Friday, November 10, 2006

Why Not This?

I rode out with the .83 gang last night—a slightly disjointed tour of the west side, from downtown to lower Magnolia, then across the locks to Freelard, up and around the hill to Golden Gardens, back to Ballard for bar-drinking, then finishing up around the Fremont firepit before coming home.

I got pretty stoned pretty early and so, between the pedaling (or, I guess among), had all sorts of deep thoughts that elude me now, but I did fantasize about a vast US government-sponsored program to put bikes on the streets of political hotspots around the world.

Suppose, for instance, instead of spending 300 billion dollars on tanks and bombs, we spent just a pittance of that—say 300 million—and flooded Iraq with people on bikes. Suppose it took five thousand bucks to send a bike and rider to Baghdad for two months; three hundred million dollars would put sixty thousand riders on the streets; wouldn’t that do more to create stability and peace than our current policies?

(Come to think of it, probably nearly anything would; imagine if the US just sent any person who wanted a job, gave them a couple of thousand dollars and a suitcase full of iPods.)

Here, in the cold cruel light of dawn, I’m not nearly as impressed with my plan as I was last night; still, I don’t imagine it’s that much wackier than whatever Gates is scheming to do at the moment; and it’s certainly less outlandish than what has been attempted these last few years by Rumsfeld and Co.

In amidst a couple dozen cyclists, especially fueled by cannabis, caffeine, and wine, I begin to believe that the two-wheeler really could save the world. I guess this would qualify as the paradigmatic pipe dream, but it’s pleasant enough to dream about.

I’m sure I overestimate the potential of the bicycle to heal the world.

No doubt because riding bikes makes me feel so much better.


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