Me Vs. The Street


Birthday Biker
Birthday Biker

Well, I’m getting that at least one post per month in just under the wire. I think the baby is eating books right now, but hey, they’re fiber!

We’ve been cycling along almost every day now-here is Lilah on her birthday in the seat. She’s pretty happy with it, only resists her helmet occasionally, and often turns back to smile at me while riding, which makes me laugh. She doesn’t keep her feet in the the foot straps of the Yepp seat, shoes or not–I’m not sure that’s a product fault or just my wily baby. Still, she is strapped in safely on the top.

Lately, I’ve been noticing some of the darker side of cycling in our small town. Twice in the past week, I’ve been yelled at-once by a pedestrian with a stroller, once by a motorist. In the first case, the 6 year old was in the cargo area without a helmet. I was picking her up from school to deliver her to her grandparent’s house, less than a mile away and I forgot her helmet. Now we usually wear helmets. But we were going fairly slowly on a big road and it was less than a mile. The woman with the baby in the stroller yelled at me (causing me to turn my head at her) that the child needs a helmet and that she couldn’t believe the danger I was putting her in. She proceeded to yell as the light turned green and I finished the drop off. As I processed this (and it scared my daughter) I wondered if I would yell at anyone from the side of the road. Would you? Do you? Do you think it helps?

The second time was one the way to school today. The two older children were holding hands on the road–my son was helping to pull my daughter up the hill.  I thought it was adorable, especially since they weren’t fighting or cutting each other off. They were taking up a fair amount of the road. It is a small, not heavily trafficked road without much of a bike lane, and I thought taking up the lane is ok–cars see us and know we are there.  Most cars slowed and pulled around us. Or gave us plenty of room. A woman in a minivan rolled down her window to yell “That’s dangerous! She’s in the middle of the road!” I said “Thank you!” and thought-On the side of the road, you would have sped by without seeing her. Again, I second guessed myself. Are we doing something wrong here? We mostly go single file, but didn’t in this case. Again, the kids were upset and yelled-“She’s mean!” I just told them she was trying to think of their safety. And I wondered if I can keep them safe enough on bikes.

So, things are not always beauty and sunshine in cycling land, although I still think it’s more pleasant to be on my bike than in the car, and the kids agree.