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    Cars, Destinations, Media, and Boredom

    Ever wondered where all that traffic is going and why they're in such a hurry? Why is it that sometimes people are content in the process of going somewhere and sometimes they get bored and impatient in the 'void' between A and B? Cars and fast roads are popular because of the dream to spend less time traveling longer distances. Once people are able to travel 50 miles in under an hour though, they are soon planning trips of 100 miles, 200, 300, etc. and wishing to drive 90mph instead of 55, 65, 70, etc.

    Media seems to be both a cure and an exacerbation of boredom. Smart phones and DVD players give people something to attend to while in transit, yet the expectation of constant entertainment also seems to impair people's innate ability to find peace, amusement, and contentment without an external aide.

    To what extent do you think boredom and the fear thereof is the driver of the modern will to drive everywhere? Are there other factors besides expectations of speed in vehicular travel and media that stimulate and feed impatience? Are people being 'spoiled' in other ways in terms of diversions and entertainment, for example in schools and workplaces?

    Does more quiet time force us to calm our nerves and develop mental habits of patience instead impatience? Should schools and workplaces institute more moments of quiet and relative social isolation, as was common in decades past, for the sake of taming the wild and impatient human mind? Or do you think people can achieve peace, contentment, and patience by other means?

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    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
    Media seems to be both a cure and an exacerbation of boredom. Smart phones and DVD players give people something to attend to while in transit, yet the expectation of constant entertainment also seems to impair people's innate ability to find peace, amusement, and contentment without an external aide.
    The "Media" also permits bored characters, in the quiet and relative social isolation of their easy chair, to type way their dreams and fantasies, as well as frustrations/impatience with living in the real world, and the whole world can instantly share those electrons.

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    Senior Member loky1179's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
    Ever wondered where all that traffic is going and why they're in such a hurry? Why is it that sometimes people are content in the process of going somewhere and sometimes they get bored and impatient in the 'void' between A and B? Cars and fast roads are popular because of the dream to spend less time traveling longer distances. Once people are able to travel 50 miles in under an hour though, they are soon planning trips of 100 miles, 200, 300, etc. and wishing to drive 90mph instead of 55, 65, 70, etc.
    How timely! I just spent 14 hours in a car yesterday, driving 900 miles from (A) Montana to (B) Minnesota. "Void" is an apt description of North Dakota .

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    I used to love long car trips and plane rides across continents and oceans. Sometimes I felt like I was getting away from something rather than moving toward it. It was pretty fun and exciting at that time.

    Nowadays I prefer to travel for depth more than distance. I stay in my own state, or even more in my own county. Not so excititng, but more interesting and relaxing. Maybe I've changed because I'm getting old, but I think it's just changing preferences. I know other people who stayed put all their lives, then started traveling the world after they retired.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

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    Quote Originally Posted by loky1179 View Post
    How timely! I just spent 14 hours in a car yesterday, driving 900 miles from (A) Montana to (B) Minnesota. "Void" is an apt description of North Dakota .
    Just think of the pleasure of making that trip instead by bicycle, especially in January. Would definitely give you something to contemplate.

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    Senior Member loky1179's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Just think of the pleasure of making that trip instead by bicycle, especially in January. Would definitely give you something to contemplate.
    I actually WOULD like to make the trip by bicycle; January would simply be an added challenge!

    Edit: My wife, 8 year old son, and 2 year old dog may feel differently!

    My sister lives in MT, and when we drove out there last summer, we saw some bicycle tourists on on I-94. They had an insane tailwind, and looked to be riding close to 30mph. Now, if they had happened to be riding the other direction . . . I think they'd be able to intelligently comment on the virtue of patience.
    Last edited by loky1179; 03-28-15 at 09:53 AM.

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loky1179 View Post
    They had an insane tailwind, and looked to riding close to 30mph. Now, if they had happened to be riding the other direction . . . I think they'd be able to intelligently comment on the virtue of patience.
    One thing you learn in carfree travel is that you need to be adaptable and a little flexible with your schedule. One reason people prefer cars is that they see them as being more reliable and predictable.

