SEC: Comfort

Note this is the first in a three part series.

When people ask me what I want in cycling, SEC is the shortest answer I can give: security, efficiency, and comfort.

Let’s start with comfort.

To me, comfort is obvious, but in the magic of the biking world–hi, John!–this is hopelessly confused.

When a car company puts out a luxury car or an airline is rated highest in comfort, there’s not a lot of debate.

This is a good thing and it’s worth it.

Similarly, we don’t whine about climate control or cooked food, either.

Comfort is good.

Duh!

But few advocates are brave enough to ask for comfort.

What is this mysterious comfort?

First of all, it’s quiet. That’s one of the gifts a cyclist gives to her community, silence.

Is she praised for this? Sometimes, but often she is considered to be annoying, arrogant, and a self-righteous “little Christ of the road”.

Comfort is freedom from fear which means that cars are far away. Where there are cars moving quickly nearby there’s always a chance we can get hit. That’s NOT comfort.

Comfort is having the right and space to ride side by side and hold a conversation.

Comfort is not having hills steeper than what a car has to drive up unless one wants to.

Comfort is getting on a bicycle with normal clothes without a thought of tools, helmets, yellow vests, or the other trash that other advocates think we should have at all times.

Comfort not ever having to answer questions about one’s “lifestyle” because cycling is normal.

Basically, comfort is obvious, desirable, and this one little word encapsulates nearly everything that I want from cycling.

Nearly every world religion and moral system holds comfort to a high standard. Christ died so other people don’t have to suffer so much in hell. That is heaven is comfort.

Buddha had a hard life by our standards, but he did practice the middle way which meant that he eschewed torture for torture’s sake. His practice was meant to create enduring mental comfort for the rest of one’s life.

Moses took his people AWAY from Egypt and slavery not toward it.

There are only a few people who feel that comfort is totally unimportant: masochists (who are kind of cool), Spartans (who are striking for better working conditions and they no longer kill their young), and VCers who totally ignore the comfort issue when I bring it up. Usually when I speak to a VCer about “comfort” they bitch that I’m “fearful” as if it’s some how stupid to fear getting run over.

If you think that comfort is a dirty word, then I have a bed of nails for you to sleep on. 🙂

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