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6876Re: [CF] general attitude

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    Feb 3, 2003
      On Sun, 2 Feb 2003, Simon Norton wrote:

      > First of all, may I repeat that I had no intention of criticising anyone when I
      > started this thread -- it was as much to analyse my own feelings and see to what
      > extent they are shared.

      I can understand that. I often need to verbalize my feelings in order to
      analyze them.

      > We feel good when we satisfy our bodily or social needs, but we also feel good
      > when we rise above them. That isn't always a good thing (the case of anorexic
      > girls was mentioned) but it is essentially what is meant by "sacrifice" -- the
      > type of sacrifice that we do willingly, that is.

      I'm not quite sure what you mean here. Are you just talking about pushing
      yourself farther than you thought you could go and succeeding and feeling
      good about that? In that case, I don't see what was sacrificed. What did
      you give up? What need was not met? My usual bike commutes are 4.5 miles
      each way. Occasional trips are a little longer, like a trip to the
      dentist is about 7 miles. The first time I rode to my spinning meeting,
      about 20 miles, I didn't know ahead of time how I would feel. Would I
      feel really tired? Really sweaty? I didn't. I felt fine. I felt pretty
      proud of myself. There was no sacrifice. I made sure I had extra water.
      When I got to the meeting, I was hungry, even though I'd just eaten two
      hours earlier. But there was lots of food at the meeting. I ate. So
      none of my bodily needs were unmet. I'm not sure what social needs you'd
      be referring to here. I may be missing your point entirely here. Maybe
      you could clarify this.
      > On the other hand, there are certain needs I don't want to rise above. I don't
      > want to be able to enjoy macho motorists with their danger, noise and fumes.

      Well, no. That's not something I enjoy either. In my idea of a perfect
      world, cars just wouldn't exist. But I figure the only way I'm ever gonna
      have any chance of seeing my utopia is to not drive a car myself. How
      does that Gandhi quote go? "We must become the change we want to see in
      the world."

      > don't want to have to wait ages for buses because they get caught up in jams, or
      > because those who plan timetables can't be bothered to arrange decent
      > connections, or because I have difficulty finding out where and when they go. If
      > I have to put up with these to pursue my car-free lifestyle, that is an example
      > of the unwilling type of sacrifice.

      I'm not terribly impressed with the buses around here either. That's why
      I ride my bike. I only take the bus as a backup. There were only 4 days
      last year when I had to take the bus to work instead of my bike, twice
      because there was an ice storm, and twice because my bike was in the shop.
      The two days there was an ice storm, most of the people who drive cars to
      work didn't make it in at all. As far as bike repairs, I've since figured
      out that in *most cases*, it's actually easier to ride to work, then after
      the shop opens, ride to the shop, take the campus bus back to work, then
      after work, take the campus bus back to the shop to pick up my bike and
      ride home. You might be wondering what the difference is since there's
      still a bus involved. The difference is the campus buses come every 10
      minutes. The AATA (city) buses come every 15 minutes. If I was taking a
      bus all the way home, I would have to take an AATA bus, but there's a
      weird alternating route that's hard to explain in less than 2000 words.
      The short version is I can get home either way, *but* if I happen to get
      on the bus at one particular time, which would just happen to be the time
      I would get on it after dropping my bike off at the shop after work for
      them to do some repair work on it the next day, then the bus would *not*
      actually go anywhere near my house, but rather it would stop at a shopping
      center some distance away, stop, tell all the passengers they have to get
      off, turn the route sign to "out of service" and drive away. So yes, the
      bus system could be improved. I realize it's much better than what's
      available in some areas, of course, but compared to other areas, it's
      pretty dismal. And of course, when I said the buses come every 15
      minutes, that's only during the week, during the day and early evening.
      Later evening, it's only every half hour. On weekends, it's once an hour.
      On weekend evenings, not at all.

      That's why I like my bike. I can go wherever I want, whenever I want.

      > I suspect that as a man I think of dieting as something one does for health
      > rather than social reasons.

      Actually, I don't think dieting is healthy at all. I think it's very bad
      for one's health. Better to eat healthy food and exercise as part of
      one's lifestyle, i.e., for the rest of one's life, rather than just pick
      some bizarre and unhealthy combination of foods that someone has decided
      will make you lose weight, eat that for a few months, maybe lose some
      weight, then after the diet is over go back to the old way of eating and
      gain back all the weight that was lost and then some. Even if people
      decide to actually eat healthy food for their diet, why should it just be
      a temporary thing?

      > When people say to me that one has to be a mathematician to work out routes (I
      > am a mathematician), my reaction, however, is not to harp on the joys of route
      > planning, it is to include in my campaign manifesto an idea that route planning
      > should be taught in schools and that children should be encouraged to explore on
      > their own before they reach driving age.

      That sounds like a good idea. A few months ago I was trying to explain to
      a coworker how to get to someplace she hadn't been. She looked baffled,
      so I said "hang on" and came back to my office and got my map out of my
      backpack. Once I showed her on the map, she got it. But she was just
      astounded that I carried a map around with me. I was like "what, you
      don't?" Then she wanted to know more about the map, where I had gotten
      it because she hadn't seen that kind of map anywhere; it was such a useful
      scale, and a reasonable size with a city map on one side and a county map
      on the other. Well, yeah. It's my bike map. I think a lot of people
      just don't refer to maps regularly. I use mine all the time. If I'm
      going somewhere I don't normally go, and I'm not sure exactly how to get
      there, well, I want to be sure exactly how to get there.

      > Similarly, it does not sell me on the joys of cycling when people appear to be
      > indifferent to the danger and unpleasantness of motor traffic.

      Well, I'm not indifferent. It's just that to me, it's even *more*
      unpleasant to be *driving* a car than to be riding a bike next to one.
      The last time I drove a car, it was just such a wretched experience, I
      decided I don't ever want to drive a car again.

      > Going on to the question of to what extent people's consumer choices are the
      > business of others, here are two maxims that should be taken to heart:
      > 1. If one consumes goods or services without paying the relevant external cost,
      > one is robbing other people.
      > 2. If one lives unsustainably, one is robbing future generations.


      > Earlier I raised the subject of UK reaction to weather. I can now update my
      > story by saying that according to press coverage many motorists were stuck in
      > their cars overnight. But they had an emergency support system to rescue them.
      > As far as I can make out people who were left stranded when the buses stopped
      > running were on their own. The paper quoted somebody as having been abandoned on
      > a bus 2 miles from home when the bus had difficulty climbing a hill. The driver
      > rang the depot and was evidently told to return there. (I may say that there are
      > alternative routes that could have been taken to avoid the hill.) I know
      > somebody who was left behind by a late running driver returning to his depot
      > (and passing near the prospective passenger's home) because the driver had
      > exceeded his permitted hours and wasn't entitled to take passengers.

      I'm a little confused by this. What kind of weather did you have over
      there? I must have missed this story.

      Riin Gill
      Interlibrary Loan 734-615-6168
      Taubman Medical Library fax 734-763-1473
      University of Michigan
      If you were riding your bike, you'd be having fun by now.
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