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Day’s Verse:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 6:10-12
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Rear DeraillerFirst, one piece of business. I am going to choose title and last name winners on Sunday morning from the submissions to Romance Novel: Day 27: Title Time. If you have been meaning to suggest anything, this is your time! The cookies will be baked Sunday afternoon and mailed Monday or Tuesday.

Now, the point of this blog.
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Some of you may be wondering if I intend to continue riding after being hit by a car yesterday. I suspect those who know me well (most of you do) probably have realized by this point that I will not stop riding barring an act of God in the form of a blizzard and subfreezing temperatures. I would like to explain why I have become so committed to painfully propelling myself six to 12 miles a day.

Yesterday when I told them I had been hit by a car, my coworkers said, “What are you thinking? Why are you here? You should have taken the day off to recover!” I didn’t actually think of that. Only one person said “So are you going to buy a car now?” and I soundly told them I certainly would not. There are risks associated with everything, driving as much as bicycling, and I am willing to accept the risks associated with bicycling in order to continue. The more I do it, the more I am convinced it’s what I’m meant to be doing for my commute: this is a small way of living out my conviction that we MUST take drastic action to stop global warming and preserve God’s creation.

By riding my bike and taking public transportation, I am living out what I talk about, and that’s crucial. It’s not enough to say, “I drive a hybrid;” that’s a good step, but I firmly believe we need more than a nation of hybrid-drivers. We need a nation of walkers, bicyclists, public-commuters, and carpoolers. We need people who are willing to pay extra for their power (as Ian and I do) to have it come totally from alternative energy sources. We need people who are willing to give up living in their gigantic houses 50 miles from work to instead live close to their workplaces in apartment complexes or high-density mixed-use housing complexes. We need people to lose the idea that they’re entitled to 5,000 square feet; we need to lose the idea that the American dream is owning the right things. The American dream needs to become a paradigm based on relationships, rather than things as it is now — look how happy people are now, and we literally roll in stuff.

By riding my bike as often as I can, I make people start asking themselves if driving a car to work is the only option. We have to start thinking outside “Drive everywhere” mentality to realize that if we lived in smaller communities, we could actually walk to the grocery store, the hardware store, the bank, and the fabric store to do your errands instead of spending an afternoon driving. This is difficult to live out now, but it is possible if we’re willing to give up our big yards to live in cities where such stores pack together more closely. We need to give up on Wal-Mart and Home Depot, on all the gigantic, generic, faceless “bargain” stores that are destroying what used to be distinctive culture in different parts of the country. We are trading individuality for the ability to buy a toaster for $10. The ability to stay in a Best Western, eat at Applebee’s, buy a board at Home Depot, and get a coffee at Starbucks anywhere in the country is not a good thing. It means that the character of our cities is slowly dying as local stores are run out of business by the undercutting practices of those enormous chains.

That is why I will not stop bicycling until I have to and why I will not buy another car. Because God created this world for us to care for, and if I do nothing else, I will live in such a way that reduces my harm to that Creation. I believe that God was watching out for me on Thursday evening by preserving my life and allowing me to walk away barely scratched from a bicyclist’s great fear; I believe that He has validated my conviction by preserving my life in this way. So I will ride the path He has laid out for me and not give up, because my life is not my own. This is just one more way that Christ lives through me.

5 thoughts on “In Defense of Bicycling

  1. Katie,
    Good for you for sticking to your convictions. However, don’t delude yourself about bicycling being as safe as driving. You take extra risks when you bike to work. You can choose to take those risks, but you should be aware of them and so you can think about what you can do to mitigate them.

    Dad

  2. Dad,

    I know I take extra risks. I was trying to say that I’m choosing and accepting those risks in the same way you choose and accept the risks of driving a car — or getting out of bed in the morning.

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