Happy 2011! It’s still the start of a new year and something to be excited about. A time to feel optimistic (hopefully) to move forward with refreshed visions. We hope everyone ended 2010 with a greater sense of what we want for the future of our communities and ourselves, especially here in Detroit.
Since there is nothing more futuristic than hover cars and flying ships that take us to places we have never gone before we might as well face it…this is not the future we envisioned when we were six or forty years ago, no matter what age you are. Fender Bender Detroit has discovered one form of transportation that can and does take us places no person has gone before…the bicycle! Our vision for the future is Mobile! A mobile bike shop as well as being mobile by bike.
Have you ever gotten on your bike during a sunny day like the first one of spring? When the sun truly warms your face and you begin to thaw and you remember that you are a nice person smiling and saying hello. The air is almost humid and your mind drifts from the obligations of the day and all the stress of deadlines or phone calls does not exist (cuz your smart phone is on silent in your back pocket hopefully). The independent empowerment of self-sufficient travel creates a timeless space and sense that anything is possible. The only real moments are the ones happening right now. During these moments we come in tune with our inner selves and our instincts. We remember how easy it is to get around without a car.
When I am riding on days like this and other days too, even in the rain, my sense of time changes. I invent time and create time that I did not have before. I extend each second to minutes and minutes can become hours. Then I realize as I rush around in my car on a self-inflicted mission like a wound, that I’m in a hurry to nowhere fast. I am convinced biking can reinvent worlds. Not only can our sense of time be affected by cycling but largely how we communicate and intereact with our neighborhoods. Even if you are shy it’s almost impossible to pass people while biking and not say a “how ya do.” You’ll have more contact with people than while in a car. Even if you are not an observer (which I believe we all are) it is likely that you will notice more while biking.
You may even begin to envision future plans of how space, land and buildings could be used in your neighborhood/city. You may have hallucinations of a community garden or public park area. Or perhaps prophetically predict a four corner stop sign to slow down speedy traffic. Or maybe a co-op market in place of the vacant liquor store. You may even become overwhelmed with a sense of ownership and investment in the neighborhood that could result in creating a neighborhood coalition of people looking out for one another and having monthly dinners together. Biking allows anothing to become possible! Can you see it now?
The next time you’re on a ride envsion your bicycle as a vehicle of time travel. You are in the best postion to see, feel, smell, touch and sense countless possibilities that await in an abondoned building, vacant lot, old fencing, community centers, churches, a mulberry tree and cracks in the sidewalk. Up close and personal. You may find yourself stopping to take a closer view or the taste the berries that otherwise may have never existed to you in your car. You see now how a bicycle can alter one’s reality: allowing us to become part of experiences that do not engage with us while traveling in an interior, protecting us from sometimes the very things we should be connecting to: ourselves, each other and nature.