Today we got where we were going by people-power. The boys have been lobbying for a while to ride our bikes to a town 6 miles from us, where we do a lot of this and that. They learned to ride their two-wheelers early this summer and have since been tearing around the yard and woods and riding the long driveway/road across the street from us.
The issue wasn't really a question of whether they'd be up for the ride or not. They've got reserves of energy that never fail to amaze me. And it wasn't a lack of interest on Jim's and my part; we thought it was a great idea. The problem is that we live on a very busy main road with a high speed limit and not much shoulder room for bikes. And I didn't have a helmet (I can't actually remember the last time I rode a bike? Maybe before G & D were born?).
But for my birthday I got a helmet! And we decided we could walk our bikes the half mile or so until we could turn onto a much quieter, slower road. So we did it. It took us about 6 times as long to get where we were headed, (twice as long on the -uphill- way back). But what a great experience!
There were any number of things that we were able to notice that we wouldn't have - or not in the same way - in a car. It was a beautiful day, and we got to be fully out in it. Our bodies felt good and strong and alive (and sore...). We had the time to realize how many people we know who live along the route we took - and to stop to visit some.
And speaking of people - that was maybe the biggest surprise for me of our ride: biking is so much more friendly than riding in a car. We passed by other folks biking or walking along the road, or folks working in their yards and exchanged greetings. We noticed the drivers who were kind enough to give us a wide berth and acknowledged them with thanks.
As we were riding back, and being challenged by the hills, D & I were lagging a bit behind, and were talking about how nice it was, and how proud of ourselves we felt - for making it happen in the first place, for keeping on peddling and using our bodies to get us where we needed to go.
I wish that this could be a more regular thing: we live just a mile or two from a grocery store, and within half a dozen miles of pretty much all the basic places we'd need to go. Unfortunately this road we live on is an obstacle. At least for the time being. But obstacles can be maneuvered, now and again, a reminder of the power we have - literally and figuratively - to get us where we need and want to be.