The other night, while I lie awake in bed, I was thinking about the differences of growing up in the 2000’s and in the 1980’s. Mainly walking/riding to school.
I grew up in a small town, population around 5,000 on an oil and chip road with no sidewalks. I remember walking to school (either by myself or with a friend) in 2nd grade. Possibly even 1st grade. We didn’t live very far away, maybe half a mile, so it wasn’t a big deal. I know that nowadays I wouldn’t let my son walk to school at that age.
Soon I went to the Jr. High School. That was on the other side of town and I was determined to walk home. It was about a mile and a quarter. For a 5th-6th grader, that was quite a distance! I also remember riding my bicycle to school. On the days that the chance of rain was 30-40% and I rode, I would bring plastic bags and rubber bands to put over the gears and brakes!
I remember that it was a big deal to be able to ride my bike on State Street. It was a fairly big road for the small town. It was also the quickest way to the library. I had baskets on the back of my bike and I almost always filled them with books. We also rode our bikes to the pool when we were old enough. I do remember one summer, we rode our bikes to Allerton Park. For us, that was a big deal. That was about a 5-6 mile ride. No biggie these days, but it was a HUGE deal!
So what happened to bike riding? I got my driver’s license and I didn’t ride my bike anymore. I started driving everywhere. I did bike a little bit here and there, but nothing like I had before. I do wish I had taken my bike to college. That would have saved a bit of mon,ey parking aggravation and I would have gotten a bit more exercise too.