It’s almost a year since the coronavirus turned our lives upside down. The past week has been a rude reminder that we’re not out of the woods yet; but it’s timely to remind ourselves how much we have learned over the past 12 months – and to revisit some of those learnings.
Last year provided us with a stepping stone to a habit of bicycling for exercise and family time. The direct benefits of riding became clearly evident during lockdown; perhaps you and your family experienced the feeling of freedom and wellbeing – and the fun – that comes with this great way of getting around.
I hope you have been able to discover and appreciate the wonderful linear path infrastructure our City of Greater Bendigo has to offer – and have even considered that regular riding could be a way of the future for you.
But, as we navigate Covid-normal, integrating bicycling into our daily routines on a more permanent basis can be a challenge – mainly around rethinking our time to make room in what we already know as busy lifestyles.
Weekend riding is a given for many of us as we have more discretionary time then and, together, we appreciate a shared ride as it usually takes us to a park for playtime or to a venue for food and drink – a reward for our efforts.
In my experience, two of the main stumbling blocks in integrating weekly bicycling into the family routine are time and safe cycling routes. I’d like to offer two pieces of encouragement to consider.
First, about time: we can’t make time; we can’t save time. We can, however, be wise users of time. Once we commit to making a routine work, we find there will be ample time: we are mentally prepared mentally that that is what we are going to be doing.
Time takes care of itself when we have a plan of action; a plan removes the procrastination that fritters time away like water slipping through our fingers. Having a plan for this time is like planning for the time we may have used to walk or to drive or to catch public transport.
Second, on safe cycling routes: the best places to ride are those where we feel safe and comfortable riding at our own pace. We might choose a route that is different to the way we would drive; we might not ride “as the crow flies” but choose streets or paths that are safer or more fun than the main roads.
Surface condition is a big consideration and could well be a cost saver. Keep away from grass and unsealed “goat tracks” to escape bindiis (prickles that puncture tyres, often multiple times), which make riding a chore not a joy. Avoid loose surfaces, particularly on corners and descents where the risk of falling is high; an accident can dampen enthusiasm very quickly.
Time and safety are paramount when integrating a bicycling routine into weekday activities. Taking the time to be safe saves time, and makes a safe routine that can be fun – and beneficial in growing our bicycling experience. Then, when we have it down pat, it can grow stronger and boost our confidence to tackle bigger bicycling adventures.
Looking forward to seeing you on the road soon, God willing.