I guess if you want to become famous enough to have a holiday dedicated to you, you have to be born on Monday. Or, perhaps, being born on Monday will lead you to fame.
But I digress. I don't often hear or see MLK and bicycling mentioned on the same page, let alone the same sentence. The biographies I've seen tell us that he enjoyed riding his bike as a kid but make no mention of him cycling as an adult.
|From Dan's Globe Bike|
So why am I mentioning him on this blog? Well, I believe that my cycling is one major reason why I began to think about issues of social justice long before I would be affected by them in the immediate and visceral ways I would experience them when I was transitioning from male to female. Riding my bike through New York--where I have lived much of my life--and other cities, I have seen, close-up, the stark differences between neighboring communities. Just minutes after spinning by the opulent townhouses and boutiques of Manhattan's Fifth and Park Avenues--which rival Rodeo Drive, Kensington Gardens and l'Avenue Montaigne--I descend the ramp from the Triboro Bridge to the southern tip of the Bronx. It's part of the 16th Congressional district, the poorest in the entire nation. There, I am as likely as not to be the only woman on a bicycle within a radius of several miles.
In both neighborhoods, people sometimes compliment the bike I'm riding, or (on rarer occasions these days) my riding itself. In either neighborhood, I am keenly aware of my privilege: Even if I am riding to work or an appointment, I am riding my bike by choice. And I am riding a bike I choose to ride. Even if I have no money in my purse, I still occupy a higher rung on the social--and, yes, economic--ladder then those who are riding bikes that no one else wanted so they can deliver pizzas or get to an appointment with a case worker.
As long as I can ride, and choose to do so, I am privileged.