I know people who have given up riding their road bikes after hearing about the crash that happened to me in 2014, but I’m not one of them. I just got back from commuting to the grocery store on my bike and before that I was out riding socially for a bit over two hours.
In the past I’ve talked about how I couldn’t give up riding because I love how it is a common bond I have with Kennett. I’m always so excited to meet a friend and spend our time catching up as we ride. I love the feeling on my legs in pain as I lean over the handlebars after a hard interval. And, of course, I also enjoy the wind cooling my chest and arms as I head downhill after my last hard interval. I like quieter dirt roads next to the rivers and honestly, sometimes I even enjoy navigating traffic.
Here, however, is a less known reason about why I ride. If I can’t get back on the bike then I’m telling other people it is okay to be scared of riding. If I can’t get back on my bike, then I feel as though I’m telling drivers, “You’re right, I don’t belong in your way. You’ve got bigger, better things to do than me. I should just get the hell out of your way so you can hit the gas pedal.”
Except, that’s not true. I have plenty of important tasks to do. It just so happens I enjoy biking to those activities. By riding, I’m more present mentally when I need to show up places. It isn’t because I’m such a die-heart cyclist that I feel the need to promote biking. I’m really just in favor of slowing down the pace at which we conduct life, of moving our bodies to stay fit, and of getting outside more often.
I ride so hopefully I inspire a few other people to stay riding on the roads. I’m not sure what it will take to make cycling safer again in the United States, but I know it won’t happen if cyclists all hang their bikes in the garage to get dusty.
Of course, this is an idealistic approach to the situation. It isn’t safe yet to be riding and I don’t think it is going to get better before it gets worse. An 8-year old girl who was riding home from her last day of 2nd grade was killed by a truck in Longmont, Colorado yesterday.