Visiting the Caribbean? Look for us when you go ashore, starting in Aruba.
Meet Bekka Wright. She poses above with one of her two personal bicycles. With her is fellow commuter Stephen Goss. Bekka moved from LA to Boston and in 2011 started a comic strip call 'Bikeyface' to share her experiences, insights and frustrations as a woman bicycle commuter. Below is one of the more recent illustrations from her on-going series archived on Flickr.
Ms. Wright explains on her web site that she started bike commuting occasionally in Los Angeles, but found the compactness, public transit, and traffic congestion in Boston more conducive to doing it full time, allowing her to sell her car and devote, it appears, a growing amount of her time conveying in pictures the highs and lows of being a cyclist in an automobile-dominated culture. Her illustrations express many of same concepts and experiences conveyed in words by other active bicycle rider/bloggers like Eben Weiss (Bike Snob NYC) and Jeff Mapes (Pedaling Revolution).
Since beginning the journey of launching ePEDALER, I have read quite a few books on biking. In fact, I am currently making my way through Pete Jordan's In the City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist, and I'll write about it shortly. But what you learn from all these writers is that when you begin bicycling in earnest, you enter a different world. Your perspective changes. What's important to you as a cyclist is completely different from that of a motorist. Your senses are heightened. You're more intimately aware of your surroundings. And you suddenly find yourself in a minority class and the butt of many of the same biases and prejudices minorities, whether racial, religious or otherwise continually have to deal with, some of it earned because of the actions of few thoughtless jerks, but most of it simply a reflection of the majority's ignorance and the resulting lack of empathy.
As more of us crowd into cities and the place of the automobile in that environment becomes less and less tenable, more sustainable forms of mobility, like the bicycle and, in ePEDALER's case, the electric-bicycle, are again exerting themselves. Finding a way to peacefully and safely co-exist with trucks and buses and street cars and, yes, private automobiles, is becoming an increasingly urgent challenge.
If you're an active cyclist, you'll appreciate Bikeyface's humor. If you're a motorist, and most of us in America are, then you'll find it an easy education that, in pictures, conveys what biking writers take thousands of words to express.
Do yourself and the rest of us - motorists and bike riders alike - a favor and take 15-20 minutes to look through Bikeyface's Flickr photostream. It will be worth your while. Trust me.