7-Seater Bicycle

Planes, trains, and…?

Not everything is an allegory, but the 7-seater bicycle seems particularly well-suited for symbolism. First, there is the initial reluctance to accept that such a thing exists. You are full of “why” questions. In a world of one or maybe two seated bikes, rational bicycles, this thing looks like a monster. What could be the possible benefit of an additional 5 seats? Completely impractical.

The deeper meaning, however, comes when you hop on to one of those seats and all of a sudden you are scooting and dodging around the town at a blazing 5 mph to the delight, mostly, of the lazy afternoon drinkers outside of cafes and nobody trying to get somewhere in a car. You are pedaling furiously with six other engines, gripping the metal handrail with your back to the road in front of you. Given your seating position, you can only see the road you’ve traveled, not the obstacles ahead. It’s either crane your neck and swivel or accept that you have no control over the path of the 7-seater bicycle.

And so, here I am, metaphorically perched on the edge of a Fulbright journey where, to a person, the most frequently offered advice has been “say yes to everything.” The proverbial 7-seater bicycle. I don’t know where I’m going or how I’m going to get there, mostly, but I have already accepted the ride. It may not be practical, the path will most definitely be unpredictable, and most assuredly I won’t always know where I’m going. But, I’ve been given a helmet. And a Fulbright. So, let’s get going.

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