What Do Bicycles an EMRs Have in Common?

Photo Credit: beta karel

The walkers

Imagine there is a group of people traveling through the wilderness by foot. Every day they get up and travel miles and miles through all kinds of terrain and weather conditions. Some days they travel mostly up hill, while others days they travel downhill. They go through ravines, savannas, jungles and deserts. Every day is a challenge. But these “walkers” are well prepared for these challenges. They have become accustomed to this way of life.  Not to mention they have the proper gear to help them in their daily journey.

New means

One day, the walkers encounter something they’ve never seen before. It is a wheeled vehicle with two wheels powered by foot pedals. They call it a bicycle.

Although the bicycle is foreign to them, they soon understand what it is for and more important the potential the bicycle has. It is obvious that this bicycle allows them to be far more efficient in their expeditions. They can travel farther and faster while using less energy. With these bicycles, they can become more proficient.

Not everything that shines is gold

But they soon realize that the bicycle cost money. They actually cost a lot of money; and each walker would have to get their own.  There is also a learning curve. It takes a while to learn how to ride a bike, which can affect a walker’s progress on their daily journeys.

A new group

Despite these hurdles, a group begins to form within the walkers whom believe this bicycle thing has a lot of promise. The large group is divided and two distinct groups form. There is the group that wants to remain “walkers” and there is a group that adopts the bicycle to become the “riders.”

Move on

Not wanting to waste more time, the walkers leave behind the riders and continue on their journey. Many affirm they don’t have the money to spend on bicycles, others complain that learning how to ride a bicycle will set them back and others actually have both complaints. So they march on.

Decisions

The newly formed group, formerly known as the walkers, stick around to learn more about these bikes. They soon find out that they can’t just take any bicycle; they have to decide which bicycle they need. Essentially, each bicycle is designed with a different purpose. Thus, they have to consider terrain and weather conditions they will encounter. Speed, wheel size, gears, and handlebars are just some of the other things they have to think before selecting a bicycle. They have to answer questions like, will there be jumping or riding long distances over flat terrain? Will they be riding through mud, sand, or mountains?

Frustration

Most of the new bikers start growing frustrated. They just want a bike that works and gets the job done. Problem is, that once they decide on a bike, there is no going back. So the decision on which bicycle they chose has to be precise; which adds to the pressure.

Pat on the back

The walkers on the other hand are trekking along, looking back at the riders and snickering and assuring themselves they made the right choice.

Training

Bikers soon decide on the bike, but now, they have to learn how to ride it. Even though the seller of the bike sold them on the idea they could learn how to ride a bike in a couple of weeks, it actually takes longer… much longer.

So after several long weeks, the riders are up and riding. But even thought they got the training, it will be a while before they catch up to the walkers.

Progress

It has been months now since the riders got their bicycles and they are using them to their fullest capacity. Now the bikers realize they made the right choice.

There are pros & cons with everything

The bikers acknowledge that going up hill, for example, is still hard to do with their new bicycles much like it is difficult for the walkers. But it is far better than walking up the hills because the bike affords them gears, and nice clip-on pedals that help them be propelled up the hill. In deed, downhill for the walkers is easier than the uphill, but when compared to riding a bicycle downhill, there is no comparison.

Except when the terrain was difficult to maneuver. Riders sometimes had to get off their bikes and cross-terrain that was not suitable for bike riding. In fact, it was easier for the walkers at times because they didn’t have to carry the bicycles through dense foliage, through rivers or up steep inclines.

You see, I told you

Walkers pointed to these shortcomings as reasons not to adopt bicycles. And although they acknowledge there are benefits to becoming a rider, the transition was just too painful for them. They point out that the bicycle is too expensive, requires training to master, hinders their ability [at times], requires yearly maintenance – which increases the cost. The walker also argue that at times, they can move faster than the riders and trek more ground because they aren’t bogged down by the size, bulkiness and weight of the bike under difficult terrain.

Once you go bike, you never go back

Riders acknowledged that the bicycles weren’t perfect. However, they all agreed that bicycles were a vast improvement over walking. Despite the cost, hardships and challenges of their decisions to become bikers, they concluded they would never go back to walking again.

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