Since the invention of the wheel, how we travel and how fast we travel has changed. No, not changed — it has improved.
Almost every major form of transportation depends upon the wheel in some form or other. It has gone, in a mere 5,500 years, from a rotating wooden slab attached to an ancient Mesopotamian cart, to a high-velocity spin demon made with special rubber compounds, custom-made tire treads, and a tire pressure control system that suits the needs of any high-priced, horsepower-laden vehicle. There’s no debate — the wheel is pretty amazing. Whether specially made or mass produced, it gets us where we are going.
That being said, why, when this simple yet ingenious piece of technology is available, do people still insist on walking everywhere?
There is no need.
Now, I’m not saying that we should spend large amounts on decreasingly available fossil fuels in order to pump increasingly large amounts of carbon monoxide into the air (although I do believe some cars are worth the environmental risk, i.e. Veyrons, Shelbys, Challengers, and Fioranos).
No, the wheeled vehicle I suggest we use instead is none other than the bicycle. It is a lovely device. We have evolved into bipedal beings. Why not further evolve with pedaling of another sort?
Why wouldn’t we want to propel ourselves to our chosen destinations at an average speed of 7-13 mph, faster than the average walking speed of about 3mph?
Answer: We would.
So, here’s a little how-to on how to become a brazenly swift bicycle snob:
1. Buy the bike.
Whether it is a five-dollar garage sale find, or a thousand-dollar piece of high tech equipment that Lance Armstrong himself once sat his aerodynamic ass on, it doesn’t matter. Either bike would be fine, simply because either would be better than the alternative (the whole walking thing).
2. Develop a disdain for pedestrians.
These so-called “persons” will soon be the bane of your existence. They seem to have an inability to walk in a straight line or to pay attention to their surroundings. On school campuses they are equivalent to academic zombies. They bump into each other, trip over their own feet, and walk clustered together so that others are unable to pass by them. These zombies are constantly using cell phones and iPods, which although wonderful (not unlike the bicycle), should not cause those earthbound beings to forget their place in this world. That place would be the place not in the bicycler’s way.
3. Get a sound-making device that attaches to your handlebars (I prefer the grating ringing of a bell, but the honking of a horn can work equally well).
This is a useful purchase you can use to warn those annoying two-leggers of your fast approach. You don’t want them to be caught off guard by the sudden appearance of your lofty presence, nor do you want them to step into your predestined path.
4. Get a bicycle basket.
This handy device provides a place for those excessive items that won’t fit in your bag. You won’t have to worry about shoving your ten-pound volume of The Complete Works of Shakespeare into your shallow messenger bag. Instead, simply plop the plump book into your basket and forget about lugging the damned thing around. Your hands are now free.
5. Buy a lock.
Now that you have your perfect peddler you want to ensure it is not taken away from you. Therefore, always bring your lock and attach your bike firmly and securely to a pole that even an F4 tornado can’t uproot.
6. Memorize bicycle facts.
Become more knowledgeable about your bike and the perks of bicycling. Being able to recite why riding your bike is better than other forms of transportation will further increase the already good opinion you have of yourself, as well as provide you with conversation material. This is especially helpful at parties and social gatherings. A good fact like, “Did you know that fourteen bicycles can fit into one parking space?” will make others believe you are not only a conceited citizen, but a concerned one as well.
7. Buy a copy of The Portable Nietzsche.
Take advantage of your now elevated status by reading this pretentious, self-glorifying piece of literature. It will help you establish the right attitude you need to ride your bike, namely, the attitude that you are better than everyone else. And, it will remind you that the “will to power” is achieved through the “will to bicycle.”
Following these fast facts will have you on your way to a faster mode of transportation, that is, a way of getting somewhere quickly without all the trotting and trudging and trucks and traffic.
Riding your bike is proven, not scientifically or philosophically, to increase your cranial capacity as well as tone your thigh muscles. It has been verified, not conclusively, to inspire a feeling of indulgence and importance.
The speed, the efficiency, the elevation, and the accommodation which go along with bike riding make it, all of it, worth the wheel.
With all these benefits, why would you ever want to continue walking?