Most mornings, I can be found putting on makeup and lacing up some ugly MTB shoes with SPD cleats. Usually, I do this before my toddler are ever awake. I then ride to work with the sun coming up. It’s the best part of my morning. No car, no university parking congestion, no emissions. Just me and my bike working hard. Sometimes, my kid does wake up and then I get to hear her calling “mama bicycle” at me as she tries to chase me out the door. God forbid I not give her a formal goodbye and blow her a kiss on the way out. That will end in tears.
We are a one-car household so my bike makes it so much easier for my husband and I to keep up with everything. My husband is job searching now but he’s still staying home. Me riding my bike most days lets him focus on preschool drop off and the errands he has to run vs. running me to and from work.
I’ve ridden my bike 5 times as much as I’ve parked my car on campus in the last 3 months and I’ve biked 4 times as much as I’ve ridden in a car- period.
This would be the reason I don’t have a gym membership anymore. There is no point. I just ride my bike up and down hills and workout going to and from work. While I could waste money on a thing I never use, I just focus on what I love.
I am blessed to have a pretty decent commute and a trail to do more than half of it on. We bought in our neighborhood, in part, due to its close proximity to three different trails. I am also thankful to not be the parent doing drop offs and pickups. However, in many other parts of the world, cycling to and from school with a toddler or even baby is the societal norm. In the Netherlands, most families bike together.
We’re all different and not everyone loves their bike or can ride. But it’s why I’m so passionate about my kid riding and accompanying us on rides in the trailer. I want her to experience the freedom of being your own captain. I want her to feel free and powerful. Not reliant on a car or another person. Just her own two legs! Her balance bike is starting to give her that satisfaction and it makes my heart happy.
When I see other parents out with their kids, I smile big. Bikes have brought me health and happiness and, in a way, they allowed my husband and I to meet – years ago – on a dating site. We started riding together on date two. We fell in love on bikes. And now we share this love of riding with our kid.
In my opinion, exercise seems inaccessible and a chore. If I were only able to exercise in the gym, I think I would be of that opinion, too. Cycling often sees similarly inaccessible to people. When people not raised in a family that rode, they think of road cyclists or competitive mountain bikers. These are the images. Usually visuals of buff dudes on $10,000 Madones going 30 mph on a straightaway through the countryside come to mind. But recreational cycling isn’t the only way. Cycling can be transportation – sustainable, cheap, and good for health. So if you’re on the fence, do it! Join the cult of parents on bikes and families on bikes!