My Personal Action

When I initially conceived of this club I brainstormed all kinds of ideas to get people engaged and spread the word. One was to send emails to a bunch of folks asking them to submit a few words on how riding a bike has been a corrective action for them. I was going to in-turn, use these as Instagram posts and blog posts here so I’d have some content in the vault to dole out over time as the club grew.

Or I thought I could collect them all and post them here on the site on a sort of ‘Wall of Action’, and have a form for people to submit their own. I knew some people might only want to submit anonymously – and that was ok too.

What I really wanted was, a. for people to think about how riding bikes affected them – more than the usual “oh, it makes me feel good,” or “I do it for the exercise,” type responses. To really sit with the notion and dig deeper; and b. to compile this varied and honest cross section of how bikes impacted peoples’ lives and hopefully connect people with shared experiences as well as exposing folks to some new ones.

I decided against it because…well…I thought the email’d just be bugging people. And as far as a section on the blog compiling entries – why make more work for myself when people could just use hashtags and just make it their own – incorporating it into what they do already. Isn’t that what hashtags are for anyway?

As part of my initial email pitch, I did sit down and write my own ‘Personal Action’ – how riding bikes has been a corrective action for me:

Like so many other people I’ve riding bikes since I was a kid. For fun, transportation, fitness – the whole deal. Around 5 years ago I quit drinking and abusing drugs and in the resulting clarity I’ve come to realize the bike was giving me so much more than I’d initially thought. Among many benefits, three things stood out.

First it’s a manifestation of my need and desire to move forward in the world under my own power, yet still abide in the support and companionship of family, friends and community.

Second, it’s a reminder for me in this ever faster, changing world to slow down and live at ‘human speed;” to work on forward progress in a way that still allows for human connection and the development of good relationships while continuing to learn, grow and create. It’s an admonition to always try and be ‘the best version of myself’. 

Third, it’s a way to move through the world in a manner that is beneficial and respectful to both myself and others – in addition to the natural world around me. It represents my effort to be ‘in’ and ‘of’ the world while trying to leave behind a positive impact and initiate change that I think is important. It reminds me that when I’m struggling for significance in the effort to make change, even the smallest and simplest actions matter. Even when I feel ineffective or lost with regards as what to do, a bike ride is always doing something. Intention breeds action. Ride action is Right Action.

That’s how it works for me. And the thing is, it continues to evolve over time. It’s organic and growing.

If you feel strongly about the positive impact that riding bikes has had on your life, maybe think about sharing your thoughts with the hashtags #correctiveactionbicycleclub or #rideactionisrightaction on social media, or making your own blog post about it. The overarching goal is to connect with others who feel the same as well as maybe introduce some folks who don’t ride bikes all that much to everything that they offer simply through being an example.

If you’d like to feature your ‘Personal Action’ here – I’d love to post it, feel free to drop me a line and we can work out the details.

Interfacing With the Non-Cycling General Public

Corrective Action Bicycle Club Commuter Tip Series #64: The Rain Commute.

The key to a successful rain commute is gear. There are over 4,592 blogs on the internet discussing rain gear. Half of them are wrong. Part of the ‘fun’ of commuting is figuring out which aren’t. We won’t discuss gear here as that’s been covered. We’re going to discuss your duty with regards to PUBLIC OUTREACH WITH THE GENERAL PUBLIC (GP).

Members of the non-cycling GP can’t fathom cycling in inclement weather. Even some ‘fair-weather’ commuters pack it in when the rain starts to fall. It’s our duty to reach out to these people and let them know the joy of cycling while Mother Nature is literally pouring herself out on you. First, approach the GP where they converge for their daily coffee fix – the corner store, Tim Horton’s (or Dunkin Donuts for my ‘Merican friends), or your local art house/coffee shop/music venue/hipster hang.

Enter the place fully kitted up and soaked to the bone. Be boisterous and attract as much attention as possible. Present a wide, shit-eating grin. Obtain a coffee and load up your arms with as many pastries as you can carry. Whistle gayly or mutter to yourself during this process. Take your place in the queue to pay. As you stand juggling your coffee and pastries in an ever-growing puddle, invariably one of the GP will look up from their phone and say, “you’re riding a bike in THAT?”

Stay calm, THIS IS YOUR MOMENT, THIS is where the PUBLIC OUTREACH MAGIC happens. Look them dead in the eye, and loud enough for everyone in line to hear – loud enough to startle – reply, “YEAH! IT’S AWESOME!” This next part is key – punctuate your statement with a short, abrupt maniacal chuckle, and then, without breaking eye contact, make that face a person makes when they’re not sure if they’re going to laugh or cry. Hold it – HOLD IT – for a few more seconds, then exhale.

Usually this is enough to make the desired impression on the GP. In addition, you’ve done them the favor of having something to post about on social media that day other than politics. Once you’ve paid for your goods, when exiting into the fray, an added loud “WHOOOP!” is an effective conclusion to the exchange.

CABC – The Origin Story

Mostly I just wanted to hang out in my garage, drink coffee and talk about bikes. Then ride them. Or ride them before. Either order works.

For years I’ve thought about opening some sort brick-and-mortar bike club/cafe. I would even scope spots. Plan. Scheme. Dream.

Comic book superhero Origin Stories always start with some sort of radioactive animal bite or a mishap with nuclear material. This story is probably far less-cool.

I thought I could have a bike club in my garage. Then I remembered I live in the middle of nowhere. Both Nationally AND Internationally. I live in the sticks. I guess that makes my garage/clubhouse ‘exclusive’ in big city terms.

So I thought of a ‘virtual clubhouse’. But I didn’t want an online bulletin board or a forum. There’s not enough virtual beat up couches to lounge on in those. So I thought I could just make the whole internet – and by extension, the whole world the clubhouse. That’s the magic power of a hashtag right?

#correctiveactionbicycleclub is all it takes to get in on the action. To ‘join’. Use it and you’re there.

With a hashtag, everyone’s garage becomes the Clubhouse. Everyone’s ride becomes The Club Ride. We can all share.

I was inspired by Tarik and his club – the complete absence of red tape. Two simple rules – and one you only sorta have to follow – and you’re in. If you’re not a member, become one. I’m a member in long-standing. I told him personally, I think the Tarik Saleh Bike Club is the best thing on the internet, period. I still do. I often wonder why I’m bothering with this one.

As mentioned on the homepage – I also took Ben Weaver’s words seriously to heart. How seriously? Wrote ’em on the wall in my garage/clubhouse seriously. If I can somehow channel one-tenth of the mojo Ben has going on, I’ll be winning in my book.

Check both these guys out. Basically them, riding bikes with my buddy Andrew and coffee are the reason this ‘club’ exists, the reason I felt compelled to do something other than just ride my bike and keep to myself. I wanted to ‘tell about it’.

I don’t know where this will go. If you’re interested, you’ll have to stay tuned. The Clubhouse is currently my garage and your garage. Group rides are wherever I go and wherever you go. You get the point. I work on bikes, drink coffee and talk smack in my garage. Then I go riding with friends. That mindset and mojo seeps onto the internet and the rest of my life in various ways. That part is what the club is about.

I have a whole Apple Notes folder full of ideas of what the club could be, things I could do – various ‘actions’ – merch (of course at some point there has to be merch) – but for now, I’m just going to ride my bike, ‘tell about it’ and see where that takes me. Come along for the ride.