Yes, it's true. Every word of it. National Bike Month is for everybody.
When I started blogging about bicycling a year ago, I quickly realized that attracting the attention of the average American is a daunting task.
Without being able to offer enticing headlines like “Mitt Romney’s dog Seamus to be strapped to Lance Armstrong’s bike for Tour de France”, “The Situation and Snooki ride across New Jersey to raise awareness for binge drinking”, or “R. Kelly and Ted Nugent to chaperone Junior Girls’ Olympic Cycling Team”, it would be difficult to compete for attention in cyberspace.
Bicycling just isn't that sexy, provocative, controversial or scandalous. Sure, we've got our Spandex - we just don't have the decibels (even though Campy does go to eleven).
We need something big - spectacular, even - to draw attention to the one activity that can wipe out childhood obesity, destroy metabolic disorder, and reverse escalating healthcare costs.
We need something big - revolutionary, even - to publicize the plan to eliminate traffic congestion, lower our dependence on foreign oil, and reverse global warming.
In the meantime we'll have to settle for National Bike Month.
May offers the perfect weather for all cyclists across America to don white shirts, black ties, and name tags and ride their bikes door-to-door in search of new converts. "We're on a mission from God - to save the planet."
It's an opportunity to Occupy the Environment. To be seen in record numbers enjoying the great outdoors from the saddle of a bike. To arrive at the office in full bike attire with big smiles on our faces. To make exercise look like child's play.
It's also a time to show that we are responsible citizens. Stopping at stop signs and traffic lights. Yielding the right-of-way. Signalling turns. Riding defensively and predictably. Resisting the urge to point out motorists' inconsiderate and dangerous behavior with a single finger.
While we very well may be "doing our part for the environment", we won't attract new riders by acting self-righteous. Cyclists don't have a monopoly on living a minimal carbon footprint existence.
Individually, we've each found a formula for combining fitness with fun. We all ride for very personal reasons. We have been enlightened, but the truth we've found is not proprietary. It's meant to be shared. We're not part of an exclusive club. We need to become more inclusive.
Bicycling is for everybody.
It has been scientifically proven that you never forget how to ride a bike. But you may have forgotten how much fun it was...
Let's get out there, every day in May, and ride our bikes. Let's be seen enjoying ourselves en masse. Let's show everyone the fun they're missing out on. And let's invite them along - even if we have to slow down, sit up, and savor the sights we're already familiar with. Let's quit being so selfish and start sharing cycling.
And let's not forget to sign up for the National Bike Challenge, either...
Keep riding and be safe!
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