Monday, March 05, 2007

Truth in advertising

Television commercials for cars promise lots of things: Fun, convenience, exhilaration, power, speed, control, happiness even sex appeal if only you will part with a year's pay to buy one of their infernal machines. It's bullshit of course. When you read about people's experience of driving in this town they usually use words like frustration, stress, helplessness, rage and delay. Being in a car in traffic is like being trapped in a cage. It's a distressing experience. Then there's the pollution you're causing...

The feelings that I have when I get on my bike to go to and from work are much closer to those portrayed in the car advertisements. Freedom to go whenever I want, to travel at whatever speed I want, the satisfaction of cruising over hills like they're not there because my muscles are used to doing that ride every day. Just being fit makes you feel really happy. As for weaving through stalled traffic, that is hugely satisfying. Forging ahead while the rest of the herd just sits and fumes, it makes me laugh out loud sometimes to see the lemmings madly struggling with each other to get their huge vehicles a few metres ahead only to be stopped again at the next set of lights. They all look so unhappy.

I love greeting other cyclists along the way, there's a sense of shared adventure when you see another rider, there is often a quick chat at the lights, a smile and a wave from total strangers that you would normally never speak to in a big city like Sydney. Car drivers seem to loath one another...

Sometimes it's tough. It rains, the wind blows in your face and you do have to watch out for the hurtling metal boxes, but it's more than worth it. It makes you feel so alive, like life is worth living, worth a bit of effort. Riding in the rain is a beautiful thing, the city is washed clean, the smells of wet grass and trees are fresh and vibrant, not to mention the lovely hissing sound your tires make in the quiet streets.

1 comment:

Treadly&Me said...

And I couldn't agree more!

Thanks for that.