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Old, Fat, and Out of Shape

August 7, 2015

At special town meeting last night we discussed a portion of the road and green redesign for our town center. A central question was whether we should push for yet more parking and maintain an existing shortcut for drivers. One person speaking in opposition tried to make the case for how ridiculous it was to expect people not to drive, because after all, he’s not as young as he used to be.

That is, being old, fat and out of shape is supposed to be a good reason to not ride a bicycle. This is bullshit. Being old, fat, and out of shape is one of the best reasons to ride a bicycle. It’s one of the main reasons I ride a bicycle so much now.

I didn’t speak at town meeting, though I do in fact know a proven solution to most of the problems that worried people, because most people are too damn scared of change. Lots of people talked about their problems with backed up traffic in town center; I never have that problem on my bicycle, I just filter through. Lots of people talked about the difficulty of finding parking; I never have that problem on my bicycle, I just lock it up any old where (“but what if everybody did that?” “If everybody rode bikes, we’d steal 5 parking spaces and convert them to space for 60 bicycles. We need more problems like that.”)

Again, if your only problem with biking is that you’re “too” old, fat, and out of shape, you are looking at it all backwards. And if there’s no good places to ride, complain to your selectmen, complain to your town meeting members; plenty of them are tremendously worried that driving – in 4-wheeled, armored, shock-absorbing, climate-controlled motorized comfy chairs – might be so inconvenient that people would just drive somewhere else to do their shopping. I don’t think it’s the least bit unreasonable to request that the roads at least feel safe to ride a bike on.

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