Putting Down Roots


in praise of people who understand people who ride bikes
February 18, 2011, 11:21 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Today, I found myself, over and over again, appreciating how well folks have been dealing with the fact that my main mode of transportation in this bike-unfriendly city is my trusty, squeaky, orange-basketed bicycle. Now that I’ve been around enough, the fact that I get around on two wheels is common knowledge with my acquaintances, and has started winning me fewer you-must-be-a-superhero comments. Also, now that people know that I’m actually serious about using my bike as a real form of transportation, I get less disbelief and doubting from people who used to be outspoken in telling me that I’d probably end up dead on the side of the road.

Instead, folks are learning how to work with it. It’s really nice.

This morning, I pedalled myself north of town and basked in the glorious spring morning and the delightfully wide bike path the runs along Blair Stone Road. I was heading for an interview with the Hospice volunteer coordinator, with whom I’d discuss which nursing home I would go to to starting visiting dying elders. When she let me in the door, she said cheerfully, “I was wondering if you’d ride your bike! It’s a nice day for it.” After the paperwork was all done, she starting flipping through the file of different facilities, re-checked what part of town I live in, and started listing off possibilities. She took me at my word when I said I’d go as far as 8 miles from my house, but immediately tossed out what would have otherwise been a good match because it was on a canopy road (notoriously narrow streets with big live oaks lining them where there’s very little room for bikers). She finally selected a facility that was at the end of one of the nice, new roads that has bike lanes in both directions.

And tonight, I went to a shape-note sing at a church north of town, and Sue, who lives a few blocks down the road, came to fetch me just a few minutes late. There’s an all-day sing tomorrow an hour away, and she and Morgan offered to drive me. They wouldn’t be able to drive me back, so they both made a point, tonight, of asking around for someone to bring me home. Beverly, who lives right down the hill from me, volunteered quickly, and I ended up driving her car home tonight because she had a bad migraine.

The point is that I love having communities around me that respect the fact that I get around on my own power as often as I can, but can anticipate pretty well when I’ll need a ride and offer one before I have a chance to ask. Good job, Tallahassee.

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