Posted on 25th Sep 2012 @ 4:05 PM
How Cycling Can Literally Shape Your Life
For many people cycling is just a mode of transportation. It’s a quick and easy way to get from A to B with little mystique or magic. Yet for others, cycling has transcended all of this to become a way of life. Indeed cycling culture has produced many books and films and helped shape the lives of thousands of people. Here are just some of the ways that cycling has changed peoples’ lives, and perhaps the ways it could change your life too.
Cycling as a way of life
(Image via Adventure Parents)
When asked to imagine touring on a bicycle, many people think of a lone man taking to country lanes on his road bike. The Vogel family however has shown that literally anybody can jump on the back of a bicycle and tour the country: including a family of two teachers and their twin sons.
John and Nancy Vogel are two American cycling enthusiasts who met while cycling in Pakistan. After travelling through Asia and Africa and having twin boys, the family returned to the United States. However the cycling bug never left the pair. John and Nancy decided to take themselves and their sons (who were in the third grade) on a yearlong tour of 19 American and 5 Mexican states, spanning 9300 miles. They then returned to Idaho for a year while planning their next epic trip: cycling with their 10 year old sons from Alaska to Argentina. Setting off in June 2008, the family spent two years and nine months blogging and cycling down the length of the Americas: an astonishing 17300 miles. When they arrived in Argentina in 2011, the twins Davy and Daryl (aged 13) were recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the youngest people to cycle the length of the Americas. The boys, who spent years away from the classroom, were taught on the road and say they have a better appreciation for subjects like history and languages because they have actually lived them.
If you were to think about the great cultural battles of our day, you might list any number of controversial social and political issues that preoccupy pundits, elected officials and concerned citizens. Talk radio, cable TV news and the internet abound with contentious debate daily.
But cruiser bikes? Who would want to get into a skirmish over such a pleasant piece of Americana, such a delightful contribution to leisure activity?
It turns out that in one major American city there appears to be something of a clash of opinions happening, at least in one very public forum. Is the rediscovery of the traditional cruiser bike and the resulting resurgence of the cruiser bike culture really that polarizing in the city of Denver? Apparently they’ve emerged as a fixture on the city streets there, especially on Wednesday nights, where there are all kinds of themed weekly “Cruiser Rides” that all but overrun the area.
We were amused to find two very contrasting viewpoints on the cruiser bike spike in popularity in Denver: one, rather bluntly titled "Cruiser Bikes Suck," accuses their enthusiasts of being “philistines” (if you don’t know, that’s a polite way of calling someone a boorish, ignorant, uncultured slob), screwing up and congesting the roadways where cars belong, and generally making a mockery of true bicycling aficionados, who ride far more sophisticated and streamlined models properly designed for speed, efficiency and peak physical fitness. He says he’s not trying to come off like an elitist…but boy, he’s walking a thin line.
Not to be out-shouted, another columnist fires back with his equal-time response, "Cruiser Bikes Rule," stating perhaps not-so-tongue-in-cheek that they’ll “save the world and make your butt look great.”