Monday, July 14, 2008

A Wichitan on his cycling lifestyle

Over at his excellent political philosophy blog, In Medias Res, Russell Arben Fox, a prof at Friends University whose posts I always learn much from, has just put up a post extolling the virtues, as he sees them, of this very blog. Thanks to him for that, and welcome to those of you finding your way here from his place.

Russell also posts on just how much he and his family use their bikes, and the reputation he's acquired at Friends (not to mention a bit of envy he inspires among colleagues) as a result of his cycling:
I've never cycled professionally, never raced, only ever used my bike to get to school and now to get to work and in between, when times and circumstances have been amenable to it, to go on rides with the kids or to get some shopping done. When all is said and done, I guess that adds up to making me a fairly serious cyclist. Here's the six-mile route I ride pretty much five days a week, rain or shine (the link says 5.5 miles, but I've clocked it, and I think the difference comes in the bike map's inability to accurately calculate my path through Town Square West's huge parking lots). . .


My commuting has gotten me some notoriety here at Friends; on bad weather days, my students will make jokes or express disbelief that I rode in that morning, and my leaving meetings early so I can manage the 25-35 minute ride home (depending on traffic and weather) before, say, one of the girls have to be taken to piano lessons have attracted a little envy from other faculty members occasionally. All in all, I guess it is a "lifestyle," or at least a regular enough part of my life that I can't imagine myself getting along without my bike. I hope to be able to continue to ride here in Wichita and elsewhere for decades to come.
Though I've not been riding nearly as long as Russell has, I can already say that I fully concur with the last two sentences.

Thanks again for the kind words, Russell.


Tejvan Pettinger said...

The more gas prices increase, the more others might wish they cycled too. It's a shame cycling is a rarerity in your city; you may find that your example inspires others to commute.

John B. said...

Thanks for stopping by. I see from the comment you left over at Russell's blog that you're in the UK; I'd just read an article noting how compared to other Europeans, Brits lag behind a bit in terms of cycling enthusiasts, but that might be changing given increases in gas there.

As for our inspiring others . . . well, one can hope. My initial reasons for taking up cycling were very pragmatic--saving money on gas; my need for exercise--but as I told the man I talked to yesterday, "The more I think about it, the more reasons I find that this was a good decision to make." The reasons have so expanded, and in such unexpected directions, that cycling's had the effect, as it has for Russell, of becoming a lifestyle--but in the deeper sense of a styling of life, a re-thinking of it.

I was just about to say something about Thoreau here, but I'll save that for the full-blown post it's sure to become.