Ubiquity and the Bicycle
Ubiquity, ubiquitous, ubiquititness - Great words to just let roll off your tongue. You can feel that first “uuuu” slipping up on you melding into some sharp consonants “BIG” with a cute “qui” ending in a solid “T” – Ubiquity! Many years ago, some foolish young 8th graders were showing their age and levels of maturity at the time in a classroom not really in a galaxy far, far away. All males, full of themselves as young teens are want to be, went a step to far in treating a teacher unfairly. The young males soon found themselves in the principal’s office being reprimanded and punished. No, we, uh, they weren’t being paddled but were being informed that their punishment was to be removed from the aforementioned teacher’s class and placed in an extra hour of ENGLISH LESSONS! Ahhh! The horror of it all…
Little did I know at the time that said punishment would turn out to be one of the great learning opportunities of my life. You see, we were placed in an extra hour of Wiley Smith’s class where we were presented with lists of words to memorize, learn to spell, and use in a comprehensive fashion. Thus began my lifelong love affair with words. Words open doors to places where things are “ubiquitous”. On occasion, some may same “superfluous”.
Recently, my wife and I, along with a couple of family members, had the occasion to spend a week at Hilton Head Island in the South Carolina Low Country. We were clearly in a place where bicycles are ubiquitous. We literally did not go anywhere that we could not have ridden our bicycles on that island. Bicycle shops and businesses were abundant and rental bicycles were for the asking – at a fee of course. You could order up a pizza or a bicycle and either one would be delivered to your rental unit. You did not ride alone. Need some groceries? Fine – jump on your bicycle and run down to the local grocery store. There’s a bike rack waiting for you. Need to cross the road? Fine – the bike path will get you there.
Hilton Head is a community in which cycling and the cycling infrastructure are woven into the fabric of the community. Local citizens, as well as the many money spending tourists, are treated to League of American Bicyclists Platinum level amenities. Every day we saw locals riding to work on the separated bike paths side-by-side with those of us visiting the island. Not once did we get yelled at, have something thrown at us, or get “buzzed” by a motorist. A “shared road” concept seemed to be ubiquitous – something we could all benefit from in the years to come.
(O.K., just in case you’re checking, I made “ubiquititness” up although I would intend for it to mean “being in a state of ubiquity”…)
For more information, visit http://gr8smokieszeke.blogspot.com and www.bicyclehaywoodnc.org . You may also link to Zeke’s Great Smoky Mountain 2 Wheeled Adventures under Opinion on the Mountaineer’s website.