A very good post!!I'd like to chime in on this thread .
I'm 16. Driving fever is starting to pick up with some of my more outgoing acquaintances. This occuring just as I discovered a love for cycling. In May I aggressively looking for a bike on craigslist that had drop style handlebars and "looked cool and went fast". I found it, and after that I discovered a newfound freedom. Ever since I was young I've been completely fascinated by public transit. I love the ebb and flow of the city, the energy that occurs from it, the compact demeanor of urban cities. I fell in love young. Yet sadly, I live about 20 miles south of that, in suburban Carson. Though luckily, I'm 30 minutes away from the ebb and flow; there is a train station 2 miles from my house. Yet the only thing that made me even consider driving was the fact that the bus to the train was so far. Same thing with the bus to school, took forever. Then came cycling.
With the bicycle, I found the aforementioned newfound freedom. I was able to go everywhere I needed without the stress associated with being in my mom's car listening to music I didn't like blaring through the speakers . I live 4.2 miles from school; I arrive in 16 minutes. I work at the Pike in Long Beach; the ride to the train station is 7 minutes, and the train ride is 22 minutes. If I want to go to LA, 7 minutes, 35 minute train ride. I am neither mired by time constraints nor bus schedules. Distance never stops me from getting anywhere I want. And neither does money. I work once a week for only four hours and get paycheck of around $60 every two weeks, which makes me more than happy. I neither have to send that money away to foreign oil interests, nor to the state of California. My stress levels, paycheck, and overall peace of mind is in my control.
Not only that, but the bicycle fits my lifestyle. I've never been the one to hop from party to party constantly, though I do enjoy the occasional outing. I plan my days down to the last detail; planning a few minutes to organize my bag so it doesn't feel weird on my back is simply another minute or two to prepare in the morning. When I'm riding in crosstown traffic, I am able to float about across town, my head in the clouds and listening intently to whatever soothes or excites me. The traffic is forever manageable; my legs in a repetitive, therapeutic cyclical motion. To put it short, one could find beauty in riding down the busiest of thoroughfares.
So in short, when my mom approached me with the prospect of getting a license, I thought about it for all of two seconds, smiled, and said "No thanks." 'Why in the world would a 16 year old turn down a license?' You might ask? Because cycling makes me happy. Traffic pisses people off, stress levels explode, and tensions rise. Driving makes people afraid of others. Driving limits your desire to go beyond certain distances to find the new, unique, and undiscovered. On a bicycle, this is simply not the case. Man was born with two legs; cars have only been around for less than a century. It isn't natures way for people to be cooped up in a metal contraption, unaware and afraid of everything outside their steel metal oblivion. And while many find it far-fetched to live a car free lifestyle for life, I simply turn their attention to places who have been doing so for decades, even centuries. Japan, Amsterdam, Sweden, London, New York City, Portland, the list goes on and on. And if a car-free lifestyle is what I desire, then one of these towns shall be the first stop to my brighter tomorrow. A stress-free tomorrow.