I know I already linked to this, but I really quite enjoy the Google Street View of bike trails. I think part of it is the little I’ve explored, people are impressed by this thing. There are people waving and pointing in what looks like giving directions. And yeah, you get that some in the street view, but not as much.
And I think this reflects the best part of riding a bike: the fact that you aren’t boxed into a car. The interactions when you’re at a stop light that you just couldn’t get with other things. The fact that you can slow down and look at something. You get an experience that’s totally different from driving.
It’s not all positive; Seattle’s rain and hills make me glad to sometimes trap myself in my car. And I hate sharing the road with shit drivers. While it’s unnerving in a car or in a bike those thousands of pounds of metal a seat belt and air bags will protect me better than my helmet. Still, I’m glad for the experience biking provides.
I’m glad chat with people about we’re going or the weather. I love exploring nooks and crannies of the city you can’t get to in a car. And I love seeing things I wouldn’t on a car.
One of the saddest things I’ve seen in Seattle was the Pier 91 Trail after nightfall. I was going into downtown after spending some time in Magnolia. It really shocked me, even as someone who lives downtown, how many homeless people there were.* It wasn’t an experience you’d get in a car even passing a homeless camp by the freeway. It’s a different perspective from a bike than from a car.
* And yes, I understand that being a relatively young, able bodied man meant that the experience was sad instead of scary. Again, I’m not judging other people’s choices here, or saying everybody should do this.