Bicycling to School
This morning I bicycled with my daughter to her middle school. It was her first bike commute to school, and she was a little anxious, since she’d never done it before (and since Southern California is experiencing a triple-digit heat wave). But a couple of weeks ago, we’d set a goal that we were going to ride to school today, and by golly, she stuck to it. I couldn’t be prouder.
I had my own anxieties about this morning’s commute, about a 4-mile ride each way (she and her bike will be driven home from school by my wife, since it’s in the neighborhood of 105 this afternoon). The middle third of the route is on a bike lane, but that part of the route is on a fairly heavily-trafficked roadway with some busy intersections. I was worried that my daughter might get a little spooked by the traffic, and my anxiety wasn’t helped by the fact that a girl my daughter’s age (12) was struck by a motorist while riding to school just up the street from our house only two weeks ago. I wanted this morning’s commute to be a pleasant experience for my daughter, something she’d want to do with me again.
I needn’t have worried. She was a trooper, and we had a nice father-daughter conversation on the quieter stretches of roadway near the beginning and ending parts of the route. When we got to school, I could tell she had pride in a sense of accomplishment, and I told her how proud I was of her. When I asked her how it felt to ride to school, she said, “good,” and had a big smile on her face.
Most days she’ll still be driven to school, but I hope to make the father-daughter ride to school a regular alternative. Our steps to freedom from our automobile dependency begin one ride at a time.