judgment day

Stuff, stuff, stuff, things… One of the things that constantly plays on my mind and emotions is the the need to judge one another on the the materials and ‘things’ we own, will own, or even to an extent, what we want to own. Notice I say own, not have. Own in the since that there is a monetary value. I have many things in my life, but not all has monetary value. You cannot place value on happiness, love, family, and joy.

One example that stands out the most is transportation. What you drive, how far you drive it, and how much it costs for your preferred mode of transportation. A common question I receive is almost word for word “your ride a bike to work and for errands… can you not afford a car?” Depending on the person, as if I can tell if they will be able to have a semi intelligent conversation or not, my normal response is “you think I’m poor because I have made the CHOICE to go by bicycle…” Or something of the like. If I feel they will just continue to judge me, I will say something like “yup, too poor, you must feel better now, pointing out that I travel by different means.” This normally gets people tongue tied and I leave with the satisfaction that I will get exercise and be able to enjoy nature a little more because of the choice I have made.

I am not saying I am a argumentative person, or have a ego complex or feel superior than anyone because of the choices I make in my life, I just feel its disgusting to judge someone based on what they drive, or don’t drive. Most of the time, my comments start a conversation and discussion on why I have made this choice, and most of the time, I feel I have been able to educate someone on bicycle advocacy and safety regarding automobiles and bicycles sharing the same streets, as in my town bike lanes and for the most part, even shoulders are non-existant.

Regardless of why we commute by bike, or even use the bicycle as the main mode of transportation, either by choice or by necessity due to financial situations, why should anyone judge a persons situation or reasonings just by the image of us on a bicycle for something other than for recreation. As an example, I have a friend who has a very well paying job, three automobiles, including two $40k BMW’s, who commutes to his job on a bike that cost him around $100. Should we assume he is rich when he is in his car, and poor when he is on his bike, or makes less then me because the bike I use for 95% of my transportation needs (not only commuting, but all needs) costs closer to $2,000? Should we assume that I make more than him, or that I’m only kinda poor, but he is really poor? I think not. By the way, and not that it matters, just proves a point, he makes much more than me. What matters is that he make a choice, either for personal reasons, or by necessity. That choice was his, and only his.

The public sees a bicycle as transportation for the destitute. I think its time we change that. Our choices are our choices, and they really only matter to us. Coffee Shop Dan I call him, a local bicycle commuter has a decent job, even owns his own company, commutes by bike. I don’t know his financial situation, why he rides what he rides, or why he rides at all besides he says he enjoys it. My point? The only way I “judge” him, and I use that very loosely, is that he is riding his bike, and not driving his car the 2 miles to the coffee shop, like many many others do. I do not judge them either for driving, but if they ask me why I ride, I hope they listen. If one person listens, that is maybe, just maybe, one more person that will consider using a different mode of transportation. Even if just for a short errand for the morning paper, grocery store, ect… Those are the baby steps, that one day for some will turn to a jog, then to a run. If I have educated just one person, then I have done my job, as the next time they see a cyclist, hopefully there will be no judgments passed.

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2 Responses to “judgment day”

  1. I love this bike. Nice work!

  2. Thanks… Its a constant work in progress. Things change almost monthly. Current change is a SA 5spd hub and Sun Dyno front hub waiting to be built once I choose what rims I want. I amy blog the wheel building process, but not sure yet. Its nothing new, but many who read this aren’t wrenches, so it might help them out. Also, I may go with North Road or Albatros bars, instead of the upside down Nitto Mustache bars. Again, not sure as I would need new levers. But those Dia Compe inverse levers, or even Dia Compe Guidonnet Levers on their Porteut bars with a steeper stem.

    Always changing. Sometimes I wish I could just leave well enough alone. But I have a sickness, lol

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