Biking Dads Speak Up Too
I identify with the parent who wrote in about how hard it is to stay car-free with children. Societal pressure against it is tremendous. Most people's determination crumbles with the reality of kids, so they buy a car, their lives adapt to driving, and they can't go back when the kids are old enough to ride.
Because I burned my bridges, my wife and I needed to stay independent. It's been great. I converted our garage to a roller rink, my kids get to go everywhere their friends do and I don't worry about killing someone else's child while rushing to pick up my own. With the money we saved not owning a car, we were able to have furniture delivered and buy an assortment of trailers, seats, jogging strollers, taxi rides and an electric bike to help out on especially demanding trips. We've considered renting a car for vacations, but at this point it's too much trouble, so we just use mass transit and folding bikes. Little tricks like padding out helmets with crocheted caps and strapping bassinets into trailers can be passed on easily, but contact with like minded parents neutralizes the endless barrage of ignorant comments from drivers.
With the right support network, many more parents will stick with bikes. If you and your kids want to join a bike parents' group to share tips, trade equipment and go on rides, please call me at 415-235-4215 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Talking Back, Talking Fat
In the May Tube Times Index you listed the rates and costs of obesity in the US, making the assumption that biking promotes health and saves tax dollars through weight loss. But contrary to widely held beliefs, the health implications of obesity are ambiguous. The real culprit is lack of exercise, not obesity. One thing is clear: sedentary thin people have the same health issues as sedentary, fat people. You do a disservice to fat riders by implying otherwise.
Not only do fat cyclists face the jeers of drivers, but worse is the fat-phobia of the bike community which should know better, but has been seduced by the diet/fitness industry-funded anti-fat mania. Considering this, I am constantly impressed by the number of fat riders on the streets. Riders who, just like their thin friends, are staying healthy.
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