Bicycle Obsessed

Nov 7, 2014

They say less is more, but I’m a girl for whom more is more.  I like things a lot.  I am zealous and easily obsessed or excitable.  I live my life well most days, but my obsessions can make me a little crazy.  I guess I am a binger.   I’m a little bingey.  I bingeth.  I am a women bingeonified.  Of course that was a word before I used it.

One of my latest obsessions has been cargo bikes.  I’ve been biking more for daily errands and thus carrying more of whatever else I might be obsessed with upon my bicycle.  My little girls are squished together in the trailer on trips to school drop off.  My front basket gets loaded down with whatever we find at the farmer’s market to eat.  I want to do even more with my bicycle. I want to pretend I am brave enough to sell our second car and do without.  A cargo bike could make that more realistic.  I have eaten, slept and dreamed about cargo bikes the past six months.  A longtail?  A box bike?  Madsen? Yuba? Xtracycle?  I’ve pinned them on Pinterest.  I’ve liked them on Facebook. I’ve test ridden them, borrowed them, drooled over them.

Alongside my new cargo bike obsession I am getting an education on bicycling in general. I’ve devoured two books by Elly Blue;  Bikenomics and Everyday Bicycling. I bought an extra copy so if you want to borrow it, let me know!  I’m getting more active as a voice of the mama who wants to bicycle more (and more safely) with her kids.  I’m joining local and national bicycling groups online like League of American Cyclists to learn more about bike advocacy and bike safety.

One of the surprises I’ve discovered in my everyday riding is the valuable bicycle conversations with strangers.  They like the music I play from the handlebars--compliments of a cell phone mount and Pandora.  I often listen to Squirrel Nut Zippers or Squeeze just for sass.   I’ve had friends ask, “Do you really ride your bike to Target?”  Yes, I do, I tell them.  I get to encourage them to ride more, to ride farther.  Like me, they realize it is only a mindset that they can only drive the car ‘there’.  

There is some planning involved to bike as transportation.  When I first biked to a place I’d only driven before, it was an adventure.  As a stay at home mama I don’t get a lot of adventure outside of scraped knees and mystery food in our refrigerator.  Embarking on my bike to the grocery store was exciting.  It was a little scary.  What if I got a flat tire?  What if I got hit by a car?  But then again, riding in the car is risky too. I also believe I am a better driver on a bicycle than in a car.  I do not take my safety for granted.  I am observant and vigilant and I pray a lot.

My worries are shallower too:  What if I bought too much and couldn’t get it home on the bicycle?  This alone keeps me from shopping like I might do otherwise.  I discovered I buy less because I am biking more.  I am also saving money to buy a better, bigger bike.  A cargo bike? Or at least a Bobike child’s seat for my older daughter.  She’s 5 years old now and the Bobike Junior is for kids up to ten years old!  It will be a safer alternative to Portia riding on my rear rack, which we call our fake cargo bike.  We had an accident with her precious foot and the spokes and I saw the value of  spending money to ride safer.  I’m remorseful and embarrassed we needed a scary accident to get me ready to spend money on quality equipment. We continue to bike and are not scared off from biking despite our mishaps.

And then this week I drove to the gym at four-thirty a.m. because I was afraid I would not have the energy after class to bike home again.   There was an NPR piece on global warming and how birds are in danger of becoming extinct.  I felt the weight of my own responsibility to our environment.  I felt embarrassed and foolish to be so blessed that I could drive to the gym to get exercise.  I can do something to reduce global warming by biking instead of driving even once a week.  I vowed to bike to the gym next time, even at four-thirty a.m.  It is only three miles from home and I like birds a lot. Almost as much as I like…love…biking.