Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Just ride your bike!

I've been either blessed, or cursed, with an inquisitive nature. Add to this a sense that all people essentially are (or should be!) equal and it becomes obvious that it is easy for me to support the Occupy movement, as well as their values of social justice.

Taking things further, when looking at how cyclists are being discriminated against, despised even, purely for having chosen a different form of transport, my blood pressure can go upwards simply by looking at what is happening around me. What a sick and twisted society we have built where people sometimes are despised purely because they chose a particular form of personal transport!

Some people write incredibly clever, detailed, well-informed stuff on their blogs. I don't.
I just write about what is in my mind, and then only part of what is in my mind.

Lately I have noticed that a number of my posts can be seen as negative. This is a problem as I a) am a natural optimist, b) am not constantly angry at the world, despite the impression some of my posts may create, and c) I went through a very negative period a few years ago, and I'm determined never to repeat that.

So just how does one solve a problem of trying to show in crystal clarity just how bad things are for cyclists, and demonstrate just how stupidly backward, naive and at times arrogant the designs of "cycling facilities" being imposed on us by car-sick council officials & contractors, without coming across as negative?

I used to follow another blog, Crap Cycling and Walking in Waltham Forest, which according to many is supposed to be a very good blog. Although the blogger raised many very good points, the sheer force of negativity became draining after a while, so I stopped following that blog.

There are many other blogs I follow, most of which are far more positive, but if any of them had to become negative too often I'll stop following them. Obviously I expect the same to happen to my blog if I became negative too often.

See, I've learnt a long time ago that whatever we focus on appears larger, and more important than things we don't focus on. Focusing on all the bad infrastructure risks not noticing the real pleasures cycling offers, and that would be a tragedy.

After all, cycling is brilliant. When I'm out cycling, especially on longer rides, the problems of the world tend to fade as my spirits are lifted, even when cycling in poor weather. Cycling makes me laugh inside. Not laugh at anything or anybody, just a general non-descript kind of silent laugh. It makes me smile, and it makes the world a far better place, both figuratively as well as physically.

As I've mentioned several times before on here, I am blessed with living in a truly gorgeous part of the world and of course I have NCN 27 that passes less than a mile from my front door. While some get bored with cycling up Drake's Trail (a.k.a. NCN 27, or even the Plym Valley Cycle Trail) I adore that route and cycle it often.
Some will tell you about Plymouth's vicious uphills, and they'd be quite correct, but I like to point out the brilliant downhills we have.

So how do I progress? How do I point out the many, obvious and sometimes stupidly predictable flaws in provision for cyclists in Plymouth, without sounding, or feeling like a moaning misery-guts?
Do I simply ignore what is wrong and stop campaigning for improvements? Do I raise things a notch or two and point out even more?

I honestly don't know for certain what the correct answer is, so I guess I'll simply play it by ear as I go along. And in the meantime, I'll just do what I love doing, and ride my bike.