Sunday, December 28, 2014

Being innocent

Today I went out on my last Sunday bike ride of the year.
Today is the "Day of the holy innocents", it's how catholics call the day when Herod killed all the newborn babies while trying to kill baby Jesus.

Today was like a scene from a Disney movie, the weather was perfect, sunny and warm.
I kept seeing little children taking their Christmas bikes and skates for a ride, actually learning how to ride without training wheels.

I saw a little girl, wearing baby blue skates, with her baby blue helmet, baby blue knee and elbow pads... falling fat on her face, crying because she got her gear all dirty and scratched.

There was this other little guy who ran in front of me and I almost ran him over. All I could do was hit the breaks and scream "Dooooooooooooooooooooon't ever do that again dude!!!!". I think he was more freaked out because of the sound and high pitch of my terrified voice than the fact that I could've hurt him.

Of course, someone was funny enough to give his grandma a full-geared bike and found out she was in way bettet shape than any of the million and a half people out on their bikes today and was now running after her.

Three little girls were out with their parents, all of them on their brand new Barbie bikes, all of them without their training wheels, each one of them going in opposite directions and their parents freaking out, screaming, and most probably regretting having those little side wheels taken off.

It was like a Disney movie, everyone was happy, everyone was friendly. Even the mom of the kid I almost killed.

But, like every little happy story, it must come to an end.

As I got home, I found my Twitter feed filled with pictures of a guy I remember having met a while ago. I checked Facebook and it was just the same... he was dead.

He was friends with most of my bike friends and friends with many of my former students from 10 years ago. Oh... no.

Cesar was dead, a group of teenagers thought his bike had more value than his life and shot him while he was up-hill training in a small town 3 hours from Bogotá... as his mom and dad were pacing him, guarding him, so other cars wouldn't run him over. They saw him died. Is there a worst memory for a parent?

Regular people barely knew his name, but among the bike people, he was one of the most important people in the city. Not only he was a bicycle activist but he was actually doing real work in the real world -- in the real city, to make it a better place for bikes. He co-wrote the book on bikes I now treasure on my desk.

Today, we're all Cesar, we won't stop riding, we're not afraid.

I join Carlos Pardo when he says: "I know Saint Peter is a cyclist, and he'll send you to the deepest of Hells, to a frozen lake where you deserve to be with Cain, Anthenor, Ptolomeo and Judas, and every single bike robber who's had the stupid and God-forbbiden idea of killing a person.".

You deserve nothing... assholes.

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