Monday, October 12, 2009

Mom on Wheels

My mother, Laurene, came along with me and Bobby on a bike ride to the Larchmont farmer's market on Sunday.

She had not ridden a bike in a few years, so we spent about twenty minutes riding up and down the block outside the ecovillage to get her body to remember all the things that it must do to start, stop, balance, and shift on a bike.

I enjoy biking with rusty riders. It reminds me of the intricacy of using a machine like a bicycle. Mine has become a sort of extension of my body (I am a Man Machine), so I forget that sense of urgency that comes when the light changes and an uncertain foot frantically spins the pedals to get them in the right position so that you can shove off and ride forward.

Plus, since Laurene is my mother, she was a willing participant in the learning experience that comes when you move from being in a car to being on a bike. We had very interesting discussions all the way to the market and back.

The route from the ecovillage to Larchmont is easy: just follow 1st Street all the way. There are some small hills, but because of ongoing construction at Western and Normandie it is a fairly low traffic street.

Bobby and I sandwiched her, with him leading the way and me following and occasionally offering advice.

We made it to the market without incident; no moments of panic and no aggressive honkers harrassed us. There were a number of drivers who ran stop signs through intersections that we were approaching, but I emphasized the importance of eye contact as a way to make sure you can travel through intersections safely.

Laurene lives near one train station in Orange County and works near another one. She wanted to try riding on city streets as a step toward becoming a multimodal commuter, adding the option of train and bike to her current repertoire of carpooling and driving alone to work.

My mom's a good sport!