Last week was a week of good rides.
My regular commute now takes me to the Metro Gold Line station that is a 15-minute ride from my house (20 minutes on the uphill return trip). About halfway through my morning ride early last week, I noticed how smooth the ride was going. The reason? Spring break at two nearby schools. Streets normally choked with cars during the morning drop-off time were blissfully—almost eerily—empty of cars. The difference was huge. Several intersections that are normally stressful because of traffic and impatient drivers were virtually stress free. With no cars blocking my lane I was able to fly down to the train station in record time. It made the entire week’s commute a breeze and stands as a reminder of just how much traffic danger (and pollution) is generated by parents driving their kids to school. The added stress of these additional cars on the streets is, in turn, a deterrent to more kids walking and biking to school. It’s a stark illustration of how the car culture itself is a self-fulfilling reinforcement of the dominance of the car, which in turn deters the number of people willing to walk and bike.
This morning’s ride to the farmer’s market was also a good ride. Saturday morning traffic was pretty light and, in addition to waving to neighbors along my route, I fell into a nice conversation with another cyclist at a stoplight. The ride home (almost all uphill) was invigorating in the cool morning air, and I returned home with fresh fruit and vegetables and a mood much improved from my morning grouchiness (caused by reading the day’s news).
It’s been a good week. Now, if we could just lighten the traffic every day.