You may have noticed a distinct silence on the subject of A Bike for Life in recent weeks. I am in a period of waiting that might have been deliberately designed to help overcome certain character flaws in me.
Some of the choices I have made when specifying my bike have delayed it’s build by Steven at Shand Cycles. We are stuck waiting for other companies to complete compatibility testing before supplying key parts.
I have been spoilt by living in a world in which we can expect almost instant delivery of almost anything. However, there are dangers with that expectation. So often it is achieved through the loss of
- Individuality: things are available instantly only if we all have the same thing
- Relationship: things are only available instantly if we abandon contact with people and do not enter into relationships with them
- Craftsmanship: things can only be available instantly if their production (and sometimes “customisation”) is automated
- Sustainability: immediate is an enemy of sustainable.. It requires time to be prioritised over care, consideration, thoughtfulness
- Human scale: instant does not allow small and personal. It requires us to be lost in the machine
- Quality: Rubbish is quicker to design, make and deliver. Quality always takes time.
All too often we have been persuaded to overvalue immediate gratification. Immediate gratification distracts us from long term value and costs.
Immediate gratification leads us to jump into our cars to get somewhere quick rather than think ahead and walk, cycle, use public transport. Yet the long term costs to our health, our wealth and our communities are huge.
Immediate gratification leads our politicians to bow to the pressure of big powerful business and give in to the lie that lowering fuel costs will aid economic recovery. So they choose that rather than investing in the slow process of making sustainable and healthier choices.
So I am focusing on building my character, on challenging my desire for instant gratification. Learning more patience is good for me, good for my health and good for the people who share my life.
Realistically instant gratification is incompatible with the desire to have a Bike for Life. A bike with real value that is individual and crafted. One where every detail has been thought about and choices made that fit with my goals of supporting British manufacturers, of lowest possible maintenance and of great flexibility.
Am I becoming a more patient person? Time (and Steven’s silence about how many “Hows it going?” emails he gets) will tell.