Rather begrudgingly, over the last three years, I adapted to the car-based lifestyle that is the common way of getting around in modern, U.S. communities.
It’s not that one cannot ride bikes here. In fact, many do, but our home’s location relative to the places we elect to go has not presented many opportunities for purposeful riding. That and circumstances: moving through a second pregnancy towards toddlerhood was not so fancy free as to allow for bike rides.
I say all this because I relish nearly everything about being a bike commuter: the breeze on my skin, the freedom from non movement, gas use and traffic, the revolutionary act it still seems to be.
In Brooklyn, biking was cake and cars were to be rented or borrowed to get out dodge on the weekends. I was one human, there were well marked lanes everywhere and there was a flow that one could drop into: buzzing past cars parked on the Belt Parkway and heading to the freedom of the Rockaways or gulping the fresh air of Prospect Park’s forested heart on my way to or from P.S. 93. Those days were golden. Oh, and the drinking and biking as opposed to drinking and driving-way better.
Then, we moved onto Boulder, which now seems to me a mecca in terms of alternative transportation. One of my first days there on a bike, I pulled out without signaling (in my defensive NYC style) and was aggressively chastised by a motorist who didn’t want to kill me. A change of attitude was quickly required on my part.
We two had become three and eventually acquired a car for grocery trips and hiking outside of town, but other than that, I biked, he biked, we all biked. And there the bike paths run alongside of creeks and tunnels zip you under the roadways. A bicyclist is respected and cared for by the, pre-dominantly Prius and Subaru, driving population. I biked my toddler to school and playdates, I biked to work and yoga myself. It was rather divine.
Now, we are four and working our way up to family bike rides and family bike commuting. Last week, I biked 35 commuter miles by my self, after three years of relative un-biking, and I felt just like myself again; cool mornings headed to teaching in Brooklyn and Boulder and now Santa Fe, breeze rustling up the sunset grasses along the Maah Daah Hey Trail. My knees are still readjusting, but my legs, heart and mind have been thanking me wildly. I am back and it feels quite good.