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Old 08-03-06, 09:53 AM   #1
Brian Ratliff
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Heros on Bicycles

This is posted on BikePortland.org here:

Quote:
Are cyclists heroes?

Posted by Elicia Cardenas on August 1st, 2006

[The following ode was written by new contributor Elicia Cardenas and was originally published to the Shift email list almost one year ago. She wrote it in response to someone who questioned why some cyclists act like heroes or “holier than thou” once astride their bicycles. In the future Elicia will be writing about bike infrastructure, advocacy, and other geeky stuff. Welcome Elicia!]


I am heroic because I ride my bike. All of us are.

I am a hero because every day someone almost kills me while I am trying to get to work.

I am a hero because a car swerved into the bike lane and almost hit me, and I kept riding.

I am a hero because I ride even though I have a big bag and wet rain gear that smells a bit and it makes other people uncomfortable.

I am a hero because everyone I know who isn’t a cyclist thinks I’m crazy.

I am a hero because I am trying to make my community safer by staying out of a motor vehicle.

I am a hero because I am trying to make my city more livable by staying out of a single occupancy vehicle.

I am a hero because I am not contributing to air pollution.

I am a hero because I am not contributing to the oil economy that is driving the war in Iraq.

I am a hero because I see my neighbors face to face when I’m on my bike, and I can say hello.

I am a hero because I set a good example when I ride my bike.

I am a hero because I volunteer and participate in my community in whatever ways I can.

Everyone is a hero when they ride their bike.

I am not holier than thou.

I am just a cyclist trying to make the world safer for cycling every time I get on my bike.

That is heroic enough for me.
...something to think about.
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Old 08-03-06, 10:49 AM   #2
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Right on! I've always thought that we're entitled to be just a wee bit proud of what we do every day. I don't think I'm a "hero" because most people are perfectly capable of bike commuting; it's not an extraordinary act of physical prowess or bravery or anything. It's just a matter of being willing to change your attitudes about the way we move our bodies from one place to another.
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Old 08-03-06, 11:50 AM   #3
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I am a hero because every day someone almost kills me while I am trying to get to work.
If this is true, she's not a hero, she's a suicidal idiot.

False statements like this do a lot to set back cycling. And this is from a new "advocate"! What hope do we have when our advocates seem to be doing everything they can to discourage people from cycling?
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Old 08-03-06, 11:58 AM   #4
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I am not a hero.
I am simply an imperfect man trying to live his life the best way he knows how.

Our society banters "hero" about way too much. Save it for those that are actual heros. However, a real hero generally denies being a hero.

Still, the intent of the article appears honorable.
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Old 08-03-06, 12:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DataJunkie
I am not a hero.
I am simply an imperfect man trying to live his life the best way he knows how.

Our society banters "hero" about way too much. Save it for those that are actual heros. However, a real hero generally denies being a hero.
AMEN! Sounds like a cyclist with a holyer than though attitude and an inflated sense of self worth.
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Old 08-03-06, 12:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OH306
AMEN! Sounds like a cyclist with a holyer than though attitude and an inflated sense of self worth.
Agreed, and a vandal of the English Language. I've done lots of things on my bike that come closer to being a 'hero'. At least some of the things I've done could put me in the 'knight in shining armor' list. But I can not recall any that rise to the level of hero. Come to tink about it nothing I've ever done rises to that level and few even come close.
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Old 08-03-06, 12:46 PM   #7
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I think it is important to note that each time we are nearly squished we put the pedals down and keep going and we'll do it again the next day. Yes, Hero is a bit more emphatic word than I'd of used but the statement is valid that each time we ride our bikes instead of driving our cars(even if they are beautiful like my newly accquired 1960 Valiant) we are helping the world out, just a little bit. It's true that we must stay humble, but being humble does not mean that we have to downplay our mitzvah's to the world as bicyclists.
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Old 08-03-06, 12:48 PM   #8
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I found that post to be somewhat obsequious.
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Old 08-03-06, 01:31 PM   #9
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On the other hand, when someone calls you "holier than thou," there's usually a grain of jealousy in there. It's not that you're doing something bad; it's that you're doing something good with a bad attitude.

I hate self-righteousness as much as the next person, but I do think cycle commuters make sacrifices, and it's nice once in a while to have those sacrifices acknowledged. No, that didn't come out right. Car drivers make plenty of "sacrifices" too (money for car payments/gas/maintenance, suffering through traffic jams and other annoyances, breathing fumes, finding a parking spot, etc.). But the difference is those sacrifices aren't doing the environment any good; they're just part of the problem. And they're usually seen as sacrifices that are worth the tradeoffs of convenience and comfort. That doesn't cut it for me.
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Old 08-03-06, 01:52 PM   #10
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I am a hero because I am a submarine sandwich
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Old 08-03-06, 02:41 PM   #11
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I know the author meant well, but "Bleah!"
You rode your bike to work, you didn't run into a burning building to save a child.
This is the kind of drivel that makes non-cyclists think we are a bunch of self-important a-holes.
Can we please get a little perspective on this overused word.

hero
n 1: a man distinguished by exceptional courage and nobility and
strength; "RAF pilots were the heroes of the Battle of
Britain"
2: the principal character in a play or movie or novel or poem
3: someone who fights for a cause [syn: champion, fighter,
paladin]
4: Greek mathematician and inventor who devised a way to
determine the area of a triangle and who described various
mechanical devices (first century) [syn: Hero, Heron,
Hero of Alexandria]
5: (classical mythology) a being of great strength and courage
celebrated for bold exploits; often the offspring of a
mortal and a god
6: (Greek mythology) priestess of Aphrodite who killed herself
when her lover Leander drowned while trying to swim the
Hellespont to see her [syn: Hero]
7: a large sandwich made of a long crusty roll split lengthwise
and filled with meats and cheese (and tomato and onion and
lettuce and condiments); different names are used in
different sections of the United States
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Old 08-03-06, 02:47 PM   #12
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BARF. it's not heroic. it's good, though. and fun.

if someone almost kills her everyday she needs a new route.
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Old 08-03-06, 02:48 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DataJunkie
Our society banters "hero" about way too much.
Agreed. I've never thought bicycling made me a hero. I do think it made me a better citizen.
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Old 08-03-06, 02:50 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chocula
Agreed. I've never thought bicycling made me a hero. I do think it made me a better citizen.
+1
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Old 08-03-06, 02:55 PM   #15
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Generally, I like it.

My only issue is this: cars are not single occupancy vehicles...they're quadruple to dectuple occupancy vehicles. bikes and motorcycles are generally single to double occupancy vehicles. (occupancy denotes number of seats, not number of people filling them)

we as cyclecommuters avoid the use of cars as single occupancy vehicles. we ourselves have no trouble with single occupancy vehicles, as long as they're the human powered variety.
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Old 08-03-06, 04:16 PM   #16
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I am a selfish son-of-a-***** who rides because it makes me feel good, I enjoy it, it costs me less money, and makes my body look nicer
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Old 08-03-06, 04:32 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SluttyDuck
I am a selfish son-of-a-***** who rides because it makes me feel good, I enjoy it, it costs me less money, and makes my body look nicer
Diogenes will be coming to see you.
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