"There's the superhero, there's the superhero! Hey what's up superhero?" the check out girl at the grocery store says to me while standing in line for her register. I smile, a little embarrassed. I think, to her, I am a novelty. I am always dressed in biking gear, helmet, glasses, and with the way this winter has been, I am wearing winter gear and have a small backpack with my lights flashing for visibility on the roads I probably look like some comic book character-"Look Ma, it's Bicycle Bill." In the stores I always get a second glance from people. I am use to it. I am a carfree American.
I have to admit, I sometimes feel like a superhero. There is something about being a carfree American that exudes toughness, the type of toughness our ancestors had before the automobile. Back then, to go from point A to point B one had to plan, plan for the weather conditions, time, terrain, clothing, what will be needed, plan for the unknown and be physically fit.
It has been nine years since I first started walking and biking for transportation. Now almost everywhere I go I see people I know and they ask, "Did you ride your bike?" or "Still riding your bike everywhere?" or "We saw you out at so and so location, wow you ride everywhere don't you?" or "Did you walk here or bike?"
I like it the most when parents explain to their children that I walk or bike for transportation. The eyes get big, and the smiles are wide, they look at me and then look at the bike, some understand, some don't, that is OK I think to myself, they will see me on the road sometime and it will click. It does.
I sometimes get another reaction from people. "You rode your bike in this? Your nuts!" or "Your crazy, I could never do that." Yep, I guess I am a little crazy, and I am OK with it.
Anyone can buy and drive a car these days. To walk, or bike, or rely solely on mass transit and be an American who can afford to own a car, just sounds wrong. But it feels right. It is an adventure.
Now when someone says " your nuts for riding in this weather" or "You walked here your crazy." I realize I am doing something very few other people do in the suburbs, but they should try it. You should try it.
I am a carfree American
Here is a little added fun from one of my carlite friends Sam S.
"Now I used to think that I was cool
Running around on fossil fuel
Until I saw what I was doin
Was driving down the road to ruin"