Thirteen—the dreaded unlucky number. For some it’s a harbinger of misfortune, for others it’s the epitome of cool. For Urban Velo it marks the beginning of our third year in business. We’ve certainly been lucky. Lucky enough to have readers all over the world. Lucky to have friends back home to support us. And lucky to have enough advertisers to make our biggest issue to date. But the very notion of luck is worth examining.
I’ve heard it said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” With some exceptions, I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been there—whether it means winning the local alleycat because you knew the shortcut around the construction zone, or surviving a nearly catastrophic crash by virtue of wearing a helmet.
So what, then, is the definition of bad luck? Certainly we’ve all had our share. But what does preparation and opportunity have to do with getting t-boned by a careless driver running a red light? You can usually mitigate the danger of being assaulted by steering clear of strange or unfriendly neighborhoods, but you never know when some common street thugs might jump you on your ride home from work. Perhaps the best definition of bad luck comes from the 1994 classic, Forrest Gump. As Forrest puts it, “Shit happens.”
Sure, it may not be the most highbrow explanation, but for me the simple, pragmatic statement goes a long way when it comes to explaining certain things. Like why two more of my friends died in the past month. Or anytime bad things happen to good people. It’s sad, and it sucks, but it’s a part of life and it’s bound to happen eventually.
Thankfully I’ve got a bike, a helmet, a lock and some good friends I can call on when times get tough. Thanks for reading, and keep the rubber side down.
This issue is dedicated to the memory of Joe Bungo and Peppi Barberra. Rest in peace.
Urban Velo issue #13, May 2009. Dead tree print run: 5000 copies. Issue #12 online readership: 45,000+