Just keep pedaling…but also do more

One of the main reasons I bike for transportation is because it’s fun. Fun also seems the easiest reason to convince others to consider bicycling. If you read this blog, you probably also already bike for transportation and know there’s so much more to it than just fun. I truly think more bicycling (and consequently less driving) will save the world. But right now I’m suddenly very worried for the future of our world.

I’m aware that I live in a bubble here in Seattle, but that doesn’t mean I’m unaware of the horrors going on all around–even in Seattle, just not to me yet–but much more so farther afield. The local incidents I’ve read about have been only on Facebook, though I hear the Seattle Times is soliciting stories to publish tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s the AP story of country-wide incidents via the Seattle Times: Schools report racist incidents in wake of Trump election.

Here’s what I posted on my Facebook wall on Wednesday:

TBTMy mother’s first memory was her father hiding under their house during the Holocaust.

She was so little, she should have been too young to remember anything. But it stuck with her and shaped her.

I guess it was one of her last memories, too–when her breast cancer metastasized and invaded her brain she’d tell me about the conversations she was currently having with her father, now hiding in the house with her again.

She made the world a better place in a million little ways, helping people, helping causes, volunteering for anything and everything, being a friend and ally to everyone. Were the million little things–rather than fewer, bigger things–because she’d had it instilled at such an early age that if she just blended in, everything might be OK? And aren’t we all taught that to a certain extent?

I was relieved she died shortly before 9/11. I am relieved she’s not here for today. But I also wonder if she would have been moved to help in bigger ways. The million little things she did in the periphery were important and I’m happy about the million little things I do in the periphery as I continue her legacy, but I also need to overcome my instilled “training” and do more.

I don’t know what to do yet, but it will involve bicycling…even if it’s just bicycling to meetings and events, but we should all use whatever strengths we have so perhaps bicycling will figure more centrally in how I help keep people safe and save the world as it continues to change.

And in the meantime, we must all keep pedaling.

Here’s my last few days of pedaling:

Tuesday feels so long ago and like the last normal day there ever was. I’m usually not one to vote early, but even ensconced in my bubble, it felt important to drop off my ballot three weeks ago.

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Even though I had no ballot to bike around with, I donned a pantsuit and went about my day…which this day meant dropping off a bike-load of old stuff to the thrift store, one of my favorite things to do as I pare down all the boxes of stuff from my previous life that we dragged from city to city for over a decade.

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After school, we biked to the chiropractor. We haven’t been in three years, and the kids have never biked all the way there. Heck, it’s even been a big deal for me to do all the biking to get there, but that was before the 39th Avenue NE Greenway existed and I didn’t know the best way to Wedgwood. The kids didn’t exactly bike all the way there, but it was still quite a ride for them. And for me it was great because I carried first one and then the other. Not having to carry both kids uphill at the same time was much appreciated.

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Wednesday was a blur. It felt fitting that it rained all morning. I broke the election news to the kids and let them know they would probably have a lot of classmates who were legitimately scared and would appreciate any extra kindness. I had a meeting downtown at 10am so I had no choice but throw on rain gear and just keep pedaling. I saw Haulin’ Colin on my way so we rode together for a block and exchanged hopeless looks before he zoomed ahead to get to work. It wasn’t much, but even just 15 seconds of a familiar friendly face helped. Heading home I saw a friend biking my same direction on the other side of the Fremont Bridge. I dinged my bell and he shouted hello. He looked rushed with what appeared to be his daughter’s backpack perched on his back, but otherwise seemed fine. I thought I’d catch him at the red light and check in, but instead watched from 20 feet back as he raced through the red light, screaming at and flipping off the drivers who honked at him. He made it through the intersection physically unscathed, but I worry he hadn’t made it through the first half of the day emotionally unscathed. He’s not white; his Seattle bubble isn’t the same as mine.

Thursday was #coffeeoutsideforher day and seeing a bunch of friends was immensely helpful. A guy who works at Fremont Brewing learned of the event on Instagram and stopped by to bring us a 12-pack of Bonfire Ale even though he had to rush back to doing brewery stuff and couldn’t stay for coffee. I feel like people are going out of their way to be exceptionally nice to one another right now. It’s certainly helping me. I hope it’s also helping people much more in need than myself.

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I had towed my older kid’s bike along to coffee to drop off at Recycled Cycles for a tune up. Our original plan was to drop both bikes off Wednesday, but I just couldn’t rally to get out to door in the afternoon. “Just keep pedaling” is sometimes easier said than done.

Then I went grocery shopping, because “Just keep grocery shopping” is probably my mantra just as much as “Just keep pedaling.” For those who don’t grocery shop by bike (and especially those who don’t grocery shop at all because there are lots of options for grocery delivery in Seattle from what I hear) it might not be a big deal, but often grocery getting is my only biking in a week so it can be pretty special for me.

When Greg is outside the grocery store I buy Real Change from him. A while ago I started buying it for $5 instead of $2. That’s not as convenient when I shop with the kids because they like each giving him a dollar and it is slow going teaching them things don’t always have to be–or get to be–equal. What a great time to really work on that lesson, though. Anyhow, Greg didn’t look so good this day so I asked him if I could get him something to eat while I was inside. He’s white, but I doubt he’s inside any sort of Seattle bubble.

The tuned up bike was ready after school so we all went to fetch it…and to drop off the other kid bike. I wish I had just dropped them both off in the morning, but at the time it seemed only necessary to drop off the one having shifting trouble.

Remember how I said it’s hard for the kids when things aren’t exactly equal? Sharing is also a bit of a problem. I thought it’d be fun to ride the tandem bike down with the little kid on the way there and the big kid on the way back, since we’d have one kid bike each direction as we swapped bikes at the shop. But my little kid didn’t like the idea of his brother sitting on his saddle so I hooked up the whole tandem train and rode down with an empty middle seat. F–king ridiculous.

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Also, this was new in that I had to take the extra-long bike on my solo-riding-kid route to the Burke-Gilman Trail. I have multiple routes for most destinations:
– Me alone on a quick bike
– Me alone on the cargo bike
– Me carrying kids on the cargo bike or tandem
– Me with kids riding separately
So this day I had to negotiate the tight turns of the sidewalk with the tandem train so my solo-riding kid wouldn’t be out on the scary roads between our house and the multi-use trail.

Friday we went to pickup the tuned up little bike and this time I took the Big Dummy to carry one kid and had the other ride his own bike so we could all pedal separately back. Yesterday the kids noticed the candy dispenser at Recycled Cycles so we bought $0.25 worth of jelly beans and $1.25 worth of Skittles. That machine doles out way too many Skittles per quarter. My big kid ate most of them and puked ’em all out at home later. It smelled like Skittles, at least. My little kid did plenty of stomach jostling, but he fared OK. Personally, I don’t think performing tricks on a freshly tuned up bike is the best way to appreciate new cables and stuff, but what do I know?

But back to pedaling…and more. Do you also feel driven to action? What are you doing? We’re easing into more small things now and I expect bigger opportunities to present themselves. I told the kids about buying Greg lunch and we made the time to watch the four short films of Film & Family Homelessness Project: American Refugees. I’d been meaning to watch since missing the screening in our neighborhood two weeks ago. And we signed up to plant trees for Green Seattle Day tomorrow.

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2 thoughts on “Just keep pedaling…but also do more

  1. I like bicycling with the empty seat in the middle on our tandem + trail a bike! It makes me laugh as I imagine what ghosts might be sitting there.

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