Although my family don’t agree that I should continue to ride my electric bike, I ride it as often as the weather and my mood permit to visit Dorothy at her care home. Otherwise, I drive our car. Fortunately, and by choice, my wife’s care home is situated less than four kilometres away. About half the cycle journey is via a dedicated walk/bike path alongside the Eastern freeway and the remaining journey is on a straight roadway with the care home at the other end of the road. That road is quite busy at the end of the school day, but reasonably quiet at other times (and on school holidays!). Needless to say, I don’t ride at those busy times of day!
Now here’s another confession: I also don’t ride if it’s raining, or might rain before the return journey, or if it’s very windy, or super cold. Talk about a fair-weather sailor! The state of the weather wouldn’t deter me too much if I were younger but, at my age, I do need to avoid unnecessary risks like falling off and injuring myself. I hasten to confirm that my bike is a battery-powered ‘pedal-assist’ which means that, “if I don’t pedal the motor don’t work”. It still takes some energy to get up the hills, but I can coast downhill and don’t need to use the battery on the flat – unless I choose (sometimes!).
Even this kind of cycling means I get some nice fresh air in my lungs, my rather painful knees don’t mind the weightless pedalling, I can rug-up on the cold days and the ride refreshes my soul, so to speak. It’s fun to be back on the bike and I kid myself I am getting at least some exercise! Balance requires me to maintain verticality and, as long as I can stay in that state, I can get the benefits of travelling without sitting in a car, with a lifestyle and health benefit. Balance also means walking (sic) that fine line twixt being gung-ho and sensible of unintended consequences. I hope I can discern when the time comes to stop cycling (and so do my family!). Balance is the key, if I feel wobbly, I’ll give it up.
Even when the weather is fine, I often drive the car to visit Dorothy so we can drive out to nearby parks for pleasant walks. Therein lies a dilemma: lovely day, will it be bike or car? It’s an easier decision in the winter, as the walks in the park with Dorothy are more important than taking a riskier ride to get there (or getting wet on the way home!).
We are lucky in Melbourne that there are usually many fine, sunny winter days, but the weather can also be very changeable during the day, which means it’s not always easy to make a choice, ride or drive?
Maybe that’s what people mean when they say to me, “Bill, don’t get off your bike!”.