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You Are Not Alone

July 9, 2010

I was inspired by Dottie’s picnic for one that she wrote about the other day, that I last minute decided to grab my blanket and toss it in my bike basket while heading out yesterday. The temperature was actually bearable (in the high 70s! what a dream!) and so after a few hours in the library, I decided to take my reading and research outside.

The beauty of working on a college campus is that there is no shortage of green and shade providing trees. You can just step outside of any given building and likely find a nice little spot where to enjoy the fresh air. I circled around a bit until I found a nice shady patch, parked my bike, and set up my reading spot. It was nice to see that I wasn’t the only one taking advantage of the green and the great weather as several other cyclists lay sprinkled next to their bikes throughout the grass.

That evening, I thought I was all done with my bike rides for the day when T. came home and announced an outdoor concert taking place along the main street of our town. Friends of ours and their young daughters would be there – as well as free popcorn and balloon animals – so we hopped on our bikes once more and rode over there. Fortunately, I still had the blanket in my bike basket so I just pulled it out and we had impromptu seating for four. I was happy to see that we weren’t the only ones biking there, as we parked our bikes along a long line of others and joined the crowd. Afterwards, we took the long way home through a forested park and on meandering trails, effectively making my legs feel like rubber by the time the day was over.

I came to this conclusions yesterday: even when you feel like you’re a minority in something, you will likely find others who share your position and pursue a similar path. But you won’t start noticing those others until you open your eyes to the possibility of them being there. There is definitely a large majority of people here who get from point A to B by car, the sidewalks are decidedly empty of pedestrians for large parts of this town, and we are more than lacking in a bike friendly infrastructure (for the most part, bikes are expected to share the sidewalk).

And yet there is no absence of bikes parked on campus, around town, and along parking meters (for a lack of bike racks at oh so many places). On most days, I’m waving hello to several other cyclists as we pass each other on our commute and I’m usually having to fight for that space at the parking meter pole. I guess I never really noticed the presence of bikes before because I was looking out from my car, selectively seeing other drivers and vehicles. Now that I’m traversing town on two wheels, I’m continuously surprised by how many others there are out there, doing that very same thing. It just makes me wonder, what took me so long?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 9, 2010 13:21

    That sounds like a perfect day! My town is also the opposite of bike friendly (I hate when the bike route is on the sidewalk – much more dangerous than just riding in the street!) but you’re right about seeing cyclists everywhere as soon as you join their ranks. I need to take advantage of my campus more often for solo picnics – maybe when the temperature dips below 95!

    • July 9, 2010 23:30

      Looks like you had a perfect day, and evening! Glad the weather by you has cooled some! ENJOY it!

  2. July 11, 2010 17:25

    Beautiful! The bike, book and berry picnic is the best summer activity.

    I had the same experience with really noticing bikes once I started riding. Bike riders are all over Chicago, but I don’t remember passing many during the short period when I drove a car in the city. Even in those last two years, more and more people began riding, so maybe we’re more noticeable to car drivers now.

  3. July 15, 2010 04:53

    Funny, that it took my blog to help me feel less alone as a bike commuter, and not just through my connection to other bike bloggers. I developed connections through the people I met who were inspired by seeing me (often a stranger) all over town on my bike and in heels, people who had seen my blog and referred their bike commuting friends to it, and through my involvement in the Tweed Rides. Admittedly, most of the people I am meeting are 10 – 20 years my junior but my husband and I are strangely comfortable with being developmentally stuck at 30.

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