“This is paradise.” –a City employee on living in Albuquerque
“With an average elevation of 5,312 feet, ABQ is the highest U.S. metropolitan city.”
–Albuquerque Change Your Perspective, The Official Visitors Guide 2016 visitabq.org
I expressed concern in my last post, but I feel optimistic about the change we are seeing in Albuquerque and the North American Southwest. Sometimes we worry about intractable problems but a historical perspective shakes us free of any notion that culture is static. It’s always changing and the bicycle is a positive change agent in every sector of society.
It’s true that the bicycle is sometimes seen as an outsider on the road and held to a narrower band of acceptable behavior. We make crazy statements that make no sense, like we could accept bicycles if they would all start following the rules. I say that is crazy since we don’t reject cars just because some drivers don’t follow the rules. When we say things about bicycles it really says more about our attitudes toward a minority than it does about the group we are speaking of. Classic profiling, stigmatizing, stereotyping we see in the pattern of race, class and gender discrimination. What has really surprised me is how many people who bicycle themselves hold these kinds of judgmental views that divide bicyclists up into categories. I’ve been working on dissolving my own prejudices (got ’em!) and I gotta say that this is the consolation of middle age and self examination, that you get to relax and enjoy more freely.
People are people and there is no way to tell us apart without getting to know individuals. Bicycling on the whole recharges my faith in humanity. The positive interactions I have with citizens, the smiles, the shared knowledge, beauty of a given day, mutual admiration, connect on a bicycle. You can make it safer. We are lulled into a complacency enclosed in motor vehicles when in reality the mass of the vehicle plus the speeds make it the most dangerous travel mode. People make extraordinary efforts to safeguard bicyclists and pedestrians on the roadway. The more people out walking and biking, the more beautiful our landscape. Springtime in Albuquerque I can’t think of a better time to ride. Buen provecho, go get those miles and give yourself and your community the best of everything, ride a bicycle!