Riding a bicycle, regardless of whether you’re a serious road cyclist, commuter, trail rider, or weekend athlete, is done mainly for the FUN of riding. With this in mind, we would like to take this one step further and put purpose behind our riding. Along with the FUN, why don’t we have an impact on the world that we live in? How do we do this? Let us explain…
The bicycle, believe it or not, has historically been the vehicle of not only people trying to get from one place to another, but also one of societal change. With the advent of the mass production of the bicycle, individuals have enjoyed for years the same freedoms we feel today on two wheels. Cyclists championed the development of our original roadway system. The emancipation of women concurred with their use of the bicycle to empower their organization of protest. Professional sports was first challenged by the racially oppressed in 1862 with Marshall “Major” Taylor causing the greatest equality argument of his time, this was a first step toward the Civil rights movement. Today the world over, the bicycle continues to shape our planet by empowering people of developing nations to travel without the need for expensive oil-based fuel. You get the idea. Now how do YOU fit into the grand scheme of societal change?
Riding a bike:
· Is physically healthy and sets an example of health for others in our society
· Is good for the local and international environment by reducing the impact of carbon-based fuel use
· Reduces automobile traffic and congestion
· Brings people together for common happiness and enjoyment
It is this final point that we can personally use to affect our world on the local level.
To expand on the significance of common happiness and enjoyment while riding, we at BioWheels propose the following riding philosophy to spread happiness and enjoyment while riding a bicycle (these are adapted from the teachings of a guy some called the Buddha):
WHILE RIDING A BICYCLE…
- LOVE: An intention and capacity to offer joy and happiness while riding a bicycle. We LOVE our bikes. We LOVE each other. We LOVE our planet! Smile. Share your joy and happiness and just be… here… now… while riding a bicycle!
- COMPASSION: The intention and capacity to relieve and transform suffering and to lighten sorrows, while riding a bicycle. You are transforming your personal suffering by relieving your stress and being good to your body. At the same time you are relieving the stress on the planet. How noble an act! Lighten the sorrows of those we share the road with, namely automobile drivers by being COMPASSIONATE to the fellow human beings behind the wheel of that car trying to pass you as you ride. This applies to other riders and users of the outdoors. If you were them, how would you feel? What would the right thing to do be in that situation? Just try to identify with the human-ness of each other, respectfully, while riding a bicycle.
- JOY: True love, while riding a bicycle always brings joy to us and to those we love. Wave to the motorist with a smile in your heart as they pass you. Say a kind word as you ride with each other, or pass another rider or hiker on the trail, or someone walking along the roadside. This joy that you have is infectious and will encourage others to be kind to you, while riding a bicycle.
- EQUANIMITY: The wisdom of equality. Nonattachment, nondiscrimination, even-mindedness and “letting go” while riding a bicycle. This is the toughest one of all for us in our country. Our society has emphasized individuality to the point of isolation and arrogance. Your “right” to be where you are on your bike is actually EQUAL, yes, EQUAL to the person in the car on the road or sharing the trail with you while riding a bicycle. There is, in actuality, an enormous world with enough space for all of us. We get in to trouble when we try to “claim” that space and time as “ours” and “not theirs” at certain moments in time. Sometimes we feel certain rules of the road and the trail, brought into effect by our elected government for the safety of ALL people, do not apply to us while riding a bicycle. Mutual compassion and respect can then disappear. Be aware. This division is where a good bit of mutual frustration develops. Try to keep this EQUANIMITY in mind when you go out for your ride. Dissolve the division on your end. Let go of your assumptions of superiority and self-importance. We are all interconnected, do not discriminate yourself from other two-wheeled brethren, those in cars or those on foot. Be an example while riding a bicycle. Obey the law; share the road and trail, and BE NICE while riding a bicycle.
If we all can just try to remember some of these points while riding a bicycle, we can earn the respect of our non-riding peers instead of demanding it. We will make our area a better place to live through an example of what health and happiness can accomplish. We can make our planet breath a little easier by reducing pollution and making more people smile. We can share our knowledge with those new to riding in a respectful, open, atmosphere of improvement and encouragement. With these goals in mind, all rules of our group rides will be based in this riding philosophy.
ENJOY YOUR RIDE!