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Pedaling the Possible

This warm weather week brought people to outdoor pursuits like carpenter ants coming out of rotten wood that had just been wedged open by Bunyon’s brawn. It was wonderful to witness the Houghton’s pond parking lot at Blue Hills at almost full capacity as I entered it last Wednesday afternoon. Even the bicyclers were braving the sandy shoulders of the roads while trying not to shudder at the thought of gadget driven drivers driving by their shoulders. Our beaches also attracted many for the summer-like sand, surf and sun fun. Many in our coastal community consider but two seasons to exist – summer and the other. Clearly, many of us are in summer mode from the beginning budding of our bushes through to the bundling of our leaves.
Though outdoors mainly appeals to the majority as we approach room temps, I have friends that pedal their bikes year-round. Four season bike commuters abound in the city, especially around the colleges and areas where autos are but a burden. There also seems to be a shift of consciousness in the city craniums concerning citizens who commute via the pedaling and bi-pedaling. Back when I commonly cycle-commuted from the suburb to the city, it was quite the obstacle course. I had to shift my mentality from the freedom feeling of being free of petrol power to fleeing from the feeling of being fired at by infuriated motorized maniacs. Bicyclers were often treated akin to ants treading into territories that only car and truck tire treads tread. That maniacal motorized mentality toward transportation variations is changing and also varies throughout our country and the world. I recall being quite surprised at the layout and the laidback attitude of Seattle citizens as to cyclers. Whereas, in Indianapolis, my fellow cross-country bike trekers and I were seen as traitors, even invaders. Car-crazed drivers who careened through those streets were mean. In fact, one of our team, Jeff Green, was killed just outside the speedway, when a negligent driver veered off the racecar lane and onto the bike lane. Jeff was crushed from behind and several of his friends were also injured. I too, have been assaulted from behind while pedaling on a clear July day two years ago. It was on the bike lane of Bay Ave. in Duxbury! I was lucky to survive and also to thrive again after that random whack attack.
My participation in our Recreational Trails Committee has been fueled by my love of our community and fear for its safety. We are working toward providing the potential opportunity for our population and guests to protect and use our gorgeous geography well and safely. Through public participation via our survey and meetings we hope to not only bring more peds and pedals to the paths but also create a kind car commuter consciousness change. A more compassionate community invites others to our terrain and tilts the template more towards low-impact tourism. If you see me around town, even on my bicycle built for two tandem, with friend, please toot, shout or stop to tout your trails thoughts and whatever else. Oh yeah, I notice that y’all see our tandem more easily than when I solo cycle. We’re even given an extra wide berth and even the flash of a smile with a wave. I wonder if that is because I added an American flag or is it my new true babe behind? In any case, thanks for the conscious consideration and maybe even a car-centric reorientation toward a compassionate commuter community.