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Cycling and Kindness

by Ted Johnson

Todd O’Reilly and his 13-year-old son Daegan are making a documentary about the power of kindness as they ride Adventure Cycling Association’s Underground Railroad Bicycle Route from Mobile, Alabama to Toronto, Canada.

500 KindnessesThey are asking for two kinds of pledges. First, is that people pledge to be more kind in a very specific way determined by the person making the pledge.

For some bike commuters, pledging kindness is a tall order. Yes, I read your comments.

If that’s too hard, you can pledge some money so they can make a documentary about their journey, and you can leave the kindness to others.

The Underground Railroad should make an interesting framework for exploring the power of kindness.

Anyone who has taken a low-budget cycling tour should know that the acts of kindness received out in the wild far outnumber the acts of unkindness. But that’s kindness on the micro/person-to-person level. What is the power of kindness in aggregate?

Can this bike tour make a broader point about kindness and civility for and from bike commuters?

According to the 500 Kindnesses Website:

The film will discuss the legacy of the Underground Railroad and demonstrate how brave acts of kindness have lead to important social change.

When I have traveled across the country and have been the recipient of such kindness, in the back of my mind I have wondered how my race has factored in the kindness I received. For example: Would this stranger be offering me their guest room for the night if I were black? What if I were a fugitive from injustice?

I never had the nerve to ask. Maybe O’Reilly will explore this. The Underground Railroad theme is a perfect opportunity.

You can pledge to support the documentary at Indiegogo.

 
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2 Responses to “Cycling and Kindness”

  1. Niceness is under-rated. I can’t help smiling on my bike and people almost always smile right back at me. Really, it’s a win-win.

  2. listenermark says:

    “What is the power of kindness in aggregate?”

    I don’t know, but lets find out. Daily bicycle commuters have more random social encounters than daily drivers, so we potentially have more opportunities to broadcast love and kindness to strangers. As Karen said, it’s really a win-win.

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