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The Trouble with Biking

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A Simple Six: The Trouble with Biking

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Trouble with Biking

More Cons to Biking

I created a pros and cons list for biking to the grocery store last week. Of course, after I published that post I thought of a couple more items. One of the cons to biking anywhere is the need for sunscreen and the increase in sun exposure. Have you seen the freckles on Elliot? I work very hard to keep him out of the sun and as he gets older and more adventurous the challenge increases and my rate of failure with it. I am of the mind that any change in skin color is skin damage. I put sunscreen on everyone if they will be out for more than thirty minutes.

Adding sunscreen to our "leaving the house" routine, adds more time (how long does it take to coat five bodies with lotion?), and more luggage, albeit small, and ultimately more expense.With the welcome of a new school year, we are also sunscreening before we depart for home from school.

Another con, decrease of activity for the little boys. They are passengers on the bike, in the stroller or the backpack. Oliver will squirm and cry to get out if we stop for too long. Since biking and walking takes longer than driving, he is actually spending more time strapped in a safety seat. This decrease in movement means he is often not ready for a nap as early as I need him to be. I did like to get his nap in at 1pm so he can be up by 3. Now, he needs to be up by 2 to pick up the children, meaning he needs to be down by noon.

More dirty sweaty bodies to bath and more applications of deodorant. When I had this crazy idea, I didn't consider that I would want and need to shower more often and use deodorant more liberally. This also adds up in time and money.

This really is hard work. Not Deadliest Catch hard. Planning and packing the night before has been tedious at times. Perhaps partly because I like to plan for any and all events by giving it a thorough mind-walk through. Transporting four children is a lot of responsibility regardless of how you travel, but now it takes longer to turn around and go home for forgotten items and bad weather. Since we are out longer we also have to plan for meals that we usually have at home, such as after school snack and the mid morning one. I have to run up and down the house looking for keys, water bottles, bike pumps, extra hats, bug spray, money, my ID, jackets, the camera, a clock...just to get out of the door. Many of those things we finally put in a bag we keep in the trailer to stream line the process. I always check the bag, you never know if a child wandered off with something. If I decide to take the backpack carrier, like this morning, then I have transfer items into a smaller space.

This hurts, all over. My shoulders are bruised from carrying London's school supplies on Sunday, which made having Oliver in the backpack a bit uncomfortable today. My calves are extremely tight and sore from walking. My feet feel tender. I am tired. I need more sleep. I don't like feeling I can't squeeze in a few more things after the children go to bed. I guess these are cons for walking, not biking. I have a whole different list of aches and pains for biking.

Disagreements with Brent. We certainly don't share the same opinion on many things, but adding fuel to it doesn't make our relationship easier. He loves biking and all the things it represents, such as a better environment, small community networks, and better health. He and I just see the biking with the children part differently.

Annoying my friends and strangers. This new biking obsession has led me to think of little else and therefore I talk of little else. I discuss our commuting with everyone and I am certain many of them are tired of hearing it. I will move on, but it's been a long time since I have had an obsessive new interest. This one might make it difficult to make new friends.

The lack of safe routes for the children. Big con. I don't like having to make three (1, 2, 3) different attempts to getting my children to school safely only to find out that none of them are working well. It's two miles, it should not be this difficult.

This is a decent list of reasons why biking may not work out, but it's a petty list. A list of inconveniences, but nothing that can't be overcome. For each of these frustrations, I have at least two enjoyments and benefits, for another post, another day.

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