28 February 2013

I can't win

Our first trip with the trailer. Picking strawberries to jam.
Most of the time, I'm fending off comments about how 'brave' I am to cycle with my kids.

To begin with, this meant taking my daughter to nursery in a bike seat. Then when she outgrew that, we got a tandem.  And, about that time, she started riding her own bike. Like most parents we assumed she would ride on the pavement (sidewalk to the North American readers).  But that made going places tricky and slow. Since most of our roads are lined with parked cars, this means that often we couldn't see her, and were riding too slow for the traffic flow.  Then, at age 4, she had a fall over the edge of a kerb and onto the road. And declared she wasn't going to ride on the pavement anymore.  We humoured her for a bit, thinking she'd probably go back to riding on the pavement. And gradually we developed the necessary skills to ride with her on the road.  She's never looked back. And at age 6, she's got a pretty good sense of how roads work, and how to cycle them.

But, the 'brave' comments keep coming.  Mostly it's code for 'crazy'.  Or 'bad parent'.  I'm sure the parents trying to drive their kids to school in 4x4s say even worse things.

The thing is, among cycle campaigners, I get flack from the other side. Snide comments about helmets and hiviz.  About how cycling ought to be for 'normal' people.  Not all of this is nasty.  Much of it is well-intentioned like the great people at Spokes, who want to see more pictures of cyclists in 'normal' clothes.

But they're still telling me that I'm doing it wrong.

I can't win.  So, you know what? I'm just gonna ride my bike!  (and keep on campaigning to get more people out there, and to make the roads safer for all of us)

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