Bicyclists & Jews: Both Are Targets (But They Should Not Be)

I AM A JEW.  I’m out of practice, in that I haven’t been to shabbat services in many suns.  It is more accurate to say that I’m Jew-ish. I was also simultaneously brought up in another faith tradition, Unitarian Universalism.  As far as ethnicity and identity go, Judaism, being the parent of Christianity, is much more well known than UU’s.  Jews are 1.5% of the US population; UU’s are far fewer.  I’m also an atheist, or if you can’t handle that, an agnostic (which I wrote about here).  But I’m also a bicyclist.  And we are legion, but still a minority compared to car drivers.

After the heinous hate crime that murdered 11 Jews at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Saturday, October 27, I  realized two things.  First, writing a blog about biking seemed, well, frivolous.  It many ways, it is.  But also, I noticed that there are parallels between Jews and bicyclists.  Both groups are minorities.  Both are hated irrationally.  Both are targetted victims of violence.  Vehicular violence isn’t as “sexy” (newsworthy) as gun violence, but it’s still violence that ruins and destroys lives.  This post explores the intersections (pun intended) of this topic. Continue reading

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Who Will Be Our Role Models, Now That Our Role Models Are Gone? Deep Thoughts on My 25-Mile Bike Ride

Although this is predominantly a blog about biking, it’s also about anything excellent (raves) as well as things I think suck (rants).   Sometimes it’s chocolate, movies, or soccer.  Sometimes it’s racism, jerks in cars, and politicians.  Definitely in the rave column, a while ago, I went to see Paul Simon on his farewell tour, naturally called Homeward Bound, which I blogged about here.   In thinking about what to write for this blog while on tonight’s 25-mile bike ride, I used title of a song from “Rhymin’ Simon’s” highly influential world music-infused album Graceland.   If you guessed that this post is a rant, you win!  (Your prize is continuing to read this post.)  Let’s dig into the mind of A Dude, shall we? Continue reading

What Two African Muslims Taught Me About Ramadan, Bicycling and Blogging

Ramadan is the month-long holiday of day-time fasting, prayer and other practices observed by people of the Muslim faith.  It ended yesterday, making today Eid al-Fitr.  What does that have to do with me and bicycling?  I’m glad you asked, so I’ll tell you.  Recently I wrote about self-compassion.  And then I met a man on a bike ride who was only riding at night.  When asked why, he said it was because he was observing Ramadan.  No water or food until nightfall, and then biking?  To me that was impressive because it showed some serious dedication to both his religion and his sport.  He’s a Nigerian living in Texas.

What does Ramadan mean
Source:   Oregon Public Broadcasting You Tube channel

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world in Kenya, a fellow blogger posted a story about encountering a poor woman on the street.  She too is an African Muslim who was observing Ramadan.  But despite the blogger being charitable and giving away some of her money, the beggar still berated her, and told her it was not enough.  One of the teachings of Islam is to be additionally generous during this month, and so she grappled with doing that but not receiving the gratitude she expected.  The two encounters were too coincidental not to share.

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