Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Thoughts on the Bike Summit

It’s been a few days since the Bicycle Summit held last Saturday (Mar. 1) and I’m still processing all the information presented. The number one take home point for me was that advocating for cycling starts by getting the current generation on bikes and ensuring they are safe through programs like Safe Routes to School. After all there is a percentage of the population in South Dakota, luckily a small percentage, who would rather see a middle-age spandex-clad cyclist as road kill than to give him/her 3 feet of space when passing. They could care less about us, but I don’t know who would deny kids the opportunity to experience the joys of riding bike and to be able to do so safely without fear of being run down.

What I heard Gary Sjoquist, Director of Advocacy For Quality Bicycle Products, say was that adults who cycle today most likely do so in part because of their fond nostalgic memories of riding bike when they were a kid. I was surprised to hear that statistics indicate a sharp decline in the number of kids riding bike. At the same time childhood obesity rates have increased. While it would be dangerous to assume a direct correlation, these statistics are reason for concern.

Since I rediscovered the joy of biking a few years back at age 40-something, I’ve had ample opportunity on long solitary rides to reflect on how my current obsession with cycling connects me with so many happy childhood memories of riding about the country side on my John Deere 10-speed men’s racing bike. Yes, I’m proud to be a country girl! And riding bike is like discovering a fountain of youth for the soul.

I believe passionately that we need to advocate for the current generation of kids so that they can enjoy the lifelong benefits of biking. That is why I’m happy to see the South Dakota Bicycle Coalition form and start to discuss this and other important issues. These are exciting times for cyclists/bikers of all ages in our state!

Next installation of my blog…..more about my John Deere bike!

1 comment:

Road Legs said...

Rode my bike everyday as a kid delivering papers, even when I could drive a car it was still faster to ride my bike. Saw kids my age hang their bikes up once they got their drivers license.