Monday, May 21, 2007

What if we Wait?

Awoke early from a nightmare. I waited, wide-awake wondering what time it was for a bit. Thinking to myself about how awake I felt. By the time that I looked at the clock, it was 4:24am. I got up, shaved, and took a shower. Grabbed some clothes and headed downstairs to make a pot of coffee and head off to work.

It started raining outside about 5:15am. I stood there in my cycling gear, sipping a cup of coffee, wondering about how it would be so much easier to just get in the car. I'm glad that I was dressed and ready... It might have been easy to talk me out of riding at that moment. Since I had washed the car and have this little competition going with myself. I hate a dirty car, and I wasn't about to give up on several weeks of consecutive riding.

I decided to just check my mail, finish a cup of coffee, and wait for the rain to stop. I received an email from one of the parents at the school who has put in quite a bit of work on the whole "safe routes to school" idea. Well, she had taken care of the legwork to put together the first grant request for facilities for the school.

I find it an interesting thought about the way that we go about planning things. We start out with a basic need: bike rack and permission to ride to school. Someone throws out a stumbling block: no safe way to get there. The proposed solution that resulted was a paved loop around the field, a paved pathway to the school building, bike racks (someone wanted lockers) all adding up to almost a whopping $100k! Yikes... with that kind of price tag, it's no wonder nobody wants to do anything.

So, I began to think about the concept of making sure everything is just right before doing anything. I think it's a condition of our society to over-think things before heading off and trying anything. Wanna ride a bike? Gotta, go to the bike shop, pick out just the right model, size, color, options, and protective equipment to make sure we are "safe." Then, petition the government body to spend thousands on pathways and special "infrastructure" so that you have a "safe" place to go ride your new bike.

The rain shower was very short-lived and off I went thinking as I rode... What if we waited?

  • What if the Wright brothers waited for the first runway and airport to be constructed before attempting to solve that whole flying problem?
  • What if Lance Armstrong waited to go ride a bike until there was a "gap-less" infrastructure of bicycle routes that offered safe routes to and from any destination?
  • What if we wait until our kids are fat and unhealthy from lack of exercise?
  • What if we wait until our roadways are congested with cars, our schools are pressed for money to support a transportation system that shuttles kids if they live farther than 1.5 miles or on the other side of a busy street... and the cost of fuel becomes a family budgetary consideration?
  • What happens if you wait until the tank is empty before you fill it?

Oh well... I'll keep working on what I can. I think that I will start with a simple policy change to allow kids to ride to school. Hell, with any luck the kids will wear a pathway through the grass in no time and can lock their bikes to trees on the playground.

In the mean time, I enjoyed a quiet bike ride to work. The wet roads reminded me of the streets in the movies. The roadways were wet, there was no precipitation coming down. I like the sound the tires make on wet pavement. Why are they always wet at night in the movies?

2 comments:

rigtenzin said...

You've got a great point about not doing anything unless we've got it planned to the last detail. I'm guilty of it sometimes myself. Other times, I fly off the handle, do something rash, and pay for my poor planning later. But we've definitely gone too far in the direction of paralysis through analysis. I love cliches.

Greg Alan said...

Yeah, what if we waited to have a fully funded college plan before we had kids.

Actually...I wish I had done that, but you know how that goes. Tee hee hee.

Anyway...good to see you on the "blogosphere" brother.

May the wind at your back not be your own.

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