Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Easing Into the Saddle

My name is Jen. I'm the cycling cohort. While Steven sits and writes the history of how we got to this point, I'd like to jump in and just say... this has changed our lives. Not only are we more active, we are also more involved parents and enjoy spending time cycling as a family.

I used to be a reluctant cyclist. I had my first accident a couple years back and found that flipping a bike and landing on concrete is not fun. It took a couple months to coax me back into the saddle. By then we had moved closer to Downtown San Antonio, which is within 1 1/2 miles of my college, a 1/2 mile from our daughters' school, and 4-6 miles from both of our jobs.

Steven took to riding the bus to work and cycling home. The last bus in his area was usually an hour long wait. Me, I still yearned for a car. I liked how convenient it was to get from A to B in air conditioning, regardless of distance, traffic or pit stops. It felt like freedom. Or at least that's what flashy car commercials immortalize.

It took me a while to be comfortable enough with myself to support using my ezip to go to family functions and commute to school. My dad thought we were crazy when Steven and I showed up for Thanksgiving dinner towing the girls in a 2 seat trailer. First assumption he made was that I lived close by since he didn't know exactly where our new apartment was. When we told him, approx 5 miles away, his look of shock helped me feel better. We ate well, but not too much, since we knew we had 5 miles between there and our doorstep. Biking there helped us pass on seconds and third servings, and on our way home we made a nice detour to a nearby park to let the kids play on the jungle gym before being buckled in for the 30 minute ride.

Since then, I began commuting to and from college. A quick 15 minute ride and I'm awake, ready to tackle the day. I get to smell the food cooking at local restaurants and hear birds serenade each other while the cars next to me have their windows rolled up and music blaring. Biking the 1 1/2 miles to school every morning is almost like my moment of peace, meditation. It helps me appreciate so many things drivers take for granted, or dont get a chance to slow down and witness.

I also favor picking up my kindergartener by bike. I travel the half mile to her school, then enter the car queue lane in the cul de sac, and bypass all the cars and park in the grass next to the loading zone. The teachers instantly know which kid I belong to and my daughter happily dons her helmet. This fall she will be biking to school along side me.

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