Saturday, April 17, 2010

Ride your bike to Earth Fair @ Balboa Park tomorrow

Tomorrow is Earth Fair. Zero-emissions bicyclists, this is your day. Seize it.

Balboa Park will be hosting a giant Earth Fair event. The San Diego County Bicycle Coalition will be there offering free valet bike parking. All the bikes will be supervised by Bike Coalition volunteers. One lot will be on the west side of the park, right across from the Museum of Man on Laurel St. The other lot will be on the east side of the park on the grass area of Casa del Prado, across the street from the Natural History Museum.

Ironically, Earth Fair day--the Sunday before Earth Week--is one of the worst days to ride a bike in the center city and North Park area of San Diego. Thousands upon thousands of people from all over the San Diego region drive their cars into the city area, sit in traffic for upwards of an hour, and get frustrated looking for parking all so they can check out the festivities at Balboa Park. The optimistic side of me hopes that the education and sustainability-related information offered at Earth Fair will, in the long run, somehow offset the carbon emitted from the thousands upon thousands of cars sitting in traffic waiting to get to Balboa Park. In actuality, that is undetermined.

At the very least, we as cyclists deserve to be treated w/ respect for being pollution-free, climate solutions everyday, but especially on Earth Fair day. Unfortunately, many of the SD residents coming from suburbs and auto-centric neighborhoods don't understand the principles of vehicular cycling/street riding which is popular in the center city area of San Diego. For example, in the Mission Beach and Pacific Beach area of SD, most people ride beach cruiser bikes on the sidewalk. In the city area, we ride in the street, which is where we belong. Upon arriving to the city area in their cars, many Mission Beach/P.B. residents are shocked to see cyclists in the street "blocking their paths." As a result, many will honk at you and engage in related forms of harassment so that you will move "out of their way." If they have giant egos and a little alcohol in their system, they may even try to fight you, if you--the cyclist--show a little frustration over their hegemonic, domineering, selfish behavior.

So, beware of the massive automobile traffic jam that results from Earth Fair. But hey, at least there's demand to attend, right? I wish attendees would seek out a more sustainable, low-carbon or zero-carbon method to arrive.

Earth Fair is great. I love the intention and spirit of it. But for cyclists who practice sustainable living, Earth Fair is one of the worst days do ride a bike in the city area.

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