A Lifetime Of Biking

Rima Gerhard - Miami Beach, FL

A Lifetime Of Biking
Thanks to my mother, I was introduced to biking as just a wee toddler. I remember urging her to biker faster, faster!! as she would take me to the playground, kindergarten, and eventually school. When I got my first bike, I felt like a princess who just received her very own white horse. Of course, my bike was much better than a horse. It takes so little to maintain a bike. And it brings so many benefits. I biked through my high school and college years, happily having one beer to many at a few occasions and safely biking home in the evenings. Yes, it's possible to bike with a skirt and high heels on, and no, you don't get sweaty, if you bike at a leisurely speed. Many friendships were made by biking together to a destination. One of my best biking memories is a bike tour to the origin of the Danube river, following meandering bike paths while passing by castles and forests on Germany's "Romatic Road". Biking around the Arc de Triomphe in Paris was another experience. Once I moved to the US from bike-friendly Germany, one of my first purchases was a bright red bike from Wal-mart (just $80, great for a college student on a budget!) However, I noticed that everything was difficult suddenly. I was the only bicyclist around. There were no bike lanes. To cross a street, I had to push a cumbersome button at the end of some pole. Drivers were disrespectful, and I had beer cans thrown at me on the way home on night from a Hummer speeding by. Everyone aspired to having a nice, big car. I felt isolated and began to wonder how things could have gone so wrong. After more than 10 years in the US, I am elated to say that I see a new generation stepping up and getting on their bikes, and even though I am too old for most of them, I simply fall in love with every Hipster I see whizzing by on a Fixie. I participate eagerly in every Critical Mass and hope that one day, my daughter might experience the same beautiful feeling of cruising down safe streets on her bike, without getting cut off, honked at, or yelled at by an ignorant driver. In the mean time, I ride with her on her safely strapped into her baby bike seat and hope she enjoys it as much as I do. I think she does, as "bicycle" was one of her first words!
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