Sunday, May 27, 2012

She's Back in the Saddle...and Happy!

I'm in what is pretty close to Bike Nirvana: Gent, Belgium, where cycling for transport is normal and where you can feel pretty confident that autos will give you the right of way. It's not perfect, you see public education campaigns in Belgium that urge cooperation among cars, cyclists and pedestrians, so it's clear there are issues here. And I've had some cars give me the shudders as they pass too closely or speed right up to an intersection before giving you the right of way. But that's more the exception than the rule.
So I was catching up on Twitter and emails when I spotted this from @TheAdvoc8te who tells of getting reacquainted with biking after years off. Hats off to her for doing something that was intimidating, but giving it a go anyway. It's natural to avoid things that intimidate us, or that flat-out scare us so I really respect folks who fight the fear, swallow hard and take the plunge anyway.

But I am also thrilled to share the road with someone who's getting the sense of freedom and confidence that cycling can offer. While traveling here in Belgium I got an email from a co-worker: after looking long and hard for just the right bike, she finally found the one she wanted and her note was bursting with excitement. She had just been out for a long ride and wrote "I can't get enough!"

Nothing like moving under your own steam to make you feel strong and confident. And nothing like blowing off some steam on a bike ride: either before or after a long day of work. It could be the air, the endorphins or the sheer joy of motion that leaves me smiling during and after a ride--in any weather.

So, happy to see you on the road @TheAdvoc8te, and I'll look for you out there. You'll know me by my goofy grin and the thumbs up I give you.

..and now, off for a bike ride of my own on my last full day here in Gent.  

Most unusual bike parking strategy so far. Gent, Belgium.

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