I friend sent me a link about a woman in England who is attempting to break the world record for Furthest Miles Cycled in a Year by a woman. Interesting goal. The record is seventy-seven years old and set by Billie Fleming (Dovey) who rode 29,603 miles on a three speed road bike. Good luck to her.
The thing that surprised me was that she isn’t trying to raise money for some cause or charity. Instead she is trying to encourage people to become more active and pledge twenty minutes of activity a day. Instead of donating money she wants you to donate minutes of activity to get healthy. I can get behind that.
Since I live in LaGrange, Ohio and close to Oberlin I see a lot of cyclists loaded down doing the Underground Railroad (UGRR) bike route. It goes from Mobile, Alabama to Owen Sound, Ontario and is 2,006.5 miles. It is one of the rides that I plan to do someday.
As I said I see a lot of these riders, a couple every few weeks and always stop and offer food, lodging or anything they may need. All are friendly and some are foreign. Every third on, or so, tells me that they are doing it to raise awareness for breast cancer, dioxins, income inequality, solar power, you name it. I want to ask them how them riding their bike will do that. Every once in a while a small town paper puts a small article about the weirdo riding his bike thousands of miles and they mention that he’s doing it to raise awareness of gill nets or whatever. People who care about such issues already know and those who don’t really don’t care. It’s like Susan G. Komen raising money to bring awareness about breast cancer. Who doesn’t know about breast cancer?
Perhaps I’m being obtuse but I just want to tell the cyclist to just ride. Telling me that the black rhino is nearly extinct isn’t going to help them. I’m aware, but as a lumpen proletariat I’m powerless and most people are doing what they can. I’m glad that there are people out there who are trying to change things, I just don’t think riding a bike is going to do much.
Perhaps I’m getting old.
My mini-rant is over. This is my year for cycling. Global climate change is happening and my riding a bike and encouraging others might help a bit but I don’t need to raise awareness. I just need to get this fat ass onto the saddle.