    Of course, you probably saw more than one car stuck in the breakdown lane. Those poor motorists might end up spending a day or two in some God forsaken prairie town!


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    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loky1179 View Post
    I actually WOULD like to make the trip by bicycle; January would simply be an added challenge!

    Edit: My wife, 8 year old son, and 2 year old dog may feel differently!
    I assume they made the trip with you in March, in your automobile.
    Do you think you would enjoy the "void" North Dakota scenery if you were being challenged with crossing it both ways by bicycle?

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    Senior Member loky1179's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    One thing you learn in carfree travel is that you need to be adaptable and a little flexible with your schedule. One reason people prefer cars is that they see them as being more reliable and predictable.
    This, rather than boredom, or a lack of patience.

    People who are working full time are really crunched for time. That's WHY I commute by bicycle - otherwise I would not have the time and energy to get some exercise.

    I'm at the tail end of a two week vacation. Maybe just barely long enough to ride to Montana, were I to fly home. I haven't had three consecutive weeks off in about 15 years.

    A woman I work with, who's about my age (early 50s), told me she's NEVER taken two weeks off!

    I'd love it if we in the USA had vacation like they do in Europe; but we don't. I think this is one reason why we're in a hurry - not enough time (and money).

    I visit my sister because it is cheap - free lodging (thanks sis!). We drove because it is cheap - approx $120 in gas vs $1500 for three of us humans to fly (not sure what'd they charge for the 80 lb dog).

    There are great stops along the way - Theodore Roosevelt Nat'l park, Little Bighorn battlefield, etc, etc. I could spend days at each, but it really drives the cost way up (hotels, meals, time), so we seldom stop.

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    Senior Member wolfchild's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
    Ever wondered where all that traffic is going and why they're in such a hurry?
    Don't wonder, you should just go up to them and ask where they are going and then you'll know for sure. It's easy to wonder and imagine and assume, but we don't really know for sure unless you talk to them and ask few questions...I think you worry and concern yourself too much with what other people are doing and how other people are living their lives.

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    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
    ...I think you worry and concern yourself too much with what other people are doing and how other people are living their lives.
    Or imagine what other people are doing and how other people are living their lives.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
    Does more quiet time force us to calm our nerves and develop mental habits of patience instead impatience? Should schools and workplaces institute more moments of quiet and relative social isolation, as was common in decades past, for the sake of taming the wild and impatient human mind? Or do you think people can achieve peace, contentment, and patience by other means?
    In the first grade we had nap time after lunch. We all laid on blankets on the floor. I think it was 1/2 hour. The teacher pulled down the blinds and managed to get everybody quiet in a few minutes. After that you're alone with your thoughts. That fosters being reflective and getting deeper lessons from what's been going on recently.

    Now, with nobody holding a paddle and telling me to lie down and be quiet, it doesn't happen so regularly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    One thing you learn in carfree travel is that you need to be adaptable and a little flexible with your schedule. One reason people prefer cars is that they see them as being more reliable and predictable.

    Of course, you probably saw more than one car stuck in the breakdown lane. Those poor motorists might end up spending a day or two in some God forsaken prairie town!
    Whereas the people riding bicycles spend seven days staying in some God forsaken prairie towns! And don't even have a breakdown...

    Travel in any form is what you make it. When we travel, we try to plan to take the less-beaten paths and have gone out of our way to see various natural and historic features, whether it's by car, bike or train.

    We are about to set off on an Easter break that will involve driving to catch a ferry that will overnight us across a stretch of water, and then we will drive to our destination where we will ride our folding bikes on a hub-and-spoke tour. Essentially, the trip is to clear out the remnants of our storage unit in the town where we used to live... the stuff that would not fit in the container that had everything else. We will stuff the items we are keeping in the van, put the watercraft on top and drive and ferry home again.

    The last time we went across to organise the move in October, we flew and rented a van. But because we want to bring stuff home with us, that was not practical. And besides, I like travelling by ferry, the trip gives us a chance to catch up with old friends, we will get to see some more of an area we like, and enjoy ourselves.

