It's certainly has been an adventure, and I feel very privileged to have been able to share it with some new friends and my fantastic family. I've also been able to learn a thing or two about my city, my family and myself, lessons that will stick with me as we continue our bike journey. I'd like to share a few of those with you as I reflect on my summer on two wheels.
|Coralie and Diane on our 2nd Velo Family Ride|
On the whole, I found that kids are capable than much more than we give them credit for. If you give them the chance, they will find the energy to get themselves to their destination, just as we do. They are also extremely observant. Coralie now knows the way to nearly every one of our usual destinations, and Etienne can tell when we're getting close just by the landmarks he sees along the way. Keep in mind, these kids are 6 and 3.5 years old, and they are already learning how to navigate their city. I'm pretty confident that this has come about simply because we do travel on our bikes, so they have to be aware of what's around them instead of just sitting back and letting the world pass them by in the back seat of a car. It makes me pretty darned proud of my little riders.
|I love riding places with the kids when I |
know there's a buffer between us and the cars
increase the safety of riding on two wheels. This would encourage more women and young families to ride, as women are far less likely to ride if they feel unsafe. Here's an excerpt from an article on Scientific American titled How to Get More Bicyclists on the Road:
In a study conducted last year, [a study] examined the effect of different types of bike facilities on cycling. The project, which used GPS positioning to record individual cycling trips in Portland, compared the shortest route with the path cyclists actually took to their destination. Women were less likely than men to try on-street bike lanes and more likely to go out of their way to use “bike boulevards,” quiet residential streets with special traffic-calming features for bicycles. “Women diverted from the shortest routes more often,”...
It really is time we as a society start taking this issue seriously, instead of fighting about the loss of a driving lane or on street parking. Done properly, separated lanes can have minimal impact on traffic flow, as has already been evidenced with the small increase in travel times in downtown Vancouver. This mom wants safe, direct routes to get my children around the city and to run my errands while still being able to ride on two wheels, and I know I'm not alone.
|Our summer of riding has been epic and |
Riding most places this summer has also made me love riding my bike even more, if that's possible. I will admit that I set a private challenge to ride as many places as possible this summer so I would always have something to write about. In meeting the challenge, I actually prefer riding places now! I love feeling the sun on my face, the wind in my hair and watching my gorgeous city pass me by. I guess my new challenge will be to do it with the winter rain splashing against me...but that's for posts to come.
|For love of bikes and each other|
Overall, it has been a summer of self discovery, a journey of bringing our little family closer together, and appreciating every adventure we get to share while my kids are still young enough to want to spend time with us. I don't know if I've managed to change anyone's opinion about getting out of their car and onto a bike, but I do know that my daughter's story has helped push some kids we've met to start riding on their own, and that, quite frankly, is what's most important.
As for where my little blog goes from here, as the weather turns cooler and the rainy weather returns to Vancouver, it's still a mystery. I will continue to share our stories and adventures. We will ride with Coralie nearly every day to school, and I know a little boy who may be getting ready to start pedalling on his own over the next few months. Life doesn't end when the warm summer changes to crisp, cool fall, so neither will our riding. Thank you to all those that have followed us so far. I feel privileged to have reached to many, and hope that you keep coming back to find out how our little Velo Family is doing! Merci beaucoup!
|I have loved my summer on two wheels!|