Tag Archives: Thoughts

The Politics of Biking

In large cities it isn’t uncommon to see people of all types riding bicycles.

Young, old, and in between, all powering two wheels with their legs.

Yet, not all cities are bike friendly and there are common misconceptions about people who ride bicycles.

In Europe, bicycles rule the road. In Copenhagen and Amsterdam most of the residents ride bicycles instead of drive cars. There are even bicycle parking decks in town.

That is a sharp contrast to American cities. With the exception of Portland and some large cities like San Francisco, most cities have marginal accommodations for bicycles and cars rule the road.

Bicyclists have to navigate between cars or on sidewalks because of the absence of bicycle lanes.

In the town I reside there has been an investment in making the town more pedestrian and bike friendly.

Investing in bicycle lanes, walkways, and sidewalks require towns to have the budget as well as expressed need for them from town residents.

If it is perceived that people don’t ride bicycles, then there will be no bicycle lanes.

When you think of bicycle riders, maybe Lance Armstrong comes to mind, or maybe you think a college kid biking to and from class.

Yet there are many different types of riders.

People who ride for leisure, people who ride to school or work, and people who ride for competition.

As with everything, there is politics attached to biking.

Income is a major factor in the ability to have a bike as well as reasons to ride one.

Higher income individuals buy top of the line bikes, some of which cost upwards of $5,000. Many of these individuals ride for competition. They compete in triathlons such as the Iron Man.

Bikes in this price range usually come from bike shops. I’ve been in these shops and they usually carry bikes with prices ranging from $300~ to $5,000~.

People who don’t have their entire rent check to drop on a bike, usually frequent Wal-Mart  or Target’s bike selection. Some even hunt on Craigslist or go dumpster diving.

This is where the disparity comes in. People who can’t afford thousand dollar bikes get what they can afford.

These folks ride bikes for leisure or transportation.

In America’s culture, everything is about status. In bicycle culture, the same logic is applied.

If the bike didn’t come from a bike shop, it is thought to be just a pile of crap.

Unfortunately this logic seems to exclude lower-income individuals from “bike culture”. It conveys the stereotype that only rich people ride bikes.

In reality, everyone rides, just for different reasons. Where you buy your bicycle from shouldn’t matter.

In a car dominated town, riding a bike may seem like an oddity. Why ride a bike when you can drive a car? Well some people don’t have a car. Some people use bikes as a means of transportation.

Here is another matter of contention among bike culture.

People who ride bicycles for transportation are thought of as poor or mainly college students. When in reality, especially in bike friendly cities, many people use bikes as a means of transportation.

Bicycle culture in America has grown, but could use some more help. Including low-income communities, women, people of color, and others not often associated with bicycling will expand bicycling to a larger audience and make it more popular in all cities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Going Somewhere Slow|Daily Prompt

Many people have heard the phrase, “going nowhere fast”

When a teen gets into trouble for the umpteenth time or when a convict returns to jail, the phrase always seems to pop up.

“You’re going nowhere fast”

I see the phrase as a decleration instead of the warning some people may intend it to be.

The phrase seems to become a self fullfiling prophecy for some people.

“You’re going nowhere fast” could be broken down to mean,

If you continue doing something, ususally something deemed bad, then you are destined to become nothing.

I don’t feel this phrase is helpful or true to anyone.

That troubled teen may not always be a troubled teen, that convict may not always be a convict.

We are all on our own personal journey.

My journey doesn’t look like your’s, nor does your journey look like mine.

Even though we may have bumps along the road, we are all going somewhere slow.

We are going somewhere slow.

I take this twist on words to mean, we are going places at our own pace, achieving goals at our own pace. Not at the pace of society, your family, friends, or neighbor down the road.

So instead of “going nowhere fast” consider yourself and everyone else as going somewhere slow.

What is False? | Daily Prompt

This week has been hectic. It seems as if the country is falling apart.

12 officers and 2 civilians were shot late last night in Dallas during what up until that point, had been a peaceful protest.

The news has exploded with coverage of the shooting and the response on social media has been overwhelming.

People had gathered in the streets of Dallas yesterday to protest police brutality after two more citizens had been killed by officers.

Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were the most recent victims.

Alton was killed in Lousiana, Philando was killed in Minnesota.

There were peaceful protests in Dallas, New York, Chicago, and many other cities.