    To do the trip entirely by bicycle would be impossible within the time constraints (we'd get there and have to turn around straight away to return home again) and the practicality/cost of moving the stuff.

    The simple fact is that personal transportation has been around for millennia. Things like litters, boats, horses and donkeys, horse-drawn carriages, bikes, and cars. And personal transport will exist into the future. No amount of desire by a small group of individuals will change that... and certainly the concept of the car isn't going to change significantly over coming generations, just the power sources.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  14. #14
    Senior Member loky1179's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    I assume they made the trip with you in March, in your automobile.
    Do you think you would enjoy the "void" North Dakota scenery if you were being challenged with crossing it both ways by bicycle?
    As others have pointed out many times, if you can enjoy the journey, rather than be focused on the destination, it makes for a much more enjoyable trip. Most of us, most of the time, have to be focused on the destination - getting to Montana, getting to work everyday, getting to wherever it is we are going. We are limited by time and money.

    This particular trip (as well as most trips by automobile), we were focused on the destination. Trips by bicycle, because of the nature of cycling, must have a greater focus on the appreciation of the journey.

    For most trips of any distance, if getting there fast is your main priority, the bicycle is not the tool to accomplish that.

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    Senior Member loky1179's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walter S View Post
    In the first grade we had nap time after lunch. We all laid on blankets on the floor. I think it was 1/2 hour. The teacher pulled down the blinds and managed to get everybody quiet in a few minutes. After that you're alone with your thoughts. That fosters being reflective and getting deeper lessons from what's been going on recently.

    Now, with nobody holding a paddle and telling me to lie down and be quiet, it doesn't happen so regularly.
    I'm pretty sure there are people you can hire to hold a paddle and . . . . .

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    Thanks to everyone who has responded so far. I have enjoyed reading your posts.

    Quote Originally Posted by loky1179 View Post
    How timely! I just spent 14 hours in a car yesterday, driving 900 miles from (A) Montana to (B) Minnesota. "Void" is an apt description of North Dakota .
    Roads I would have considered boring when I used to drive now seem more interesting to me since I've learned to focus in on the details, plants, trees, houses, etc. I don't know how much of that focus comes from having more consciousness-per-100ft to look around or whether it's a mental compensation mechanism for preventing boredom while cycling . . . or whether it just comes with age and experience. Maybe it's a combination of those factors and more.

    Is North Dakota really that boring? Is there no heterogeneity in the trees and land/forest formations? The only areas I find really boring are the ones where all the lawns, greenery, and architecture are highly manicured. Still, there are often special trees, shrubs, or architectural constructions that are interesting for one reason or another.

    Could it be the 14 hours in the same car that causes the boredom, coupled with the inability to pay attention to what's whizzing by at 70mph? Or is that area really especially boring for some reason?


    Quote Originally Posted by loky1179 View Post
    As others have pointed out many times, if you can enjoy the journey, rather than be focused on the destination, it makes for a much more enjoyable trip. Most of us, most of the time, have to be focused on the destination - getting to Montana, getting to work everyday, getting to wherever it is we are going. We are limited by time and money.
    The irony is when I see recurrent recessions interspersed with periods of stimulus-induced growth and debt-spending, I conclude that the economy is pushing people to give up driving but too few are. Then I hear from people all the time that they have to work two jobs or lots of hours at one job to afford their bills, but of course their bills include all the automotive costs and other costs that are high because of all the salaries that have to be paid so people can afford their automotive costs.

    So I wonder how the economy is ever supposed to allow people to give up their cars and spend less money if the same economy pushes people to rush around driving everywhere to make money. I know there are those of us who find a way to downsize and live car free but I wonder what it takes for everyone to have the option. Is it more a question of a widespread change in mental attitude or do we need economic governance that requires us to integrate more free time into our schedules?

    Judging from what I see, there isn't much chance of people widely choosing to take more free time in 'the free market.' This is ironic since it is supposedly the free market that allows people to decide for themselves how much to work and when, etc. Of course, I've been saying for years that corporate and employer-autocratic structuring and scheduling prevent the free market from actually being free, but even economists don't seem to get it.

