Saturday, February 03, 2018

Minus Ten Review- 5

The night I finished it it was too cold to take it outside for its debut image.
Ten years ago on the blog I was talking about a few things. One was how it feels to drop out of a longer event. Back then this was a new phenomenon to me. I had dropped out at the halfway point of the first DK200 due to a dizzy spell. I had also watched as Trans Iowa riders dealt with the aftermath of their decision to "pull the plug" on their attempt.

Of course, this is a big topic. I could ruminate upon it for a few posts, most likely, but it also must be balanced with knowing when to pull the plug. I feel this balance- wanting to push on, knowing when not to, and dealing with the decision afterward is one of the most fascinating things about ultra-distance, endurance, and (probably)  any tougher challenge one engages in. I've been in that place plenty throughout my riding in gravel events. I have a pretty long list of DNF's and not many finishes. But I keep on trying.....

That aside, I also was yakking about something which, since a decade ago, I haven't seen anyone talk about here since. It has to do with why folks don't commute by bicycle here. While I don't think this is the only reason people don't commute by bicycle, I do think it is an unspoken aspect of commuting that isn't often, if ever, addressed anymore. Here's the quote from back then:

"A couple of years ago, I talked to the German owner of an American bike company who mentioned that one of the reasons he sees why Americans don’t ride to work is they are afraid of sweating and getting dirty. American culture has deemed it that thou shalt not stink and that you shalt have a sweet perfumey aire about them. There’s nothing wrong with a little human smell. "

Then I had just gotten a bicycle built as well. The 2007 project that finally was put together about six months later, the custom Badger drop bar hard tail. In fact, the image of that bike shared again here today was the only image on the blog all week ten years ago! 


Jonas Malever said...

I think there is much truth to that explanation of why we don't bike commute. Unsafe roads and long commutes are others. Combine those and it's easy to see why we don't have a commuting culture. It's worth noting that most Europeans that I know work relatively close to home. Their infrastructure is different than that in the US. Their countries and cities were not designed around the automobile. Many people in the US drive over an hour each way. Most jobs I've had were at least 20 miles from home, and if you exclude the fact that most required travel on busy highways, that is a long enough ride to leave me drenched even in winter. Putting on a shirt and tie after that and stewing in sweat is not exactly how I want to spend the rest of the day.

Guitar Ted said...

@Jonas Malever- Thanks for your comments. I think you hit on a couple interesting points. I think you are absolutely correct on your observations regarding European city design versus USA city design, and cultural differences as well.

In my opinion, the long commutes demanded by the poorly designed cities will preclude anyone from commuting by bicycle that lives in such areas, for the most part. Perhaps mass transit will take the place of millions of cars at some point, or perhaps a "cell/neighborhood" plan for urban living could be implemented that would make pedestrian and cycling modes more viable.

Until that happens, perhaps in my lifetime allotted to me yet, or in the future, I think any grand changes are pie in the sky thinking. This sort of change must be looked at as a generational thing, and that doesn't mean we get to sit idly by. The work must begin now. Part of that might be to not fear "the human smell". :>)