From worrying about what we threw away as food waste to packaging, Christmas trees and just about any other hang up possible for a quietly green family we have been there done that and recycled the T-shirt. 30 or 40 years ago we were wondering when the recycling revolution would arrive. We yearned for a breakthrough to make wind, sun and hydro power accessible for all. We hoped that more people would make the bicycle the transport of choice. Granted we were city dwellers, a small flat in Westbourne Park a stone’s throw from trendy Notting Hill. Our mode of transport then was a nifty mountain bike and an old butchers bike. When our first child arrived we hooked up a lovely child’s seat and went overboard on being seen. Bikes and cyclists were still seen as pests at that time and there were numerous run ins with park life including the Royal Parks police who would try to hide behind trees and leap out with glee to issue a fine. Can you imagine that happening today?
We had more children, four in fact and more bikes. Bike trailers and more bike seats. We yearned to move back to Wales where we could cycle to our hearts content but on one of our first outings along the millennium coastal path in the fancy free year of 2000 I was hit off my bike along with my daughter by someone travelling in the same direction who was not paying attention. Scuffed and bruised with a couple of scrapes on my young daughter was enough to put us off for a while. We did go back but this time we stayed within the country park. You’d think that it would be safe there but alas at that time cars or rather drivers had little consideration even when there was a child onboard. Thankfully things have changed considerably but there are still those pseudo Tour de France types who treat the cycle path as a time trial albeit in their own heads.
With the increase in availability of electric bikes there appeared to be different cycling types, those who would never otherwise engage with any strenuous physical activity unless it involved the mouth and a knife and fork. Using a common Australian term, good on ya I say. Anything that gets you out of the house, off the sofa and away from the TV has to be good. Call me old fashioned but my view was that a bike is for pedalling and to get from A to B in the fastest possible time or else to have fun on with the kids. I say was because views do change unless of course you are a government minister having just pushed through the 20mph. I have yet to see a single benefit in my home village where nobody appears to have read the government’s missive or the red road markings. Despite this potential danger on the roads in and out we have pushed on and purchased an electric cargo bike, which will be powered via a solar panel, which in turn will run our office equipment when out and about.
Somewhere along this utopian 20mph road for us all there is a solution. It may be a solution, which may be forced upon us through geopolitical circumstances beyond our control or it maybe that we just come to the natural conclusion that our children will burn under a blazing sun or sink in rising seas or feel the force of a nuclear blast at the behest of a psychotic despot dictator. Natural resources will not last forever and governments will ultimately take a harsher line with motorists in generations to come. I had a glancing conversation with a man of a certain age recently and posed the idea that stone age man was not much different from homo sapiens of today, I.e brain function, physical attributes etc. It was I suggested just a case that nothing had been invented and resources not unearthed. We may or may not believe that we have developed rapidly since those first men and women roamed the Earth in designer fur outfits, apologies that was Raquel Welsh, 2 million years BC. We are on a journey backwards if you will. Leaving behind the most treasured of items in favour of walking and cycling or using that equally primitive and often smellier than a stone age man’s fur pants , public service transport bus or train.
We have something in common with those hairy men and women who we are led to believe roamed the land grunting and bashing each other with clubs. The universe has remained a constant but more obviously the sun and the moon and all they bring. Heat, light, tidal movement and potential sources of power. Can you imagine if way back then, just one of those stone age folks had looked up at the sun and thought, you know, that might just be a source of power to heat my cave, run my chariot and toast my cobbler. Would we ever have gone down the path of fossil fuels?