With all the different reports circulating, it is hard to figure out what is true and what is false.

Some reports say there was one gunman. Other reports say there were multiple gunmen.

People are blaming the protestors. People are blaming the police.

Is there someone to blame in all of this?

All of this is overwhelming. All of this is unnecessary. Alton and Philando didn’t have to die. Those officers didn’t have to die.

This is too much.

As the news trickles out, I want to remain objevtive, and remeber Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. I want to remeber all the others on the list. I want to remeber these five innocent officers whose lives were lost.

All of this violence has to stop. Cops can’t run around shooting people and people can’t run around shooting cops.

 

Alton Sterling: 1 of Many

Alton Sterling, 37, father of five.

Shot six times outside a convenience store by Baton Rogue Police.

Shot six times, after being tazed and handcuffed, already laying on the ground.

His supposed offense: selling CDs and having a gun on him.

Louisiana is an open-carry state.

Alton was a vendor, so selling CDs shouldn’t have been an issue either.

The video of the shooting surfaced on Twitter late Tuesday evening.

I was horrified by what I saw.

Alton Sterling’s name has been added to the dreadful list.

The list of African Americans that have been shot dead by the people who claim to protect and serve.

I don’t hate police. But as the quote goes, Evil prevails when good men do nothing.

When good officers and departments don’t remove the bad officers.These situations will keep happening.

These officers in Baton Rogue, just like the ones in Baltimore, NY, Akron, Texas, were placed on administrative leave.

Yet I am not hopeful that they will get more punishment than that.

Eric Garner had video footage, so did Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, and countless others.

All cases ended with acquittals or no charges even being filed.

Alton’s family appeared on MSNBC this morning. His eldest son broke down in tears, his wife, tried her best to not break down as well.

When will this end?

How many more names have to be added to the list, for people to wake up and realize that African Americans are in danger?

When we aren’t shooting each other over nonsense, cops are shooting us.

When will it stop?

As you go about your day, know that five kids are now without a father and a wife is without a husband.

Two police officers are on paid leave while Baton Rogue citizens take to the streets in protest.

Another family is ripped apart.

For what?

 

 

Freedom, Freedom Where Are You? | Daily Prompt

According to  Wikipedia,

Autonomy is a concept found in moral, political, and bioethical philosophy. Within these contexts, it is the capacity of a rational individual to make an informed, un-coerced decision.

Essentially, autonomy is the freedom to choose. Consider that statement for a moment. The freedom to choose.

It’s often said that America is the land of the free.
We have freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
We have these freedoms, yet it doesn’t seem as if we are really free.
You turn on the news and see that a Arab man is harrased at an airport, an unarmed person is shot by an officer, states are trying to control women’s health.
None of these news stories seem to represent a free country. A free society.
Consider the simplified defenition of autonomy again, it is the freedom to choose.
THE. FREEDOM. TO. CHOOSE.
States want to pass laws that restrict where a person uses the toilet. Restrict when a woman can get an abortion. Restrict the ability to vote.
Where is the autonomy in that?
When autonomy is hard to find or even nonexistent, then it isn’t autonomy. It isn’t freedom.
The freedom to choose is an undeniable right in this country. At least it is suppose to be.
So where is the autonomy?
Where is our freedom of choice?
Does it come and go?
Is it, you can choose a presidential candidate but you can’t choose whether to have a child?
You can choose to buy a gun, but you can’t choose what bathroom you want to use?
Autonomy is the freedom to choose, to make an informed, un-coerced decision.
When the news is filled with fear mongering and state legiators use that to pass laws like Texas’s late term abortion ban (which has since been repealed by the US Supreme Court) and North Carolina’s House Bill 2 (currently enacted, only a few minor changes).
Where is the freedom to choose?
When did we become a society of just lip service?
We shout about our “freedom” from the rooftops, but it isn’t being practiced.
When you have legislators making laws that govern what a woman can do with her body, you have removed autonomy.
When you insist that African Americans are free, yet deny the fact that African Americans make up only 14% of the U.S.population, but over 60% of the prision population, then you aren’t getting the problem.
How are African Americans, women, or any other minority free to choose their life when they are faced with these circumstances.
How do you have autonomy when you don’t even have the right to decide whether you want to have children or you don’t have the ability to obtain employment?
The freedom to choose is not available.
The question now is, how can we fix it?
How do we really excerise our autonomy?