28 April 2006

Bike Commuting: Once a Commuter Always a Commuter

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.


the old bag said...

Likewise, I rode my bicycle constantly through 6th-8th grade...it was the primary mode of travel for my friends and I -- to school, visiting on weekends, etc.

I think the child remains.

I also think too few bother to go searching for him/her.

-- PS Thanks for stopping by the blog!

Ruby said...

I've been on an endless quest in search of the child. Finding him on a bike was totally unexpected. But I love the kid that rides my bikes... Keep it up.

Ditto on the blog stop...

Shawn Kielty said...

Hey man -- my bike got stolen in like 1980 and I quit riding

But I came back now -- thirty years later --- I forgot some things. but I didn't lose my bearings.

Ride! And live!

Shawn Kielty said...

Find your inner bike.

A.R.B. said...

OB, Ruby, Shawn.

Thanks so much for the encouragement. Would you mind pedalling for me now? That part’s really hard.