October 19, 2011
It Takes a Conspiracy

I once told Clarence from Streetfilms that this film is what made me start bicycling again. This shorter charmer charts Clarence’s commute from Jackson Heights in Queens to Chinatown (something like 10 miles). I lived in Woodside, the next nabe over, so it was one of those hey, if he can do it, why can’t I things.

It’s true that film did get me back on my bike by making me want to bike so badly that when I unexpectedly (thank you leaking roof and collapsing ceiling and rather crappy landlord) faced the opportunity to move, I moved to a neighborhood in an entirely different boro because it was a lot closer to a greenway and so gave me a much better shot at commuting to work regularly. It certainly lit a fire.

But it also took my neighbors, who served as bike escorts for my first test run of my commuting route. It took years of reading Streetsblog while my fear of taking to the streets on a bike duked it out with the cyclist in me. It took my coworkers and boss, who often biked to work and thus offered the comfort of norm enforcement. It took my boss’s closed-minded boss refusing to genuinely consider allowing bike parking in our office (they look “unprofessional” amid the empty cubes heaped with old computer equipment and abandoned desk accessories and the smudgy front of our suite door that hasn’t been cleaned since our group moved to this building) so that I got pissed and frustrated enough to join Transportation Alternatives and did some volunteer outreach. It took a half dozen classes from Bike New York. It took my old, crappy landlord who could not hire a decent repair person after 6 (count ‘em!) leaks in my ceiling, thus prompting my move. It took my getting sick and frustrated by my daily commute via that overcrowded Roosevelt Avenue subway stop.

So it wasn’t just one film, or organization, or person that put me back on my bike. It was a bunch of things, good and bad, that conspired together to put me back on my bike and keep me there.

Blog comments powered by Disqus