and take a photo. I think that’s love.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)
I do not like to get sentimental or overly emotional here on the Front Page. Over the past 8 years, I’ve learned that doing so — especially as our audience has changed and grown in recent years — is fraught with all sorts of pitfalls and risks. But today, because it’s Valentine’s Day and all my social media timelines are full of odes to love and bikes, I couldn’t resist.
So, I just want to say that I love my bikes.
Even after decades of riding them, writing about them, working in the bike industry, and so on, I still love them just as much as ever. Whether it’s a quick trip around town, a work-day escape up into the hills, or an all-day weekend adventure. There are so many reasons to love them I could go on and on. I won’t bore you with all that. I’m liable to get into Too Much Information mode pretty quick.
All this talk of love reminds me: You know you always see references in the media about “America’s love-affair with cars,” as if that cultural default is a huge barrier to any policy or project that might discourage their overuse? I have a hunch that phrase in large part the result of a strategic propaganda campaign from the auto industry (and don’t for one second think they’re above using propaganda to sell more cars).
I only bring this point up because I would love to start hearing major media references to “America’s love-affair with bikes” that comes with the same seriousness and socio-political implications. I think we’re headed in that direction. Slowly but surely, Americans are starting to realize that bikes can be not just wonderfully utilitarian; but also objects of desire that are so transformative to the mind, body, and community of their owners that they spark a relationship that can only be described as love.
The Danish and Dutch can call them vacuum cleaners all they want; but I’ll never see any of my bikes solely as useful tools. I love them, I love riding them, and I love the places — both literally and figuratively — they’ve taken me.
I hope everyone has a lovely day and I hope a bicycle is part of it.