Walk this way....
Gas prices are going up! As I say this, my husband smiles from across the table. Now before we vilify him, I try to look at things from his perspective. On any given day, the average American will jump into the car and cover 33 miles. Chris commutes 50 miles every day, but he has a clean carbon footprint on his conscience because he rides a bicycle to work. I remember when he got his job in New Haven, he took a compass and stretched it out 25 miles from the needle and said we could live anywhere on the circle. Amazingly, he has commuted by bicycle almost every day since he has finished med school. He tells me that he always chuckles when going over the highway crossing seeing people cooped up in their cars while sitting in traffic during rush hour. With the stress of life and death being in the palm of his hands every day, he says that the ride home is a time to decompress so he can leave that hospital stress at the hospital. He also says that it makes him feel like he has a better equilibrium when dealing with life and all of its challenges. Here are my two observations at a result of our adventures in commuting, he eats like a horse and he has some great legs. It wasn’t until I started running to school with Peter a couple of years back that I understood the perks of getting there on foot or by bike. For the two of us it is a great time to connect and talk freely with no wall between us. We almost always find something cool during our commutes; a flower, a tool or even money! We often arrive to Lyman School and give Jim the custodian, a share of tools that we have found in the sand along the road. Over the years, we have increased our mileage so that we can take the least trafficked route to school. Peter’s favorite thing to do while on his commute is to wave to the busloads of kids while they zoom past him. I think that it empowers him as he gets confidence from the activity and it ensures that his brain is awake and ready to take on the school day. Usually I will carry his homework in a baggy and he’ll throw a Powerbar in his pocket. Until next year, when the backpack fills up, we can still enjoy these commutes together. Next year, we will need to go to plan B…whatever that is. For both my Chris and Peter, it isn’t uncommon to see an eye roll coming from a car as they pass, even from people we know around town. I once was scolded by a neighbor that yelled that we should get out of his way while he was driving. I know our method is unorthodox to some people, but I know that when my child is old enough to drive, he will understand that when he is behind the wheel of a car, the road is not solely his. When someone gets from point A to B by their own power, they begin to understand the nuances of how to stay safe on that road. I often wonder if a child that gets his license is really prepared to drive on a road when they have not learned how to safely walk down that same road. Peter will have had first hand experience at seeing people drive too fast around him and as a result he hopefully will drive more responsibly. At 9 years old, he has been taught how to safely travel by foot on country roads as I have instructed him over and over on how to do so. I hope that those that pass us by realize that sharing the road is a responsibility what we all have. As the weather improves, I also hope that others are willing to try commuting in something other than a vehicle. It is a great opportunity to feel good on the inside and out .
3/16/2011 06:27:27 am
If my place of work had a shower I can see myself biking to work (in the good weather,) I will never be as dedicated as Chris. It is too bad that employers don't think that every workplace, as a human right, should have the facilities you need to "exercise yourself" to the job. Hmmmm! Help me think outside the box to find a way to make this happen.
3/16/2011 08:57:08 am
I believe the way to get a business, school or organization to understand the importance of exercise comes via the numbers of people that are willing to push for it. It starts with a person what is willing to give it a try and then after that one brave one, others will follow. Then, once the office stinks enough of sweaty workers, then the'll have to give in and install showers. I'll never forget that during my rowing years at the NYAC, I was the first female athletic member. With that, came no shower facility. For years, I would come off the water and freeze because I had no shower to hop right into. Over time, more of us pushed through and they finally added a small shower stall. Now, NYAC is a powerhouse of woman's rowing. it doesn't take many to make a change in the status quo.
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