No Country for Self-Driving Bicycles

On the bicycle path, Summer 2019

Bicycle with Mile 14 marker

Mile 14

In the fall of 2018, I won a day’s free bicycle rental in a raffle sponsored by our local park district. Excited at actually having won something, I visited our local bike shop to claim my prize and climbed on a bike for, I’m guessing, the first time in 30 years. After a few wobbly turns around the parking lot, I found my stride, and by the end of the day the bike and I were inseparable.

No one, to the best of my knowledge, is predicting a future of self-driving bikes, that is bikes programmed to head for a specific destination, with our human role only to get on board and peddle. That mentality won’t work. The freedom to choose the round-about-route or to have no particular destination in mind at all, to change directions on a whim, to stop and start, to explore along the way is what biking has been for me this summer.

Field of Corn

Field Corn

Where I live in the Midwest, we’re lucky to have an old inter-urban railroad track which has been converted into a 20-mile long bike trail. It runs between farmer’s fields planted to corn and soybeans, past a couple of truck stops and the local speedway. Ground squirrels pop up out of burrows they’ve dug in the gravel, rabbits scatter in front of my bike, and this morning a mink crossed in front of me and disappeared in the underbrush.

Modern farm buildings

Scenes along the bike path, Modern farm buildings

 

Cell Tower on a Farm

Cell towers are very common additions to farms

 

Old sign for Speedway

It’s not all farms…

Drainage ditch

Draining the fields

Gravel road along corn field

County Road

 


 

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