Friday, March 8, 2013

Bike Hour.

You've heard of Earth Hour, where all around the globe people switch off electrical things for an hour to increase mindfulness about the way we consume resources - But have you heard of Bike Hour?

Probably not. Maybe. I only just learned of it myself, fortunately in time to participate later this month. Bike Hour was born in Australia, in fact it was created by a resident of my own recently adopted little island. It is to be conducted twice every year at the equinox so the next one is due on March 20th and if you want to join in you should be on a bicycle between 6 and 7pm.

"What the fuck is this Bike Hour shit anyway?", I hear you politely enquire as you are possibly also an uncouth Antipodean like myself. The full history can be found on the cycle-space blog (a fascinating exploration of bicycles and urban planning) but the notion of Bike Hour is something rather different from the familiar organised rides. If you are expecting to be bolstered en masse by whackily dressed (or undressed) fellow cyclists or Hippie political enthusiasts, you will be disappointed. What Bike Hour aims to achieve is awareness through free and semi-quiet enjoyment rather than annoyance or spectacle.

Bike Hour longs to get all the neglected bikes in all the sheds and all the spare bedrooms out onto the streets and pavements for a no-good-reason-joy-ride to where ever the hell you want or need to go, Just Because. Bike Hour knows that statistically quite a lot of us have purchased a bicycle but also that a lot of us don't really ride them. Bike Hour just wants you to ride your bicycle because you like the idea of riding your bicycle and it is giving you permission to do so in the manner entirely of your choosing. You can dress up like an olde-timey person and bust out the penny farthing. You can slide your sweaty testicles into their lycra prison and improve your Strava ranking. You can commute home if your work hours coincide. You can not change your clothes and just get out into the neighbourhood. If you really can't stand the thought of a world without structure you can even put on a little Bike Hour party for your bicycling friends or organise a community event or group ride, the website has posters to download but the important thing is that you don't have to do anything but the bare minimum which is to use a bicycle for an hour.

Sometimes I use my bicycle to see new places.
Sometimes I use my bicycle as an excuse to eat chips.
Hence the fat bottom.

Bike Hour simply posits that it might be nice if we all went for a ride at the same time without having the same destination. So that maybe people in cars who are watching you glide past or people sitting at caf├ęs who are watching you cruise up to the coffee counter or people walking around on their feet seeing a completely ordinary person like you roll by wonder to themselves, "What the fuck is up with suddenly all of these bikes?" because they are possibly grammatically questionable, vulgar residents of far-flung former colonies too. And then later perhaps they will think about the bicycle they have in their own shed or remember the bicycle they had in their youth and wonder if maybe they too can ride one somewhere for some reason at some time. Hopefully not just on the equinox.

Bike Hour belongs to us all and you are encouraged to spread
the word with free access to promotional materials.
Or not. Do what you like.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for this article! I am new to the biking community, and this post has given me much more consolidated insight than any other resource I've found.