A friend of mine is a determined driver. She’s married, lives in a suburb ten kilometres away from the city with two high-school-aged children. She respects the effort that I make to ride my bicycle every day to drop-off kids and to ride to work. She’s stylish, beautiful, and athletic. And she’s not interested in riding.
We were having lunch and I was in a proselytising mood. I proposed that she consider riding to work a few times a week. She wakes up early and runs a few days a week. While she’s in terrific shape, I suggested that if she rode to work, she would be able to sleep in a few times a week. When she said that she would never ride in Sydney. I asked her why. The following is a summary of our conversation:
“The traffic in Sydney is terrible. Drivers don’t know what they’re doing and they have no awareness of bicyclists. It’s so unsafe.”
My response: While I agree about Sydney drivers, I think that things are getting better. I took a free course that the City of Sydney offered called “Cycling with Confidence.” It was four hours very well spent. We started in a classroom and discussed road rules and bicyclists rights. Next, we rode our bicycles as a group on the road and went through a number of traffic scenarios. The most important lesson learned was to choose your path. It’s safer and more pleasant to ride on a quiet street with less cars. Consequently, I choose a road that runs parallel to the main road. Whenever I travel somewhere new, I work out the route on the weekend. Google Maps can assist.
“I’m going to get too sweaty riding from home and I don’t want to have to change clothes.”
My response: Actually, I’m a bit lazy. I don’t want to change clothes either. That’s why I ride an e-bike. The motor helps me out. I don’t get very sweaty. Remember, it’s not a race. I moderate my pace and take my time. That way, I don’t need to pack extra clothes or have a shower at the office.
“But then it’s not really exercise riding an e-bike. Isn’t that cheating?”
It is exercise. Did you take public transport today? Did you drive a car? I didn’t. Cheating? I’m bicycling to work. How is that cheating? Is there a god of cycling who passes judgement on how much effort we all expend? Interestingly, when I climb hills on my mountain bike, I find that I have retained fitness because of my daily commute.
“My kids would die of embarrassment being taken to school on a cargo bicycle.”
Really? They might but then they might not. My kids are younger than yours and really enjoy it. More importantly, it sets a good example. They now aspire to ride their own bicycle to school and not just for Bike to School Day. My husband has a Yuba Mundo with an electric-motor conversion. We can fit two kids on the back. There are also pannier bags for carrying gear which fit along the sides.
“I’m too old to make a change.”
That sounds like the smoker’s argument for not quitting. I’ve heard smokers say “If I quit now, my organs will go into shock.” I’ve also heard, “I’m too old to lose weight, change neighbourhoods, start exercise, change my routine [insert any excuse you can think of].”Why not make a positive change for your health today? Change is the only thing that we can expect will happen consistently throughout our lives.
“It’s just not me.”
I have an opportunity to demo a new e-bike and my eZee Sprint will be sitting alone in the garage. While I have an extra e-bike, I’d be happy to loan you the Sprint. You don’t have school drop-offs for the next two weeks. I could organise to come with you a couple of mornings. What do you think?
Her answer is still outstanding. How about you? Who in Sydney might be willing to try my eZee Sprint and ride to work? I’d like to accompany you. Send me a message if you’re interested and take me up on my offer. It will be fun!
Today’s ensemble: Zara dress, Lovisa necklace and earrings, Geox heels, Dior sunglasses, Linus Eleanor bag, Cartier Santos, Yakkay helmet. Kryptonite lock.