Friday, March 12, 2010

Springtime in the Bike Lane

Winter is a hard time of year for those of us who don't drive. Now, it's also hard for folks who drive, and at least we don't have to dig a car out after storms or drive all over town trying to find parking during a snow emergency, but still, when all transport is by foot, bike or transit, we're very in touch with the weather, sometimes a bit more than we'd like. We can't skip any of the kids snow gear whenever we leave the house, because they really will be out in the weather for the whole trip, not just the 20 feet to the car. When folks don't shovel, or the sidewalks get extra icy after a round of "wintry mix," it slows us down and makes us crabby. Both Angela and I bike some during the winter (though not every day), and it's totally do-able as long as we remember all of our gear, but even when I'm all decked out and relatively warm, it's still not exactly pleasant.

But every year, just when winter is seeming like it's going to go on forever, we get those first few spring-like days like we had earlier this week, and I wouldn't have it any other way. The mittens come off. I shed a layer of sweaters. My bike feels lighter and faster just because the sun is shining. The whole city decides it's time to bike again all at once* and everyone is smiling. Winter can be long in New England. But spring wouldn't be as sweet without it. I'm grateful that even though I live a city life and don't necessarily come into contact with all that much "nature" in my daily routine, our family's transportation keeps me connected to the seasons, and that makes the beginning of springtime even sweeter.


* Note also that the Cambridge cops decide it's time to ticket again. I've seen two traps set up this week. Stop at lights everyone and ride safe. They will ticket you, and that sure can ruin a nice day.


MN_homesteader said...

Do they also ticket the drivers for the same offenses? That is my complaint, cyclists are easy targets for tickets compared to drivers.

W. said...

First of all, I'm totally excited to have found this blog. We've been car-free for over 10 years, first in Somerville and--since last fall-- in eastern Belmont. We also have two kids (4 and 2). I'm so delighted to learn there's other folk out there who have made this choice! Your blog entries resonate enormously. That said, I am concerned about this coming winter. We've used a trailer for the kids, but it's become a tight fit. Next winter could be tough-- not sure it will fit them both simultaneously anymore, but my elder child is so small, he is unlikely to be physically able to use those "attached" bikes behind the adult... besides which, I am reluctant to put him through all the horrible NE winter weather unprotected by even a thin sheet of plastic. Don't know what we're going to do, but if you have bright ideas, I'm listening.

dr2chase said...

Hey W, I live in Belmont, if one of you is in the 5'10" tall or more I have a Big Dummy you can try out, to see how you like it. (I'm the guy with the BD with the custom deck, weird handlebars, and always-on lights.)

It's possible to put trailers behind an xtracycle/Big Dummy, so that is still an option, though it would be quite a rig.

Velouria said...

FYI they have also been stopping cyclists going the wrong way down Brattle St in Harvard Sq.