High On Bike

A Bellinghamster On Wheels


A Bicycle Activist is Born

Every Bicycle CountsIt’s another rainy morning so I’m sitting in my living room with a cup of coffee alternately typing on my iPad, watching the hummingbirds tussle over the feeder outside our window, and contemplating this past week’s events which primarily consisted of me hacking my lungs up. As with all things, this cough is coming to an end and I’m hoping for some nicer weather tomorrow so I can get back on my bike. One if the few things I did accomplish this week was to send a letter to the editor of the Bellingham Herald in response to the guy who urged people to empty their dog poo bags into bike lanes as a protest to the city’s plastic bag ban that goes into effect in July. My letter was very similar to my blog post and I hope they print it. I’m not trying to change the mind of the jackass who urged the protest (He’s probably beyond help!) but perhaps it will resonate with other people. If they print my letter and it spurs just one other person to think, then I will consider it successful.
As a result of my nascent activist mindset, I also just joined—The League of American Bicyclistsa group promoting a bike friendly country through education and advocacy and I’m looking into something more local as well. Through this process, I did learn that my state, Washington, is ranked by the League as the most bicycle-friendlystate in the country. (Sweet!) But there’s always room for improvement. You can never eliminate all the whack jobs out there, but the friendlier our streets are the more bicyclists will be on them and that would be a great thing.


Letter Writer Poops on Cyclists

There was a letter to the editor in today’s Bellingham Herald protesting the upcoming plastic bag ban, blasting the city council for “trying to shove the green agenda down our throats.” In a rant that rambles from the bag ban to coal trains, he ends his tirade by asking all pet owners to empty doggie poo bags into the “special” bicycle lanes that run through our city as a show of protest, saying that “The greenies ought to appreciate a little fertilizer.”
Sheesh! I’m just riding my bike because it’s fun. I’m not trying to make any sort of political statement. And if I can use my car less because of it, that’s just icing on an already delicious cupcake. But in this guy’s fevered mind, all cyclists are “greenies” and therefore, somehow deserve to bear the brunt of the anti-plastic bag ban crowd’s wrath. Really? His reasoning gives me a brain cramp. And it’s that mindset that makes me leery of biking on the roads, “special” lane or no, and extremely cautious when I do end up riding the streets.
The ranting lunacy of this letter almost makes you want to relegate the author to the rank of complete whack job, which he very well might be, and simply write him off. Nonetheless, it is simply another example of the irrational loathing many people have for bicyclists who share roads and trails. (See my earlier post, “Biker Has a Bell”.)

If these folks just took a minute to think beyond their own selfishness, they’d realize that the more people take to the roads with their bikes, the less traffic there is for those who don’t. It doesn’t even matter whether they’re doing it for “green” reasons or not. Personally, I don’t consider myself a greenie even though I believe in being environmentally responsible. I think the bag ban is a good idea. I also strongly believe that not everyone can or should ride a bike but those of us who do deserve a safe environment to do so. Do I deserve to ride through streets of dog crap because of it? I hardly think so.