Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Serious Transportation

My Wells Fargo experiences have generated some comment activity, some on this blog and some on others. One comment stands out in particular:
No wonder the general population gets annoyed with cyclists. Do those of us that use a bike for serious transportation a favor and quit making an ass of yourself.

It may not be a surprise to learn that this comment was posted by an anonymous commenter. It sounds a bit like someone trying to get me (and others) to rise in outraged response. Tempting though this may be, I'll demur but will address the issues Anon (if I may be so familiar) raises.

The General Population does sometimes express irritation with cyclists, though I do not concede the point that being a cyclist somehow excludes me from the general population. The irritation, in my experience, is generally expressed as frustration that cyclists "always" ride through stop signs, ignore red lights, ride on the wrong side of the road and ride at night without lights. To some extent, and with many cyclists, they have a point. However, and keeping in mind that I first commuted to work on a bike in 1975, I have never once heard anyone complain that cyclists try to perform routine transactions at their bank.

As for making an ass of myself, it doesn't take too close a reading to see that there was nobody behind me in the bank line getting inconvenienced and that when the teller said they wouldn't serve motorized vehicles I didn't raise any ruckus at all (saying that someone was making an ass of themselves, for instance) but simply left without comment.

But the most interesting part of the comment was about using a bike for serious transportation. I'm not sure what Anon is getting at here. In the last month I have ridden my bicycle to work, to church for both choir rehearsals and services, to the grocery store, the liquor store, the fireworks last Tuesday, the hardware store, a bar last night, restaurants, the Farmers' Market, the movies, the bank (as you well know!), to volunteer at a bike race and also just for fun. Does this make it serious transportation?

Of course not. If I did all that in a car, would it become serious transportation? No. It would just be a guy going about his daily routine. That's all I'm doing, there's nothing serious about it. When my daily routine includes the occasional trip to our bank on my bicylce to deposit a check, a transaction I have done before and now have done since, and I am refused service on the basis that I am on a bicycle instead of in a car or truck, it merits questioning. I am able to make those inquiries without being an ass about it.

Anyway, sorry to inconvenience the serious cyclists as they, what?, rush through the streets to deliver kidneys to the awaiting doctors at the transplant center? Chase down criminals? Rush to help children trapped in wells? I'll potter along to my job and my stores and my church and try and not aggravate the General Public for you.

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