Bicycles can change the world?
Yes! They already have.
I’m not kidding.
In the US, so many people were smitten by the allure of freedom and self-powered speed that the bicycle offered—even in its early, awkward forms—that they were able to work together as a positive force to get municipalities to pave roads that had previously been rutted dirt tracks, quite suitable for horse travel but lousy for bicycling. These new, relatively smooth roads made it possible for people to travel by bicycle from town to town, not just for pressing business matters, but for fun and adventure. Imagine the convenience of being able to hop on your self-powered machine and travel at horse speed—but without the burden of care, feeding, saddling, or storing a horse! And no unpleasant deposits left behind.
The bicycle is even credited for helping the women’s rights movement. It certainly forced changes in women’s fashion toward more practical clothing styles. Have you ever wondered what happened to the hoop skirt? There’s a quote attributed to Susan B. Anthony: “The bicycle has done more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world.”
Unfortunately, the freedom and paved roads that were brought to us by the bicycle were soon usurped by the automobile. The two things that are most ironic to me about this development are: 1) The vast majority of Americans now seem to think roads exist for automotive travel and bicycles are a dangerous intrusion. 2) The burden of care (maintenance, repair), feeding (gasoline, oil), saddling (licensing, insurance, financing) and storing (garages, driveways, and the overwhelming waste of otherwise productive land as parking lots) that the bicycle relieves us of, has been accepted without question as a reasonable trade-off. And then there’s the unpleasant deposits left behind in the form of air-born pollutants, noise, and toxic fluid spills.
At West Trails Bicycles, we want to be part of a new revolution brought about by the lowly bicycle. Sure we want to change the world for the better, but our focus will be to change our local community, ourselves, and YOU by promoting the glorious simplicity that the bicycle offers as a mode of transportation, a soothing and fulfilling form of recreation and exercise, and a challenging, character testing, skill-building, adventure machine.
Change the world. Change you. Ride a bike.