TCI Friday works best when you throw your two cents in the pot at the end. Read. Comment.
As a bike rider, I like to think I’m an environmentalist, but words and labels like that are nebulous. What do they really mean? How many choices, how many sacrifices, am I really making that preserve the environment, balanced against all the little, sometimes unconscious decisions, I make that harm it?
One of the fundaments of my idea of myself as a tree-hugger is the amount of time I spend in the woods. I’m there, and I love being there, but am I leaving the place better or worse than I found it? It’s hard to argue that a trail, well worn by foot and bicycle traffic, is really helping the plants, trees, fungi and animals that live there. I suppose it’s true that trail users unwittingly spread fungal spores that propagate the network of fungus that underpins the health of the soil, but that’s a stretch. You might also argue that a trail system, such as it is, gives people a motivation to preserve a patch of vital ecosystem that might otherwise fall prey to the developer’s bulldozer.
We shouldn’t just ignore the idea that riding a bike is better than driving a car, or even taking the bus/train/helicopter, either. That’s a thing.
But humans are rapacious. Where we cut one trail, we will cut others. Where we make one jump, we will make more, widening and expanding the trail network as we go. Don’t get me started on litter. Even the “ambient litter,” the stuff that accidentally falls from jersey pockets, doesn’t help.
So I wonder if we, has bike riders, as the cognoscenti, if you will, are just a little self-righteous. Strike that. I know I am. I’m not prepared to tell you, you are.
This week’s TCI Friday asks, are we too comfortable with our role in environmentalism, because we happen to love riding bikes? Are we doing enough? What should I be doing that I’m not currently?
TCI and TCI Friday are brought to you in part by Shimano North America. They’re swell.