Meet The Red Ryder
As I mentioned a while ago, I got a new bike for Christmas – yay!! It was technically meant to be a birthday present, but I accidentally saw it get delivered and sort of strong-armed my way into receiving it early. I did my best to play along, assuming it would show up under the Christmas tree á la A Christmas Story (hence the name); when it didn’t, well…let’s just leave it there, shall we?
Who’s afraid of the big, bad wolf?
I’m procrastinating. Avoiding is probably more accurate, actually. Putting things off isn’t exactly new for me; in fact, it’s kind of a hobby of mine. This is different and it’s time to come clean. I’m scared. There, I said it.
How a Florida girl does snow, y’all
Florida is in a frenzy. All across the state, including right here in Orlando, there are predictions of snow. You’d think these little snowflakes were really the white horses of Armageddon the way people are panicking. Because it’s just a minor novelty that won’t require shoveling nor salting, I’m actually quite excited. It’s been incredibly cold all week and hubby wasn’t comfortable taking Viv by bike in this weather, so I’ve been driving all week (not that I wasn’t secretly a little relieved). We aren’t prepared for this kind of weather gear-wise, so it’s not really been pleasant for my husband to ride in freezing temps all week. You can imagine his dismay, then, when I kept begging for a bike ride today–the coldest day of the week.
What’s in a name?
I struggle a lot with the term “cyclist.” It feels dishonest to use it when referring to myself, but lord knows “biker” is all wrong, too. Although I’ve dedicated myself to riding my bike, I don’t feel like I am really a part of the bike community. This isn’t some sort of high school drama feeling–it’s more that I feel too new to identify myself that way. Like most people, I rode my bike as a kid. My memories generally involve being towed on wire baskets, falling off said baskets, and being deathly afraid of storm drains. My bike got stolen in eighth grade and I honestly don’t think I got back on a bike at all until after the birth of my second daughter, when I began training for my first triathlon. I had a craptastic big box store bike that I’d been moving around with me since college, but had yet to ride. I ventured out on the trail and found something I hadn’t experienced in years–quiet. I wasn’t fast, but I found that I could ride for hours. As someone that had never been particularly athletic, I was proud of my ability and set out to push harder. I bought a road bike and spent most of my training time on two wheels. Pretty soon my husband was joining me for rides, which led to him commuting by bike to work, which led to the first grocery shop by bike, and ultimately here.
New Year, New Question
I spent a great deal of time over the break thinking about this challenge. Though we are only two months in, it’s becoming fairly obvious that we’ve already answered the question we set out to ask: can a family of four in Orlando live on only 4,000 car miles. Based on our experiences thus far, I think I can pretty confidently say: absolutely. I think we are a good example of a typical family in the sense that our lives are busy and require a great deal of getting around: we both work full-time, we are active volunteers, kids at two schools, extracurricular activities, etc. In spite of all this, we’ve been surprised how often we can bike and are discovering new bike possibilities nearly every week.
Does it wear off?
I think when people hear about our challenge to live on 4,000 miles, they immediately see it as hindering our way of life–I know I thought it would at first. It’s true that I have to think a lot more about where I go, but it’s really been interesting to see how often going by bike actually expands our possibilities. I know I’ve said this before, but it’s still such a surprise!
Mama Bear on a Mission
The more I try to get around Orlando by bicycle, the less simple riding a bike becomes. I’ve enjoyed a great deal of freedom riding my bike–you have to love anything that makes you go “wheeeeeeee!” down a hill on a regular basis. However, riding has also brought about a great deal of awareness. It seems that so much, down to how and where you ride, becomes political.
Our Set-up Part I: The Radish
I’m always extremely curious about other people’s bike set-ups; I like to see what works for other people, particularly stuff tested out by other biking families. When Jesse and I first considered diving into the world of kids-on-bikes, I went into an internet-searching frenzy. Unfortunately, we don’t have any bike shops that carry cargo bikes and there’s no Consumer Reports for cargo biking. Along this mode of thinking, I thought I’d post about our bikes. First up is the Radish! (more…)
Peace, Love, Hope, and High School Students
‘Tis the season to be jolly and pretty much nothing makes me happier right now than my hubby’s amazing high school students. My husband has been teaching at the same school for several years now and, since both my daughters have been enrolled in the on-campus daycare program, I’ve grown to have pretty high expectations for the students. However, what I’m seeing lately blows my mind. (more…)
Month One Update
I’m happy to report that I have survived the first month of this challenge–yay! Unfortunately, I still have a lot of room for improvement. We put a total of 449 miles on the car in the first month; if we keep driving at this rate, we’ll be looking at 5,388 for the year–well above even the 25% goal. (more…)