: the auto(mobile)cracy.

it seems so silly though, with the way our environment is quickly deteriorating, and with obesity being a national health crisis (i hear more about it than AIDS, which seems to be glaringly conspicuous), heck, you don't need to look further than gas prices these days for a good reason to abandon that old metal trap and get out there on a bike (or on your gams or a bus...)!!

granted, my silly town is too big for its own good and commuting to and from work on a bike must seem like a huge undertaking to most, but i assure you this is all a thing of the mind. i biked to work in chicago across much greater distances, chicago is, after all, much larger than lexington is. the problem is that lexington has very poor facilities for bikers. no lanes, no racks, i can't even remember the last time i saw someone biking in the greater downtown area, which is too bad because that would really be a lovely ride.

my town is too suburban and high brow for its own good. here, as everywhere, a car = class. which is too bad because now too many people are getting too lazy to get off their fat asses and do something to change things in america.

so, i'm planning a magnificent gesture. i am going to make a ride from my home (which lies on the way south edge of town, a horse farm away from "the boonies" or the only remaining forested area in lexington) to downtown lexington (north central lexington, before you get to the "real north side" where i went to middle school, where the ghettoes and projects and minority communities are). this will require traversing several major roads (tates creek, man o' war, nicholasville road, being the major ones that come to mind), many of which will not have bike lanes or sidewalks, requiring me to do what critical mass has taught me to relish and fear best: riding in the heart of traffic.

there will be screaming, honking, confusion, peril, road rage, blood sweat and tears. and many brushes with the law, neighbours, and death!!!

and there's so very little time. i go back to school on sunday and i still have to spend time with my family and friends!!

tally ho!

p.s. in other news, i wrote a heart-felt letter to jens lekman yesterday and i see that he visited briefly yesterday. or... someone from sweden did. i just assumed it was him. anyway, at least i feel ok about being hurt on my bike knowing that i once wrote to jens lekman and that he may or may not have visited here, if only for a brief moment of time.


remaerdyaD said...

what i have found since walmart came to town is a actually a unique source of some comfort. the most recent example of what i am referring to is in the local five and dime type store. they recently got bread and milk, even rechargable batteries!

seems an axiom that whatever means folks require to get milk and bread is what will be used for everything. nobody enjoys beautiful summer night walks anymore, people just dont really go out of the houses/apartments. but now, there is this buzz. now people are thinking more about the farmers market, about local stores, about the actual value of the thrift shop where i help out.

what does this have to do with your situation? i find the critical mass people have this 'city attitude' (not meaning to insult your intelligence). put it to you this way... if one of my country friends doesnt drive and needs to get into town, they just mentally calculate the time required to walk and subtract it from their bedtime, period. 'country attitude'.

the problem, what city types have, is that there is no vision past just dealing with whatever cards are dealt. if you have to walk a mile more, you walk a mile more - so like get another pair of walking shoes cos the ones you got are going to deteriorate faster. no real sense of thinking outside of the box, if that makes like any sense.

but, you see, if they, say, go so far and enough people go so far, at some point, somebody might go "ding" in their head and sell milk and bread along the way. suddenly people think differently. the think like, 'maybe i do not have to go into town for all those extra things'. so they just go to work and go back home. they see living with less is more, and centralize their needs as close to home as possible. then everything is becomes a single trip - like today, i made a round trip to the hardware store and out to a mall for like a couple essentials. it took three hours out of my day, but it is likely one of the few days for weeks i will do that.

maybe i am clutching at straws. but there is hope, given time, that things end up coming your way when you live with what you get and laugh once you see you are not alone?

btw, i am like a footwearing jihadist extremist terrorist... bike factories are the tool of evil monsters (-: (i secretly carshare when nobody is watching)

- hi to any swedish vistors!

Ogbuefi Stephi said...

i think convenienve in our culture is highly over-rated. i value the time it takes me to make a trip to the grocery on foot, and i value the fruits and vegetables i buy more when they're sold to me by the same family that harvested themon their farm, and i love eating them even more when i have to lug them home in my arms on foot the mile or so i have to walk from the market to my home.

time=money in the city. walking=waste and leisure=lazy activities. cars=$ in and more $ out. nothing wrong with using a car when you really need it (i would not, for example, try to load my bike up with all my school stuff and try to move back that way. it would take a looong time and would be silly.) and there's nothing wrong with car-sharing, in fact, i think that's part of the solution. but i was just saying that i think one car for every member of a household in america is too much and unnecessary. especially if two out of the 5 are either an SUV or hummer. uck.

Arcane said...

I wish you luck in your biking attempt from home to downtown. Sadly many communities around the country lack more eco-friendly options of personal transportation. Even those with some form of public transportation tend to lack sidewalks and bike paths for people to go to and from places.

I offer the following advice from my walking experiences from the capital district area in new york. The shoulder (if the road has one) can be your friend but keep an eye out. When traveling on the shoulder it's hard to say going with traffic is any better than going against. Lots of pros and cons for each side. Do keep an eye out for dogs. Some folks don't really believe in making sure their dog can't get loose. Part of car culture is the belief that such animals can't hurt people because they are in vehicles.

Another idea you should look into is checking out the local bike shop (which hopefully isn't a Walmart) and looking into riding clubs. If you can't find one, try starting one. Nothing like an organized group to help put pressure on the local politicians.

Safe riding =-)