photo: Matthew McDermott
Among the other green advocates at yesterday's Earth Day festivities in Times Square, Matthew Modine made an appearance. You may be more familiar with his films, but he's also the founder of Bicycle For a Day and an enthusiastic cyclist. I had a chance to ask Modine if he had any tips for NYC residents who might be afraid of setting out on the Big Apple's crowded and often chaotic streets, as well as what's we might see this year from BFAD: Avoid Midtown's Traffic & Pedestrians
The main thing on Modine said is to avoid Midtown when you're starting out. Between the cabs and wandering (often oblivious) pedestrians, bicycling in Midtown is decidedly not for the faint of heart or inexperienced.
Beyond that Modine expressed is that bicycling in the city can bring you to another level of green consciousness. On a bike you're much more in touch with the world around you than in a car. And out amongst all the car and truck fumes, you immediately experience the urgency with which we need to address the way we're degrading our environment.
Biking ultimately is one of the easiest things a person can do to help improve the environment, and improve their health, with benefits happening from the first time you set out, Modine said.
BMXing Can Be a Subversive Act
The really interesting thing is what Bicycle For a Day is planning next: Modine says he wants to pack two shipping containers full of used bike parts and send them to Afghanistan and Iraq. Once there they would help local kids learn to assemble the bikes and the rudiments of bicycle mechanics, and sell the bikes. Modine calls it a Trojan Horse: In those contexts, BMXing could really be a subversive act.
OK, so those kids may be able to learn to be bike mechanics locally, but it's still a pretty cool idea.