I didn’t grow up regularly riding bikes. Yes, I knew how but it simply wasn’t
something that we did regularly. Much of
this had to do with how hilly our neighborhood was but beyond that I’m not
really sure why biking wasn’t part of our days.
Aside from one wobbly attempt in Guam in 1999, my bike-riding career ended when
I was 9. I liked the idea of riding
around town but couldn’t get past the wobbly, somewhat out of control
part. I even had a great, European
looking cruiser that Jeff bought me when we found out we was moving to Italy.
And yet it sat. It
got to the point that the kids thought I didn’t actually know how to ride
because when they would head out on bike rides with Jeff, I would stay home.
One day last year Jeff convinced me to go for a ride while
the kids were at school. It wasn’t
pretty. There was a lot of wobbling and
I was scared to death every time a car drove by but deep down, I liked it.
Then winter came and my bike retreated to the attic. You know where all bikes spend the cold
Yet, I still couldn’t escape the images of how riding a bike, as silly as it
sounds, is so much a part of European life.
There are the local grandmas riding around town as they check errands off their
Our butcher’s wife as she loads up her cooler full of meat,
places it in her bike basket and hits the road to make deliveries.
The moms and grandpas who put a small pillow on the little luggage
rack on the back of their bike, have their (grand)child hop on and ride
My family and I on our bikes getting some exercise and enjoying the sun.
All summer my bike sat, save for the few times Jeff used
As the summer came to a close and the heat subsided a bit, I
was finally convinced (read: pressured) by my family to join them on a Sunday
afternoon ride. I told Jeff that he had
to be responsible for watching the kids because I couldn’t focus on them and be
safe myself and we were off.
We rode down to the bike path, passed the train station and onto some back
roads. We stopped a long the way to pick
figs and wild berries.
We commented on the sunflowers and unending rows of
At one point I was so into the ride that I just took off…leaving
my family in the dust (those big wheels on the cruiser helps!). The feel of the wind blowing through my hair the
sun beating down on my face was just what I needed.
Six miles later, we were home and I was hooked.
These days you can find me riding bikes to school with the kids and a few weeks
ago rather than walk or drive to the next town over for a quick stop at the
produce stand, I grabbed a backpack and jumped on my bike.
Just like the locals.