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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A bicycle can change how you see the world and more

A bicycle can change how you see the world and more
By:  Michael Lander

For some, the bicycle is their primary mode of transportation in and around the City of Memphis to include
some of whom are homeless.

Can a bicycle help change how we see the world or, maybe, in some small way, help to change the world, itself?

The answer to that question may only rely on the degree to which any one of us is willing to allow that to happen.

bicycle, it has been said, is one of the most economical, environmentally-friendly, and the most democratic means of transport available to humanity.

Some have called it mankind’s greatest and
most perfect invention.

However we want to look at it, a bicycle can just about be anything that we want it to be.

In a more obvious and superficial way, riding a bike can change our perspective on how we see the world around us since it is a much more intimate and engaging experience than one gets from being inside a vehicle.

While some ride for fun and recreation, others prefer to have a bicycle for more utilitarian purposes.

On a bike, you see, hear, and smell the environment that you are in and you can feel the warmth of the sun, the sensation of a breeze, and so much more.

A bicycle, however, can do a lot more than just arouse your senses.

In a deeper and more meaningful way, a bicycle has the ability to provide us with an opportunity, like no other mode of transportation, in helping to take us out of our own little worlds and through and into areas where we might not otherwise go. 

A bicycle gives an opportunity to not only open our eyes and our senses to the places that we are in, and to appreciate what scenery that may appeal to us, but, perhaps, even more importantly, we have a chance to really take notice of the people there, too.

Bicycles are much more economical than motor vehicles and can help us to get out of the insulated
and enclosed worlds that most of us live in.

These days, it would seem, we live in a world that, in spite of all of the technological advances in communication and quick and easy access to more information than we have ever had in our history, many of us have, in some ways, become even more isolated, disconnected, and out of touch from one another and from the realities that exist beyond our own lives.

There is also a greater degree of divisiveness and polarization in our society today, which only serves to further divide and separate us even more.

A bicycle can give us one way to help change that.  On a bike ride, we not only become a part of where we are, but we can also connect with others who are in those places that we travel through. 

A bicycle can literally bring people together from different walks of life.  Whether it is at a cycling-related event, on the street, in a bike lane, on a bike trail, on social media, or at any place where people who love cycling happen to gather, it can help to unify us.

For most people, especially those in their cars, they may pay little attention to those they see on our
Memphis City streets, but on a bicycle, the world moves a little slower and it is almost impossible not
to see them and it should be, harder still, to ignore them.

On a bicycle, people have a way to meet, talk, come together, share, care, and even begin to seek a way to make life better not only for each of us, individually, (like for our own health, for example), but collectively as a group of people who all call Memphis their home.

In this way, bicycles can help unite a community and they can enable some of us to not just talk about our faith, but to actually act on it.

From just the simple experience of a bike ride, we can begin to expand our own world to encompass that of others.

We all already share one thing in common with one another in that we all want to live in a place where we can feel safe and secure, to have all of our basic needs met, and where we have every possibility to better ourselves.

Life in Memphis, like in any other city, is not always easy for everyone, but
the bicycle offers mobility and a way to make ends meet.  It can also give
others the inspiration to do more to help those in need.

Unfortunately, in
Memphis, and across the nation, that is not always the case.  There are millions of people around the country, and thousands within our very own city, who, as Henry David Thoreau once said, are leading lives of quiet desperation.

Many of us have long accepted that this is just the way it is, and that we cannot do anything about it, but we have the potential in each of us to help change that.

We can begin, if we are willing, to join with others in an effort to repair and renovate areas in disrepair and to do the same for those people who are broken down and in despair.

We can show love and compassion where none has been given and offer hope, a helping hand, and an ear to listen.

A bicycle, or a single cyclist, alone, may not change the entire world, but it could be a good way to start, and, if nothing else, it can open our eyes and our hearts to the world and to others around us.

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