Kathy Manos Penn with Lord Banjo
Did you ride a bike as a child? Have you ridden as an adult? I've done both and was dismayed to see an article about fewer children riding bicycles. "The number of children ages 6 to 17 who rode bicycles regularly - more than 25 times a year - decreased by more than a million from 2014 t0 2018"
according to the article.
It's sad to me that today's kids are missing out on the joy of bicycling, and sadder still that the main culprit is seen as an average of "more than seven hours a day"
screen time among kids "ages 8 to 18."
I wonder whether the lack of bikable neighborhood roads also has an impact.
It must have been meant to be that just a few days before I saw the article, I heard Pattie Baker speak about her book "Traveling at the Speed of Bike."
She's a freelance writer, a tour creator and guide for Bicycle Tours of Atlanta, and a certified League of American Bicyclist's Cycling Instructor.
She started by asking us to close our eyes and then she rang her bicycle bell. We all smiled at the sound. We shared our memories, and she shared her bike riding experiences around Dunwoody and Atlanta. While I'm not anywhere near as passionate about riding bikes as Pattie, I do enjoy it. If you had a childhood love affair with cycling and want to renew that feeling, check out her book and her website travelingatthespeedofbike.com.
When I read Pattie's book, it brought back memories of my father removing the training wheels from my bike, running along beside me, and pushing me on my bike on a sidewalk in Queens. I recalled riding my bicycle in my Long Island neighborhood when I was older.
Years later, I got my first bike as an adult, a six-gear cruiser to ride in Virginia-Highlands. I progressed to a mountain bike and enjoyed riding in Piedmont Park and up and down city streets on the weekends when there was no traffic. On summer evenings, I'd meet my friend Beverly midway between her home in Decatur and mine, and we'd cycle neighborhood streets.
We girls took our first cycling vacation with Vermont Bicycle Tours and took several more trips around the US. We'd fly into a city like Boston or Seattle or Green Bay, rent a car to travel to wherever the tour started, meet our guides and our group, and have a ball as we biked from one country inn to another for a week.
My husband and I have taken our bicycles on trips to the beach and the mountains, and we've taken bike trips in France and a bike and sail trip in Greece. I wouldn't say we're fanatics; we just enjoy bicycling as a different way to explore.
I like to say we have a herd of bikes in our garage that we keep fed and watered for cycling the Greenway and the Silver Comet Trail in Atlanta. We've occasionally cycled around our town of Dunwoody, but we carefully map our route and ride exclusively on Sunday mornings to avoid traffic. We've even stored a pair of bikes at my sister's condo in St. Simons for when we visit there. Though we cycle less frequently these days, we'd love to get back to it as a regular pastime.
The article ends with this statement: "When kids ride bikes, good things happen," I wonder, then, what will happen when fewer and fewer kids do?
Kathy is a Georgia resident. Find her books "The Ink Penn: Celebrating the Magic in the Everyday" and "Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch" on Amazon. Contact her at email@example.com, and follow her on Facebook, www.facebook.com/KathyManosPennAuthor/.