If you stood in your driveway and swung a three mile lasso, what might your rope ensnare? Grocery stores? Restaurants? Theaters? Library? Busses, trains or planes? Car share vehicles? Mine grabs enough places to take our entertainment dollars. I prefer to arrive by bicycle, saving street parking for those that require, prefer or are amused by the novelty of three thousand pound personal mobility devices. Why have cars become so ridiculously big, heavy, powerful and complicated? Check out my friend’s newest ride, a 1935 Austin 7 Ruby.
Ten horsepower and each is more polite than the former. While pedaling, I’d be honored to share most any width lane with one of these fine automobiles.
Old cars are great, but bicycles are greater still! I’ve loved pedaling since childhood and I still get excited to throw a leg over. These days my favorite and nearly exclusive ride is short and with a point. Lunch. Groceries. Garden. Any excuse will do. Today it was CVS in the morning and the library in the afternoon. Two very pleasant rides.
Have you tried short trips in your town? Same as you did when you were a kid. Not much has changed. It doesn’t need to be complicated, but you’d do well to consider the following.
Take a class with a League of American Bicyclists certified instructor. I don’t care if you’ve been biking your whole life. Take the class and you will learn. How’d you learn to drive a car? Never mind that I learned from relatives and friends (oh, Nebraska!), the better way is with lessons from a licensed instructor. The same holds true for bicycling. Even though states don’t require lessons or licenses to pedal, the reasons behind licensing motor vehicle operators hold true for people atop bicycles. We all need to share, behave predictably and lawfully and know what to do if things get weird. I’ve enjoyed lessons from Claire. You will too!
All bicycle users are issued a cloak of invisibility, but these cloaks can be confounding. I haven’t fully sorted out the operation of mine, but it feels as if other road users control it. Its strange until you get used to it. Take responsibility for your own safety. Lights and reflective clothing may help, but never assume they see you. Assume they don’t! Assiduity!
It’s getting cold. I used to stop pedaling when the temperature dropped below 20. Then it was 30. Last year? Maybe 40. Dropping (some of) the ego is a great part of aging. Even so, I hope to pedal outside more this winter. I’ll walk if there is snow on the streets, but if the roads are dry, I hope to pedal. No special clothing or shoes are required. Dress for a brisk walk then pedal with the same vigor you’d apply during a brisk walk. If you get hot, slow down. Wear less next time.
Pump up your tires using a good pump. A good steel pump will be your friend for life. I still have my first (and three others).
Helmet? The ones made for bicycling are flimsy, but flimsy is better than zero when the going gets tough and you land just so. In addition to some impact absorption, a helmet is a great place from which to hang a mirror. Have you pedaled with a mirror? Best twelve dollars I ever spent, but the six pack of Jack’s Abby Lashes red IPL I just grabbed is a very close second.
It needn’t be more complicated than this, so I’ll stop. Have fun!