Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Getting There by Bike
Since starting my new job last fall, I have mostly become a bike commuter. The choice was initially made out of practical considerations. We are a one-car family, and often the car is "needed" for getting kids to and from school and after-school activities. The hardest part, for me, was the mental preparation. Making the shift to needing to be ready earlier, and having equipment such as gloves and rain pants and a light gathered together to be on time. But now that it has become a habit, it doesn't seem nearly as difficult. It's just what I do.
I work in two different places during the week. One of them is about 7.5 miles (12 km), or a 45 minute ride, away (I ride slowly to avoid getting too sweaty en route!). The other is about 6 miles (9.5 km) (a 30 minute ride) away and mostly along a bike path that follows a creek and meanders through suburban neighborhoods, industrial zones, and lovely wetlands. It has been really wonderful watching the spring come. Each day I bike the path, there are little changes. All the trees have budded out now and there are ducks and many other birds. Once I saw a blue heron standing in the creek! I love watching the seasons change and experiencing them close up. If I were driving, I wouldn't be as aware of the temperature, the air (or rain) on my skin, the birdsong and frogs croaking and the earthy, wonderful smell of spring. I love it! Here are some images of the bike path, my shorter commute:
One of the benefits of discovering the fun of bike commuting is that it's made it easier to make changes in our car use at other times. We have been trying to cut down on driving for a long time, but often due to me (ahem)and choices prioritizing convenience, it's been a challenge. However, we now have moved to having "bike days" three days a week (we only live about 2.5 miles or 4 km from the boys' school, as well as from the downtown library, and are in close walking distance to grocery stores, a hardware store, garden store, bakery, etc.). The boys do complain, but they have come up with creative solutions. G1 has started riding the city bus when he doesn't feel like biking. G2 sometimes still catches a tow in the Burley trailer pulled by his papa. And a few weekends ago, Minou and I even rode our bikes to and from an evening movie date about 7 miles away, something I would have resisted before.
Do you have any suggestions for living "car-lite" (or even car-free!) with kids? I'd love to hear them!