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Because I Could

May 30, 2012

Today’s Ride: 70km—Crooks Hollow, Sheffield, Harrisburg, Jerseyville

Weather: Sunny, mild

I rode this morning. Because I could. Or: because I could, I rode this morning. I don’t mean to sound arrogant or overly confident or too full of myself. On the contrary, I would like to push for a cycling campaign based on “because I can” as a sign of heightened humility. Interpret “because I could” in multiple ways.

1. Because I had available time in the morning without any other obligations, I went for a ride.

2. Because I had the physical ability to take on a hard ride, I went for a 70km ride.

3. Because I have the privilege of being able to own an expensive road bike and can spare the time away from work, I went for a ride.

4. Because a safe neighbourhood and safe roads are available to me, I went for a ride.

You get the point. When taken in isolation, “because I can” sounds selfish and egocentric. But it can also serve as a poignant reminder of the luxury and privilege associated with the freedom to ride. It’s an advantage I have over many people, near and far. I’m not tied to a desk or a factory, but I also live in a peaceful and affluent part of the world, where I can ride carefree.

Physical ability. This is a source of some personal pride—that my fitness has improved markedly over the past couple of years—my weight and cycling ability are much better than at almost any other point in my life. Also, after Sunday’s very long ride, I was itching to get out again—and able to do so without any aches, pains, or soreness (because I could). It was a good ride at a fairly relaxed pace. Spinning and just enjoying the fresh air (another luxury) and the motion. It was a peaceful experience.

Privilege. This blog was set up to raise funds and awareness for Bikes to Rwanda. I’ve moved away from that mission a little over the past few months. Not intentionally, and I plan to return to it, but I have been reluctant to turn to the same individuals for further sponsorship, and am investigating ways to expand the fundraising efforts (suggestions most welcome). It was designed as a constant reminder of the privilege I enjoy and typically take for granted. Today’s ride—its timing, its geography, its method, etc.—is especially indicative of this.

Put the two together and you uncover another kind of privilege. That I am not just able to ride, in terms of the social freedom and geography I enjoy, but also because I have the requisite health and fitness, derived from ample time to train and exercise.

I’d like to explore this notion of “because I can” further in the future, so it likely seems strange to finish with the pics below, but this was my greeting as I hit Sager Rd., about the furthest point from home on today’s ride. Not, I hope, any symbolic representation of my riding, abilities, or future riding—and certainly not suggestive of what I mean by “because I can.”

Vulture in the middle of the road.

I got rather close before it decided to get out of the way. One of three or four circling…

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