Christmas really isn’t my holiday any more, us witches celebrated back on the 21st, the holiday that Christians stole for the birthday of their deity (well actually they stole a lot of holidays, December 25th was the birthday of Mithras, the deity of the Roman Legion, and Saturnalia is also celebrated this time of year). But I was a Christian for the first half of my life, so I know the drills. I was Balthazar in a Christmas pageant and sang in more choirs than I can count.
What cyclists want most this Christmas is the same thing we want every year, to be able to ride from one place to another without fear that an angry, distracted, or oblivious driver was going to kill or permanently maim us because we were “in the way” or “playing in the street”. We want drivers to change lanes when they pass us, refrain from honking (we can hear you 90% of the time and smell you, too). We want the bike lanes to be free of parked cars. We want enforcement actions against cyclists to make sense (if you set up a sting to catch cyclists running red lights, be prepared to ticket the drivers that run them as well).
Ideally what cyclists want is to live in the Netherlands, only where they live now. They want dedicated spaces and signals so that the most deadly devices in common use, motor vehicles, are separated from bicycles in both time and space so that conflict that can kill or seriously injure cyclists is eliminated from daily life.
And the cyclist in your life? The best thing you can give him/her is FOOD! Good meals at home, and snacks that can be eaten on the side of the road or while riding (but not me, I find getting food around the chin bar of a full-face helmet an exercise in frustration and I don’t do exercise). It’s a little late but find out the stuff your cyclist likes to eat on the road and by a few every month and leave them where your cyclist stores their helmet between rides. A little note (“Thinking of you on the roads”) will let them know you care. My favorite road food is fig bars, but for long distance riding I prefer peanut butter and honey sandwiches on whole wheat bread. Ask your cyclist what they like, and you can make Christmas last all year long in your heart.
Have yourself a Merry Christmas and if the stores playing Christmas songs haven’t driven you crazy, drop a CD in the player and listen to some mellow music.
Merry Christmas from the Witch on a Bicycle!