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Bikexchange.com Column #5

A Perfect Bike World

 By Gianna Bellofatto

Gianna Bellofatto is a freelance writer and avid cyclist who whose column, Life Is a Bike, appears regularly in The Bicycle Exchange.

In the best of all possible worlds, bicycles would be allowed on the road and cars relegated to the shoulder lane. There would be bike lanes for ATM machines, fast food eateries, and toll booths. Toll booths? Ample parking would be available for bikes at all public places. One day each week would be designated for cycling only. While rewriting road rules we may as well add to our wish list, bikers need not stop at every neighborhood lemonade stand.

We cyclists tend to be simple and virtuous folk. When has a biker been found guilty of polluting, wasting fuel, road rage, speeding, making unsolicited remarks to pedestrians, CWI (cycling while intoxicated), possessing an outdated bumper sticker, or rubber necking? We're EEE-ZZ. Just give us the open road and the wind at our backs. Of course, in this perfect bicycle world there would exist excellent road conditions. Potholes wouldn't exist nor sewer grates in the wrong direction. Small animals would never dart in our path, and there would be no discourteous drivers or fumes bellowing from buses. Each ride would be a serene pleasure of blue skies, songbirds, rolling hills and smooth roads.

Control-alt-delete. Let's reboot and look at this virtual reality with our eyes open...

You're on the bike. There are cars all around coming from every direction. The road is also shared with joggers, pedestrians and squirrels. The "fresh air" is a mix of car emissions and high humidity. You just missed your turn and decide to take a side street you've never been on before and encounter a hill. Oh, boy, it looks as it it may rain soon. Get the picture? You can translate this scenario to your workplace or your home. Nothing is faultless.

Alas, when things cannot be perfect, the perfect solution is a bike attitude, where nearly every life situation can have a positive plan. It's just a matter of perspective.

From the saddle every turn becomes an adventure, every untraveled road beckons, and every bump in the road keeps you in the moment.

Even under gray skies or uncomfortable temperatures, the bike attitude is the right attitude. Cyclists embrace the unknown ride. And despite its imperfections, one should face the uncertainty of life with the same enthusiasm.

Last year, I happened upon a cycling event here in Westwood, New Jersey. It was sponsored by Albert's Cycle. On a whim, I decided to enter the women's race.

There I was, dressed in a plain T-shirt, tennis sneakers and shorts. I competed against women 20 years my junior who had trained months for the event. I had everything going against me, except the bike attitude. Winning wasn't my goal, however. I completed the race of 12 laps at .8 miles per lap. I came in fifth! By the way, did I mention there were only five of us in the race? Hey, no one is perfect.

Even in the perfect bike world, it's not whether I won or lost, just being there was all the fun. In the best of all possible worlds Life is a Bike.

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