When we moved in this house in April, Jamie gave me the best present ever… a bicycle. My trusty Schwinn and I have traveled all over this town and regularly take trips to the outskirts. Never having gotten my driver’s license, I have always relied on either my feet or others’ kindness for getting to and from. Riding my bike everyday has given me a new sense of independence and freedom. I imagine it is similar to how a 16 year old feels when they first get behind the wheel without an adult in the car. I cruise down the hilly roads of Viroqua, zoom past those on foot, and become intimate with the changing of the seasons.
My bike has given me the confidence to explore corners of town I never would have seen otherwise and to even head out of town to explore the beauty of country roads. The Driftless Region, known for its ridges and valleys is a surprisingly bike friendly place. I have never felt threatened or unsafe while riding on the roads here. I like the attribute this to the high volume of Amish in the area. I think that people are used to being on the look out for slower vehicles and know how to give ample space, etc. With the shorter days I find myself riding in the dark a lot so I picked up some fancy blinky lights from the Halloween clearance section in November and keep my headlamp strapped to my helmet and on high in front on me.
With an uncertain future of oil scarcity or extreme gas prices, it seems smart to me that everyone has a bike. A couple weeks ago I went to an event sponsored by Transition Viroqua where Mike Frank said [something along the lines of] every step we take towards resilience and away from oil dependence is making a transition. I really like that and sometimes reflect upon it while on long solo rides. How are you making transitions? Riding a bike or walking whenever possible is not only healthy but taking an active step towards weaning ourselves from oil dependency. It’s also super fun, low impact on your muscles, and pretty freaking hip as well!