It was late September 2001 in New York City, ground zero. I will never forget that smell, full of acidic ashes from hell, still burning after weeks. It was the smell of death, as nearly 3,000 bodies burned. I left in a daze, my identity forever changed from the realization of geopolitical madness, economic insanity, and corporate greed that were precursors of this tragedy.

The next few years guided my escape to foreign lands where I had no identity, no culture, no self, eventually suffering severe sickness from years of pollution and toxicity exposure in mega-cities of the Far East.

Fast forward to Spring 2016, and here I am, an adult returning to University to recover, on a Bicycle. The last faint memory of driving a car was over ten years ago, replaced by subways, bullet trains, taxis, and now the culmination of an era, a Bicycle. More than just a bike, mine is an electric, state of the art, clean and pollution-free ride. It is my silent weapon, slow and unobtrusive, confidently integrating my true self into this two-wheeled green dragon.

I am proud of my bike, and have quite the disdain for the combustion engine, and the repugnant cancerous fumes it spews. Yes, my identity is heavily invested in my eco-friendly machine. My world revolves around the slow lane. While cars blindly speed by, I ride, and define my identity, social status, community, and mission through this bike. My zero carbon mission is clear: make it through another winter, and another ten years, without a car…

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    2 years ago

    “Acidic ashes from hell” and “smell of death” set the scene perfectly for 2001. Love the green dragon being your “silent weapon”. Great vocabulary which adds to the overall feeling of overcoming society’s problems.


    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    2 years ago

    Hello, Chris. Your story is so engaging. It’s really captivating as if I want to have a bike too. But the problem is, can an electric bike be used on rocky, uneven, and muddy roads?

    Alan Kemister
    Alan Kemister(@alan-kemister)
    2 years ago

    Hello Chris. Interesting story. The mayhem of 9/11 followed by the hyperpollution of Asian megacities would be enough to make anyone press reset and start over again. I hope the city where you chose to return to university relied on electricity from renewable sources. Otherwise you might have to revert to a good old ten speed.

    1 year ago

    Congratulations, Chris, on your selection as a RunnerUp. With all these great stories, that’s quite an honor! Your story is a harrowing tale of tragedy and toxicity, but with a wonderful ray of hope at the end in the shape of a bicycle! Good job.

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    1 year ago

    Congratulations on your win, Chris. I am glad that you did it.

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    6 months ago

    Hello, Chris. It is a pleasure to re-read your very poignant story. The message is the right solution to resolve the air pollution. Hope many people can read this. Congratulations again.

    Last edited 6 months ago by Lotchie Carmelo

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