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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

We Ride in a Liminal Space

Here's one that was written a while back inresponse to some posting somewhere. I can't decide whether to call it "The American Pedestrian," or "A Cowboy Without A Horse," or something else. Without being explicit about it, this is the justification for cyclist violating traffic laws, like running stop signs and red lights, and why counter-cultures are important. There is more to say about this last bit though, because staying too long in the liminal space is tantamount to refusing to grow up, or being adolescent, or just naive. Paul Farmer and Susan Sontag, come on down...

We're all about radical acceptance and ruthless pragmatism now. That's the new thinking, and it really is different from the old thinking.


Cars take up so many resources that all the other modes of tranportation get ignored. For peds, it's a bummer. A person walking is virtually defenseless, and really can't get very far, very fast. The American pedestrian is a cowboy without a horse.

A person with a bike, on the other hand, is perfectly scaled to the urban environment. She can get herself where she needs to go, squeeze through tight spots and traffic jambs, sprint out of harm's way, and generally have a good time doing it (and get a decent workout).

Cars are regulated because they kill people on a regular basis. When bikes start doing that, I'll be happy to pay my registration fee and sit for a license. It's nice to inhabit a liminal space. It is the traditional hang-out of the Other, and the locus of freedom in increasingly commodified culture.

And that's why bicycle culture is great.

That's the point: stop whining. Get a bike.

----- End forwarded message -----

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