Wednesday, April 29, 2015

My big beef with Seattle's Sacred Cow

Seattle holds its hills to be sacred. Read some of the cycling blogs surrounding Seattle and you might mistake our hills to be some religious experience. Whether its how the hills here build character and calves or how the hills here "cull" the "less dedicated" (paraphrasing), how much our hills add to the wonder of the ride, etc... You'd think that just going up Roosevelt Ave. would raise you to a guru status among those slow steel riders.
If you so happen to suggest that the hills could be made accessible in a variety of ways to the less physically able, or the less financially-able-to-buy-ebikes you'll hear a chorus of shouts that the hills are just fine how they are, its the responsibility of the rider to make the hill accessible to them.

And that's fucking bullshit.

We don't tell people they all need to buy 4 wheel drive to go on the road, we don't even tell people they need to buy cars that pollute less. But its the responsibility of the person on the bike to shape the roads to them.

That's a load of malarkey.  Trondheim is the number 1 bicycle city in the world [citation needed] and, don't you know, its got some hills that would make a San Franciscan shudder. But that didn't stop them from becoming number 1, instead they did this:

There's a toll, but I would rather pay a toll than try to save up enough to buy an eBike, or watch some old lady push her bike up Densmore. You know what's really heartbreaking? Knowing that there's people who'd love to cycle (I talk to them ALL THE TIME) but can't because the hills of Seattle are that big of a barrier. And no one listens to them.

You can say you have all kinds of barriers to cycling, but if you bring up hills you'd better be prepared to suck that up. Cyclist here don't care if you have shrapnel buried in your leg and you still want to ride, suck it up buttercup, because they'd rather see you give up than do what it takes to make the city accessible for you. After all, you'd just be another one of those slow riders and anyone who rides here knows that you'll get as much scorn for riding under 15 mph as you did for riding with training wheels. 

But until Seattle lets go of its ridiculous pride, its hilarious sanctity for endurance, and its petty love of being better than others, it will never be a bicycle town

Because everyone who says our hills are a barrier to that is RIGHT and we need to stop telling them that they are wrong. Because we can do better, Trampe lifts are A solution, but there's many solutions we can look at without putting the onus first on the cyclist. 

Because the onus should never be there first. Its always on us, as a society, to make cycling accessible for all. 

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