Why should I be afraid to commute now when I used to be a thoroughly experienced bike commuter 30 years ago? Fear may be a strong word. Uncertainty, doubt, inconvenience, excuses. As a child I commuted on a bike to school for two straight years. Grade seventh and eighth. A child really. I rode on the road oblivious to hazards. Never thought of cars as bastards and never called a driver stupid.
I still have no idea as to how I could possibly have convinced my overprotective parents to let me do that, but I apparently did. After we had moved to another section of town I was supposed to change schools. I would have none of that; all my friends were at my old school; I liked the teachers; I was doing well with grades. Why mess it up?
So I commuted on my bright-yellow Columbia ten speed, drop-bar handles, blue lunch box strapped to god knows what. In the rain, in the snow. Never a problem. I still remember that one big hill and that old lady I ran into on the corner of Heald Street. (I was riding the side-walk.) I actually knocked her down and felt terrible about it, but she got to her feet quickly and was strong enough to yell at me. My apologies. I hope she didn’t remember me for years as that bastard biker kid.
What happens to that child in us? Maybe he never really grows up.