The use of visual evidence in the two talks differed strongly in their effects. The pro-helmet speaker relied heavily on text and bullet points, with a similar format running throughout all the slides. This yielded little added strength to his argument, overstimulating the language part of the brain rather than making his point clearer. The wide variety of ads, images, text, statistics, and quotes employed by the second speaker added a lot to his presentation, illustrating his points in different, easy-to-understand ways. There was also an added level of creativity in the car-safety ads that he made, which combined the statistical similarities between the effects of cars and cigarettes, another parallel that strengthened his argument.
I thought overall my speech went well, at the very least I was proud of cutting down the um/uhs that generally plague me when presenting ideas. I feel like I definitely hit the main points that I wanted to, but did feel a little confined by time, and wish I would’ve included more about my own experiences specifically, and touched on environmental benefits as well, as they connect nicely with the independence/dependence theme. Perhaps a visual component could’ve helped, especially if I went further into my own stories. I think I will try to incorporate more creativity in how I present my ideas in the future, as I now have more confidence and experience narrowing down my ideas and points and speaking about them.
I’ve decided to go with the childhood-focused option for my presentation, and am excited to organize my ideas and passions into a more concise argument. As I said before, I will likely use both Strickland’s article as well as a few interviews regarding the role of bicycles in one’s childhood, and whether or not the bike led to childhood experiences of adventure and exploring. I will also try to find online articles/blogs/videos related to the ideas I’m pursuing with my research. I understand that it will be impossible to do any sort of wide-reaching study, but that is not my intention. I simply want to present an interesting way to see the progression of human existence, and incite people to consider the significance of their own experiences, and perhaps find meaning in that which characterizes childhood. I may hint at or touch on some of the ideas and questions raised in my other presentation ideas, as many could help support the general sentiment of my speech.
(Themes: adventure/exploration, dependence/independence, growth)
-progression of themes (thesis of the presentation): adventure/exploration leads to dependence/independence which yields growth)
-So I interviewed my parents to see if bikes had the same impact on them
-adventure=not always safe or as idealized as its made out to be (dad-going off ramps, knocking people off bikes with skateboards)
–however, still yields growth
-mom’s story-bikes aren’t the only way to create adventures, walking works, (these themes transcend bikes, but that doesn’t mean bikes can’t help create experiences that cultivate this progression)
Benefits of biking/themes for you today:
-seeing more of the world close-up, connecting with those around you and your environment, building community
-being able to navigate roads safely and knowing the city well-independence, yet dependent upon the strength/safety of one’s community
-become more aware of your community and its people, dangers, problems, wonders
->Grow yourself, Grow your community
The first idea that I really would like to investigate further for my presentation is the connection and significance of bicycles in relation to childhood and the transition into adulthood. Aside from reading Strickland’s article, I could also interview people (my parents perhaps) about their childhood and what role bicycles played in it. Drawing from my own experiences and thoughts, I could construct an argument for the role bicycles play in cultivating the child’s desire to explore.
Another idea I have kind of plays into the childhood one, as I would look into the epidemic of child obesity and the role of technology plays in this problem, as well the possibility for bicycles to help solve this problem. This would be my credibility assessment, as I could look into studies regarding children’s habits in these areas.
Playing on my Comparative Literature and Culture major, I could also investigate the different forms and styles bicycles take in different cultures, and see what those types, or uses, of bikes reflect about the broader culture within a specific country. As music is also a passion of mine, I’m still considering ways in which I could incorporate that as well. Perhaps I could play a song from the country I was investigating and connect it culturally to some aspect of bicycles. There are many options.
In this Ted Talk, Shannon Galpin speaks a lot about her work in Afganistan, and the power of bikes to spur a revolution in thought regarding women’s equality. Her ability to connect and string together her ideas and experiences in a logical progression, combined with a projection of confidence and determination, compelled me to continue the video and find her conclusions both meaningful and realistic. However, the other Ted Talk I watched, with a focus on the effect of bikes on cities versus that of cars, yielded a different experience. The speaker stumbled through note cards unconvincingly, often starting unrelated parts of her talk, then correcting herself, which only served to weaken her argument, despite it being one that I adamantly agree with. At times she seemed to be trying too hard to appeal to pathos, (Something along the lines of “This woman’s baby will die because of the pollution from cars,” was the most extreme example of this.) rather than establishing a solid ethos to build upon. I too see the negative effects cars have on cities, and how cities like Amsterdam have a noticeably more communal, connected feel, while reflecting the environmental and health benefits people get from biking. Yet, the presentation left me underwhelmed, and shed light on the huge impact the delivery of a talk has on its objective.
Strickland spoke a lot about the transition from childhood to adulthood, and how the bike is symbolic of this shift, yet stressed the importance of returning to all the bike has to offer. This perspective coincides well with my own experiences, especially those contrasting my life when my bike was my primary form of transportation, compared to my car. The bike reflects the exploratory urges of a child, and the fascination brought upon with the smallest of environments. A child doesn’t need to travel far distances to find enjoyment and stimulation. The bike was for me, and Strickland, a way to meet up with friends in the neighborhood, feel independent, and experience the world around me in an interesting and intimate way. The introspective bubble of efficiency that is the car, closed off to the outside world, represents the more reserved, socially-informed nature of adulthood, one where we begin to construct our own environments around us rather than freely expose ourselves to the beckoning worlds of nearby. We can control everything inside the car, from the temperature to the music, so as little as possible is left up to chance, and the possibilities of the world around us. These possibilities are the same adventures that we chase as children, pedaling faster and faster towards the unexpected. The car is a still a way for me to have fun and meet up with friends, but the fundamental nature of its use stands out starkly against the naive freedom and adventure of a child.