by Gary Timmons
Yes, in spite of all predictions from family, friends, and creditors
to the contrary, here I am with you a second time with ruminations on
the bike commuting life.
I want to thank my fellow PPTCers for your responses to my
request in the first column for comments or anecdotes about bike
commuting. Turning to the first message I received, and without
commenting on the general contrariness of a certain Pedal Patter
advertising manager, in the interest of equal time what follows is her
list of reasons for NOT being able to commute to work by bike.
A few reasons to drive:
- XM radio receiver does not fit on handlebars
- Time spent in beltway traffic is perfect for transitioning from office stress to home stress
- There's no bike beltway for those who commute from Virginia to Maryland and vice-versa
- Helps consume more oil so we can deplete this resource and accelerate the need for more cycling transportation in the future
- This ain't Amsterdam!
Turning to other random thoughts, I wasn't, strictly speaking,
commuting-OK, I wasn't commuting at all-but was recently out on a PPTC
ride in rural Loudoun (always have to look up how to spell that) County
and had the usual experiences with drivers passing too fast and too
close on the country roads in their impatience to get past our pokey
line of bikes and on down the blacktop. I found myself reflecting, as I
listened to my heart pound after yet another near miss, on whether all
those sexy car model names like Firebird, Mustang, or Thunderbird,
undoubtedly intended to lure buyers into parting with their long green,
might foster aggressive driving. Of course, this is the digital age and
many car monikers are now alphanumeric, like the Acura RL and TSX or
the BMW 3 series, 5 series or 7 series. These, I guess, would be
considered sexier than, say, the Lexus P-U or Toyota IED? And, how
could anyone roaring along in a Buick Regal possibly think he doesn't
own the entire road?
Columnist Russell Baker suggested once that drivers would be far
less aggressive if car manufacturers would only assign less assertive
names to their cars, like Kittens, Bunny Rabbits, or Feather Dusters.
In the early 1950s, poet Marianne Moore was asked by the Ford Motor
Company to suggest names for a new car then in development that would
evoke "some visceral feeling of elegance, fleetness, advanced features
and design." Her suggestions-Resilient Bullet, Utopian Turtletop,
Pastelogram, Mongoose Civique, Andante con Moto, and Varsity Stroke
3-were all passed over in favor of the name of Henry Ford's son. Thus,
the Edsel was born.
Keep on pedaling! See you the next time we hold up traffic!