Walk More, Ride More
Last weekend, the Tiny Kitchen Assistant got a new bike. Naturally, as any kid with a new toy, he’s looking for every excuse to ride it. On Sunday, we rode to the ballpark for baseball practice (the long green park at the top of the outer circle), with me towing two tons of team gear in the old Burley Bee bike trailer from his toddlerhood. “This is awesome,” he declared. “We should do this all the time!”
On Monday night, we decided to make a map. You can find online tools to draw a radius around a point on a map, at any size you choose. The Assistant requested that we measure the first circle at 1 kilometer. “I prefer kilometers,” he said. “Everything is multiples of 10 in German [metric]. I just don’t get why we use 12 inches to measure a foot.”
Anyway, we looked at what was included within that 1 km circle: his school; the coffee shop; a favorite sandwich shop; a small supermarket; a pharmacy. “This is our walk or ride circle,” he declared. “We’ll walk or ride this as much as possible. No cars.” Of course, this is 1 km as the crow flies; actual distances could be greater, depending on which direction we’re heading and how convoluted the route is in our non-grid street layout.
Then he had me plot a second circle at 2 km. The larger ring includes: two large supermarkets; the ballpark; a cafe; a taco shop; the library; a different coffee chain; the ice cream shop downtown. “Some of this is kind of far,” he said. “This will be our bike riding circle. We’ll ride to these places whenever we can.”
We’re now two days into the experiment. Yesterday, thanks to following his rules, I didn’t use the car at all. We walked to and from school in both the morning and afternoon, and I walked to the coffee shop for a midday work break. Not surprisingly, my daily work-at-home step totals jumped from the 5,000 range to nearly 12,000.
Tomorrow will be his first bike-to-school day. His on-campus day care has graciously allowed him to chain his bike to their fence in an inconspicuous location; being Captain Cautious that he is, he wasn’t comfortable leaving his new bike in the public bike racks. “Mom, kids aren’t gentle. I don’t know if I can trust them to be careful with my bike.” It’s funny because it’s true.
Tonight at dinner he said, “You know, Mom? I think it’s really good not to use the car. It’s good for me, good for you and good for the Earth. I like that.”
How long will this last? Hard to say. I love that he’s thinking about it and I’ll take what I can get for as long as I can get it.
What’s within 1 km of your home? Is walking or biking an option?