    For most trips of any distance, if getting there fast is your main priority, the bicycle is not the tool to accomplish that.
    I just avoid traveling if I can't get there by bike or public transit in a reasonable time. Human geography has evolved around the automobile for the last century so if we all keep voting to maintain this geography by giving into driving, it will persist. If, on the other hand, everyone chose to only go where they could go by bike or transit, the geography would evolve to fit that norm instead. Obviously no individual controls widespread social norms by themselves but if each of our votes counts, which it does, I choose not to vote for what I don't want.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
    To what extent do you think boredom and the fear thereof is the driver of the modern will to drive everywhere?
    The driver for hyper-mobility is consumption.

  18. #18
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
    Ever wondered where all that traffic is going and why they're in such a hurry?
    Well ... since a good portion of the traffic I have observed are work vehicles ... I would have to assume they are going to work, or going home from work.

  19. #19
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
    Don't wonder, you should just go up to them and ask where they are going and then you'll know for sure. It's easy to wonder and imagine and assume, but we don't really know for sure unless you talk to them and ask few questions...I think you worry and concern yourself too much with what other people are doing and how other people are living their lives.
    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Or imagine what other people are doing and how other people are living their lives.
    +1

    Really ... who cares where the traffic is going and what they are doing. That's their business.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
    Is North Dakota really that boring?
    You should go there. In general, you should travel more. Your ideas are based on a lifetime in Florida, and often simply do not apply to what's happening in the rest of the world. If you travelled more, you would have a much more well-rounded perspective.

  21. #21
    Senior Member loky1179's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    +1

    Really ... who cares where the traffic is going and what they are doing. That's their business.
    Unless you are sitting behind them in traffic. Then you start to wonder. Of course, at that point, you're not going anywhere .. very fast anyway.

  22. #22
    Senior Member loky1179's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
    Thanks to everyone who has responded so far. I have enjoyed reading your posts.


    Roads I would have considered boring when I used to drive now seem more interesting to me since I've learned to focus in on the details, plants, trees, houses, etc. I don't know how much of that focus comes from having more consciousness-per-100ft to look around or whether it's a mental compensation mechanism for preventing boredom while cycling . . . or whether it just comes with age and experience. Maybe it's a combination of those factors and more.

    Is North Dakota really that boring?
    North Dakota is not really that boring - unless you are trying to get across it as fast as possible in a car. That's why I put the smiley face on my post.

    It is fun to rip on neighboring states (I-Like-to-Bike's Iowa is a favorite target!), but really, when you have a chance to learn about the areas you're traveling through, there is no end to the interesting stories.

    I took an American Geography course in college; my professor always said he'd love to do a tour of the American plains, North to South - generally the portion of the country considered to be the most boring geographically. Having just bicycled across South Dakota, I had to agree with him.

    And that is the difference between a bicycle and a car. Bicycle across a state, and you'll come away with story after story of people who approached you to tell you their stories. Drive across a state, and you'll remember the gas stations that had the dirtiest restrooms.

  23. #23
    Senior Member wolfchild's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    If you travelled more, you would have a much more well-rounded perspective.
    Why travel and experience reality, when it's easier to sit on a computer and type posts and replys based on imagination, fantasy and unrealistic pipedreams ??.

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    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    You should go there. In general, you should travel more. Your ideas are based on a lifetime in Florida, and often simply do not apply to what's happening in the rest of the world. If you travelled more, you would have a much more well-rounded perspective.
    Just hop on a bicycle and go, nothing to it! If the OP leaves now he might get to North Dakota just in time to enjoy leisurely riding in the January Blizzards; no, make that Northern Sunshine, all it takes is imagination!

  25. #25
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Just hop on a bicycle and go, nothing to it! If the OP leaves now he might get to North Dakota just in time to enjoy leisurely riding in the January Blizzards; no, make that Northern Sunshine, all it takes is imagination!
    +1

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