I have had this post on my docket for quite some time. My bike has made me fall into a crowd of folks who I otherwise wouldn’t get to know. This is a deep personal note and not one that I am trying to blanket across other’s experiences. But, let me explain.
Through the course of this past year I have started bike commuting daily and being more of a bike advocate. This has brought me into different crowds in DC and VA and has made me grow as a more rounded person. I’m a little different for a couple of reasons, the former being more prevalent and what I am focusing more on. I am an unabashed Republican and also regular church goer and thus have given my life to Jesus Christ. I make no apologies for those things and anyone who knows me for at least a little while will come to know that.
A person can choose to embrace something or someone(s) or choose to exclude him or herself from new crowd. Through the past year I have seen, heard and been a victim of different opinions and views of what makes me in the minority in the bike community. On the flip side, many of my non-bike friends don’t understand why I do what I do or look at me a little oddly when I tell them what I do.
I have come to realize though that bikes and the people who ride them are in a common bond with one another and that is really special. A lot of the backlash that is happening on Capitol Hill and culturally is brought on folks that are afraid of change and the preconceived notions of those “other folks” hinder progress. Together, I have learned through my faith and coming into contact with other fantastic people I would not normally meet, that getting “messy” and involved in other people’s lives is where one grows.
To that end, I once heard a short audiobook of a teenager that just graduated from high-school, walked across the country all on foot. The item I remember most about the book was that in each town he visited, the folks who helped him with food, shelter etc would say
“don’t go to that part of town…they will take the shirt off your back” or “those people have everything, they don’t care about us”.
The boy would then the next day visit those daunting parties and the conceived notions would be totally off base and proved wrong exponentially. Moral of the story was that most folks stay away from one another due to fear and change and that all people are inherently good.
I put this notion to the test on my ride to Harpers Ferry this past May. I made a point to engage each new person I met along the way in deep conversation and to quickly get to know them. From the hikers to the store owners all were very inquisitive of my (very short) journey. All were caring, all were friendly. Others who have gone across the country will have a more solid story but I had a little taste of it.
I love when scared parties come together and I have loved being part of the #bikeDC community and can’t wait to get to know others in the community a little more. To know so many types of people is really cool. I have to say thank you for so many people in the area who have taught me so much about this lifestyle.
See you on the trail everyone and thanks for listening if you’ve made it this far.