Last summer I bought an electric bicycle. It was a purchase I thought about for a long time. Sometimes I make up my mind fast and other times it takes me forever. This decision was a slow one.
The reason I wanted the electric bike was because I wasn't riding my regular bicycle that much anymore. I believe in bicycles. They are better for your health and for everyone else's. I'm an idealist and I've ridden a bike all my life! However, I wasn't quite fit enough anymore, and the hill I needed to climb to get anywhere was too steep, too soon, and too scary.
Yes, too soon, the hill was too close to my door. My body was barely awake when I would have to climb it. Plus,five lanes of truck infested traffic going too fast up a hill was scary. Therefore, I was using my car often when a bicycle would have done just fine. Truth be told, I really wasn't a bicyclist anymore. But I wasn't willing to give up that image of myself. Wasn't using an electric bicycle, well, cheating?
Finally I went to a bike store and test rode a couple of electric bicycles. And that was it. I bought one. No more slow back and forth decision making. No more research, no more discussion. Because it was so much fun!
In all the articles I read about electric bicycles -- the authors often wrote about the good things - -their low carbon footprint, their speed, how you could wear regular clothes instead of spandex and, shamefully, how you didn't have to be that fit -- they never mentioned how much fun they were.
My electric bicycle is so exhilarating to ride! When I take it out, I always cruise down my street with a smile on my face. Sometimes, gentle readers, sometimes I sing. It really makes me happy and I use it all the time (not right now, 20 degree weather is a little too exhilarating). I just checked my odometer and I have 1,000 miles on it.
Those of us who work in social justice do it for a variety of reasons: Love, righteous anger, feeling the possibilities of the future, fear for our children, compassion for others, a desire for the beautiful and sometimes compulsive do-gooderism. Fill in your own reason here. There are a lot of reasons and they are lofty reasons usually. Like my reasons for wanting to keep bicycling.
Yet if we are regular people we can't always get ourselves to go up that dang hill because it's too steep, too soon and to scary. It helps if we actually get something out of it, if there is joy, fellowship, and feelings of spiritual connection to keep us going. That is what this blog will be about. Of course, there will be posts that just explain things, or persuade, or tell you about Oregon UU Voices for Justice. But I hope to write about you the activist and what you need to know to actually enjoy social justice actions.
Sometimes we get surprised by how good it can feel. Sometimes we get to sing.