For better or for bikes

Cindy Pearman - Knoxville, TN

For better or for bikes

My husband and I both rode bikes growing up and in our teens and twenties, but got away from it when we had jobs and kids. He was a more serious rider than me and even raced some in college. For me, cycling was just a good fit because I'm a serious introvert and I'm terrible at most other sports. We taught our kids to ride bikes but never made cycling enough of a family priority, something I now regret. 

Our oldest made the transition to commuting by bike when she moved away for grad school. I had tried this several decades earlier and for the same reasons- fitness, stress management, environmental and energy awareness, etc. I was unsuccessful in the 80's because the city infrastructure where I was in school was not at all supportive of bike transportation- downright dangerous. My daughter was much more successful several decades later in a different city, and we were so proud of her.

Inspired by our daughter's success, my husband and I rented bikes and rode them on a family vacation a few years ago, and had so much fun that we went back home and started riding at home, and then got bikes for ourselves, first him,and then me. Our college-age son followed, and now he rides his bike the majority of the time like his sister. My husband now averages 30 to 40 miles at a time in good weather, 2 or 3 times a week, and takes a 60 to 80 minute spin class 2 or 3 times a week when he can't ride. He's braver than me and rides a road bike in good weather or a hybrid on the road and greenway in iffy conditions. I prefer a nice stable touring bike, mostly on greenway, 15 to 20 miles at a time. He's ridden a couple of metric centuries in the past year and I rode my first one in October 2013. 

The best part of all this is that cycling is something that has brought us closer as a couple and a family. I'm not as fast or strong a rider as  the others, but we do ride together sometimes and enjoy it. We have a new family tradition of a Thanksgiving bike ride, and are planning a cycling trip for our 30th wedding anniversary later this year. Cycling will be something we can enjoy as a couple as our nest empties, and as a family when we can be all together. Only our youngest child doesn't ride routinely; she's in high school and dances six days a week at least, so she doesn't have time right now. 

Our family is a great example of how cycling is a sport for all ages and all abilities, and a perfect activity for couples and families. We're grateful to our daughter for helping us remember how much we love it.

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