I read a post yesterday from my blogger buddy Echo at Echo in the City. Her post talked about a ride she had taken recently with her husband, and she flat did NOT enjoy it. In fact, she admitted, she hasn’t ridden since August. Now for some people, this wouldn’t be a big deal, some don’t ride but once a year. But Echo is a major advocate for the bike culture. She wants everyone to ride whenever possible. So admitting she hasn’t ridden was hard, but she had a great reason behind it
Echo lives in Chicago. Now I will admit my experience is Chicago is VERY limited. I stayed there once with my crazy aunt Sue (who is now Aunt Donna) when I was very young. I also caught a connecting flight at O’Hare airport back in 2005. The toilet seats in the men’s room have a plastic lining that rotates when you flush. So yes, as you see, I know nothing about the town.
From this one post of Echo’s though, I have learned that Chicago drivers are NOT partial to cyclists, there are very few bike racks and bike theft is a daily worry. So in essence, any ride she takes, she has to worry about cars, search for a place to lock the bike and worry the whole time that some jackass will steal it.
Damn, no wonder she hasn’t ridden much…
It started me thinking about how lucky I am with my cycling.
First off, in the Seattle area, where I live, the number of people on two wheels increases every year. Mom’s and dad’s use the bikes to take one or two kids to day care. People bike to and from work every day. There are bike racks everywhere. Bikes are used for errands, visiting friends, and yep, even going to get a beer or two on the way home.
I will tell you back in 1991 when I started working in Seattle, I NEVER saw anyone, aside from bike messengers, on a bike. Now, I sometimes travel in a herd of two wheelers.
Then there is the “where I can ride.” Now maybe I am wrong. (My friend Trish will tell you I form opinions of places without ever being there. Case in point: I refer to Atlanta as Hell on Earth. I have never set foot in the place) But I honestly can NOT see Chicago, or the state of Illinois in general as really being that exciting. Honestly, where are you going to ride to.
Here in Washington, I can ride to snow capped mountains,
and gorgeous lakes.
Shoot, just yesterday, in trying out a new way from the Burke Gilman trail to my house. Soon I was traveling through a secluded area with no cars, lots of trees and two streams. The perfect place to ride. This was 3 miles from my house.
So what’s the key? To get the most out of cycling, and by the most I mean, miles, trips and exercise you very much have to like it. If you have nowhere to ride, nothing to see, and have no fun doing so, then you might as well take a spin class. Crappy conditions makes for very few rides.
Living where I do, cars are used to us, we have plenty of bike trails, gorgeous & varied scenery, and plenty of places to go. Plus, if you have the right clothes, you can cycle damn neat 365 days a year. (On the 8th day God made Gortex and it was good!)
I applaud Echo for being brave enough to say that “Yes, there are some bad parts about cycling. Nothing is perfect!” I am also happy she is moving to Colorado, I’d LOVE to ride there!
For me, I am just damn lucky that my dad got stationed out here back when I was a kid, and that 7 years ago, I took a leap and started riding again. There really is no better day to stay in shape, and rain or shine, on the back of the bike, most people see me smile!
The bike is ready for tomorrow! Saddle up! It’s time to ride!