the absurdity of the obvious

If you haven’t already done so, check out this lovely video, which I found posted at Copenhagenize.com:

The combined music and footage makes for a positively delightful way to spend seven minutes of your day.

The video isn’t really about bicycles, but therein lies the brilliance. The point is not lost on the author of the blog who points right away to the seamless integration of bicycles, pedestrians, and public transport reflected in the film. The post struck a chord with me after having just written about Ballantine’s City Cycling and wondering (again) why an increase in everyday bicycle transportation is such a big deal, i.e., either terms of the novelty people attach to it when and where it does happen, or the various forms of opposition that arise from those resistant to it (i.e., whether not wanting to do it themselves or in making it difficult for those who do).

I don’t want to be naive, idealistic, or romantic. I don’t want to be self-righteous either. In truth, I know the reasons are legion for why this isn’t happening to the extent we’d like or to the degree that is necessary. Some are more complex than others. Some are not so easy to address, overcome, or reverse. Some might even be described as perfectly legitimate. What it comes down to, however — what it always comes down to — is this: are each of us doing all we can at every opportunity. It’s not whether I sell my car and commit to riding everywhere every day; it’s whether I opt to ride or drive on this particular day for this particular errand, and the rationale for my decision.

Unfortunately, I think most of us are quick to grow weary of the sort of deliberation and intentionality that requires. I know I for one like it when I don’t have to think (except that it’s far more often the case that the wrong things have become second nature instead of the right ones). I know also that I all too easily consider my efforts good enough, and even quite good by comparison to [insert lesser example here].

I guess when it comes to all the reasons why transportation bicycling doesn’t happen more, I just wish I knew of ways to change people’s thinking so that doing something like riding a bicycle to the post office would seem every bit as natural and necessary as anything else.

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3 responses to “the absurdity of the obvious

  1. I’ve been pondering these points even more often lately since I’m reading The Cyclist’s Manifesto. Hurst makes the same point, that bicycling can be so polarizing, and there’s really no reason for it. People have been conditioned to assume it’s out of the ordinary, unreasonable or unsafe, but once you try it you realize it’s not.

    I have more to say about the opposition factor and the grudge between cyclists and motorists but I’ll try not to co-opt your comments field for it. 🙂 Thanks for a thought-provoking post.

  2. OK, there’s another book I need to add to my reading list. Meanwhile, though, thanks for your remarks. You can co-opt my comments area anytime. The space is hardly what one would describe as crowded.

  3. 10thousandfeet

    Wow, that was a beautiful video. I wasn’t sure I’d watch it (busy at work) but got sucked in and feel so peaceful now. Thanks for sharing!