This week I have been reflecting on what the bicycle has brought into my life (what a surprise – I’m thinking about bicycles). With the launch of REID MILLER Apparel and continuing on the challenging road of starting a business I have been seeking out moments of calm and clarity in my life. Riding out in the fresh air, being in the world, seeing, feeling and hearing it wiz by brings me back to the beauty and excitement of the moment. Stuck in my email, engrossed in some glitch with technology, I jump on my bike and move. I become alive. On my bike, it is colder than I thought, wetter than I thought, more humid. No matter – I am totally and utterly alive.
As I reflect more on this, I realize that the bike has also brought a different sort of light to my life: The light of hope. I spent much of my 20s absorbing news, research, information of all types that basically had one message: we have huge problems. I felt a sense of urgency to contribute, to make things better and yet I always got stuck. Where do you start with big issues like climate change, health and poverty and war to name a few, with big entrenched institutions fighting against you? These issues made me feel so small and powerless.
And then came the bicycle, which transformed my understanding of my agency in this world. The bicycle has brought light into my life. We can jump on our bikes and be the change we want to see in the world. We don’t have to ask congress to pass a bill to let us bike. The bicycle can help mitigate climate change and pollution, improve our health in dramatic ways, reconnect ourselves with each other and our community. This individual choice that makes you feel good physical, psychologically and morally also contributes to movement towards a healthier more beautiful world.
It also forms a common bond so I no longer feel alone fighting to improve things. I can go on Twitter and see bikers bringing about change on a local level in their communities. Here’s a new bike lane. Here’s an awesome bike event. Here’s an organization giving children bikes. After taking in news each day on the algae bloom in the Ohio River, the refugee crisis, Coca Cola’s millions of dollars to organization we look to for critical health recommendations, I dig around to find these articles on bicycles making this world a better place and I continue forward with hope.
This week I found this unity and support from my fellow bikers at my co-working space, American Underground. The close knit group of bike commuters pushed me to pitch improved bike racks to our community at American Underground, where each person had put in $5 toward a winning pitch. I pitched the bike racks and won. In the scheme of things, these moments are relatively insignificant but they add up. We brought the issue of poor bike infrastructure given our cutting edge community of creators to everyone’s attention, won a few extra dollars for the bike racks, and accelerated work towards this change. From the community perspective, seeing tons of bikes, efficiently displayed outside of our space signals that bikes are a part of the solutions championed by cutting edge doers and thinkers.
In this spirit, I have created a new section on reidmillerapparel.com, Bike + Creativity, to celebrate creative dissidence, biking and otherwise. If you have anything to share, please email me at email@example.com.