We Ride Bikes.

March 20, 2013

There has been stuff going down in Edmonton lately about new bike lanes, with both people for and against them coming up to bat. I know this isn't different from any other city that has faced the same challenges while attempting to alter the way we look at transportation. No matter what, people on both sides have a stake in the matter. 

I don't want to bicker about whether cycling is good or not, and surprisingly, the prevailing attitude is that active transportation (and cycling, specifically) is a good thing! This is what I'm hearing from both sides, which is really encouraging. 

A doctor had presented at city council's public hearing last Wed. Based on his studies and his own experience as a health care practitioner, he implored us to consider making better and more active transportation choices that will impact not only the individual as time goes on, but our community, collectively speaking. 

Our community health is a long-term investment, and if we want to see drastic improvements in our mobility and quality of life 25 years from now, it makes sense to invest some small (and perhaps irksome) changes now. Long story short, I think one of the best investments we can make in our children, our community, and ourselves, is currently taking some baby steps in the direction of diversification in transportation. 

I thought I would contribute a few images of my own, since cyclists come in all shapes and sizes. The stereotype of cyclists being thrill-seeking mavericks is out. Normal people choosing to be active and live local? 


Baby Alice up there enjoys snoozing in her baby seat in the trailer, she is now 10 months old and has been riding along with me since she was a few months old. 

Dexter is coming up on 4 years old, and he sits in the other side of the trailer beside his baby sister. We take the bike to get to school. It takes under 10 minutes. I wear the same clothes to bike as when I drive. 

I ride my bike around when I am pregnant too. It's a lot more comfortable than waddling around, and I enjoy zipping through my neighbourhood to meet my friends for lunch or run errands. It's fast and convenient.  

We ride our bikes in normal clothes (and in Don's case, sometimes it's a suit). It's really lazy, but we are also often found riding down to the train. Again, it's fast and convenient!

And here is Dexter in the bucket bike, on our way out for a big grocery run.

I feel like a pretty reasonable lady. I don't have the energy or patience these days to cycle more than a half hour one way, which is why I sometimes bike and switch to the train. If there is a blizzard out, I might just choose to stay in or if I want to - I'll drive.

One of my main goals with biking is teaching my kids about active transportation. I will teach them how to dress appropriately for the weather. I will teach them how to obey the rules of the road. They will know how to transport themselves to school and back home. When they are older and I need a jug of milk from the store - they can get me a jug of milk. They will be independent and active, and will have autonomy over their transportation. Most of all, they will have fun!

I carried each one of my babies around in my womb for 38 weeks. I gave birth to them. I have nursed them and loved them every moment that they have been here. It's also my job to teach them. Everything I show them now comes from a place of love, with the hope of creating members of our community who will inspire the people they meet, long after I am gone. I want them to take care of our earth, and each other.

I would love if the infrastructure was there to support the safe transportation of my family in every day outings. I don't participate in cycling as a purely recreational activity - I cycle for transportation.

Roads are a touchy subject, since we all feel entitled to use them in our own way. I think a reasonable attitude towards the future of our roads is the concept I am continually reiterating to my own kids.

The proper thing to do is to work as a team, and to learn to share with our friends.


Anonymous said...

Nice post....perhaps you should publish it to pass around as a statement of calm, rational perspective in the midst of heated discussion on this subject.

Kristina "The Chubby Cruiser" said...

Its a constant battle of the bike lanes in NYC too. We may be more famously dangerous that your area, but Janette Sadik-Kahn(our tans commish) have been enforcing lanes. According to her presentation at the DC con, safety is up 44% b,c of protected lanes. we are notable for our crazy riding messengers, and they do help in giving the rest of us a bad wrap, but working with plenty of "normal" new yorkers are FOR bike lanes. it seems to be mostly motorists who are against.

they just want us off the road...but we are here to stay! great post.

Kris xo

rita said...

Thank you for your wise and calm words, miss S! A valuable contribution to this discussion :)

rita said...

Thanks for your wise (and calm!) words, miss s.! A valuable contribution to this discussion :)

Jessica said...

I love your blog and great photos! You always seem to bring out the best of Edmonton despite of the weather, traffic, potholes, public transit... :)

Mel said...

Well said!!

thebeautifulfaith said...

sometimes it is sad to have to defend one's personal decision to ride or drive. where i come from, people use the road as if they own it. ie little consideration of others, whether two or four wheels or two legs. cyclists are sidelined to use either pavements or a very small part of road, always in danger of cars trying to ride side by side. then cyclists are neglected when it comes to road planning. sad. a classic case of sidelining the marginalised minority

miss sarah said...

Hi Guys,

I'm glad I'm not alone.

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