Inspired by all the YouTube videos I watch about bicycling infrastructure, I was keen to ride my new bike to work. Today I finally managed it. Helmet on, some arugula and a book to return to the library in my wire bike basket, I headed out into a brilliant Spring day.
I biked all the way to work. I'll be biking home later as well.
I think because all these YouTube videos I obsessively watched were mostly about biking in the Netherlands, my brain secretly expected me to be biking through the car limited streets of a quaint, old European town, and along picturesque canals full of ducks. Alas, such was not the case. I saw instead a lot of asphalt. The city was weirdly spread out to a person on a bike. There weren't many plants except maybe when I skirted Como Park, where they merely presented as a wall of greenery. I had to wait freakishly long times at a few massive intersections, and though it was a quiet day in the city, cars infested every inch of it.
I like a car too sometimes. They are convenient, but maybe convenient to a world made for their scale; one spread out, paved, spacious, and cartoony. One not made for close inspection.
It's easy to move through the city in a car usually, and I'm set up for it. I love easy. But when you're a cog in the machine you don't have to see the machine. I liked being on the bike. I liked the air and the exercise and the slight sense of virtue. But I was outside of the machine on my bike. I didn't think it would all be so ugly. And despite the small and welcome improvements in bike paths and bike lanes from the years past when I last biked these ways, I didn't expect to feel like:
This, this is what my city looks like?