The Chainlink

What does your family think of your life as a cyclist?

I'm mostly a city commuter and I know my dad is nervous that I am going to get hit by a car while I'm biking. I explain to him that more people my age are killed in car accidents than bike accidents.

My 7 year old suburban nephew thinks I'm cool cause I don't use my car often. He is quickly becoming a bike fanatic too!

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The other end of my family, however, is cool with it.

I like that helmet too!

Peenworm Grubologist said:

The other end of my family, however, is cool with it.

Thanks! His idea, mainly.

My conservative Iowan and Kansan brothers see the shape I am in and the pounds I have kept off, so the are fine with their black sheep brother riding his toy. My politically active son has joined me on rides and is proud that cycling has led me down the political path of bicycle activism in Chicago.  I always told him one person can make a difference, so I have to keep the bar high.

I agree with you.  A lot of people don't and just go on their merry way.  I get made fun of sometimes for being a " naive dreamer" by the conservative people in my life, who I love deeply and agree to disagree.  

For me biking is an integral part of that -  I'm making a difference for my health, my wallet, my sanity, and clean air.  I try to encourage and empower people to change it up, and try biking to improve their health, wallets and sanity as well. 

Gene Tenner said:

 I always told him one person can make a difference, so I have to keep the bar high.

I believe my in-laws, who are some of the nicest people I have ever met, think we are a bit nutty for cycling everywhere. Since they live in the suburbs, they seem to think that cycling is only for exercise and recreation, and that it isn't  quite normal to them for us to do our shopping and errands by bicycle instead of using a car.  They are really nice about it, but really do not understand how much more convenient it is to use a bicycle. Overall, they express their worry about us cycling in the scary city traffic and encourage us to use are car more often (usually to go visit them). I think Rob & I were going to plan a trip via bicycle to visit them just because the 40 miles to their home would be an adventure and also really freak them out. 

My mom has also expressed a lot of concern that I will be hit by a car in "all that traffic." What I seem to be unable to explain to her is that in the city, when there is a lot of traffic, it usually means that everyone is going about 2 miles an hour.

Sometimes I'm tempted to put on a helmet camera and film some of my route but I can't decide if that would reassure her or just fan her flames. I have to remind myself that she still thinks of me as a horrible teenage driver, and has no frame of reference for the cautious inner-city biker I've become.

My brother just bought a bike from Working Bikes and is considering talking about commuting to work in the burbs. Go bro!

My wife gives my her customary, "Please be careful" but other than that she knows that I essentially consider biking part of my job. She also knows that I'm usually in a much better mood when I ride so I think she appreciates that!


One big change for me, though, is when I had kids. I definitely am super careful now and don't take any chances at all. It wasn't like I was a reckless rider before, but now I am very cautious and vigilant because I need to be around for the little ones. My daughter is two and she is already obsessed with her tricycle. I absolutely believe that some people just have a love of motion and wheels in their DNA. Every morning when I leave for work she watches me out the kitchen window leave on my bike for work and I wave good bye. 

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