Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bicycle a legitimate mode of transportation

In any other metropolitan area, most adults would not be caught dead riding a bike, unless it was purely for sport. Then they'd have to be dressed in competitive, spandex gear. Los Pachanga Pistols wrote a song titled, "I Don't Have a Car and I Live in L.A.," expressing the shame of carlessness: "People laugh as they drive by. You might as well be dressed like a clown, standing at a bus stop in this town." Los Angeles doesn't have New Orleans' humidity, but its highways and distances make biking impractical.

All types of folks ride bikes and scooters, take buses and streetcars to get around in New Orleans. Speed is not everything.

Last week, I passed a 80-something-year-old woman riding a bike down St. Charles Avenue. She had a shock of pure white hair trailing down her back and a big bow tied around her head. I regularly see a guy riding a giant tricycle down Tchoupitoulas Street who appears to be on his way to work. He's built a contraption over the top to shield his head from the hot sun or rain. It's like a surrey with the fringe on top.

People go grocery shopping and carry their bags in the baskets. I often see a young woman riding around Audubon Park, looking like "Wizard of Oz" Dorothy, with her two West Highland White Terriers sitting in a basket placed over the front wheel.

A bike does not have to be a fancy either, just serviceable. I took my old junker to a repair shop on Magazine last month where a skinny, young guy covered with tattoos and wearing a baseball cap backwards charged me $25 for a tuneup. Now, I can take a turn on the levee whenever I feel like it. No one makes fun of my old, rusty bike.

No comments:

Post a Comment