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I'm the Local Gal in Richmond, Indiana, exploring my hometown and heart. I write about all thing local, sometimes global. It's a small world after all.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Car Free in Richmond, Indiana

“Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live.”
~Mark Twain~

My preferred method of travel (ever since I can remember removing the training wheels) has been to bike, at least for short trips. My first "big girl" bicycle was a banana seat Schwinn, a heavy metal yellow bike. It weighed a ton!

 (Thank you Internet! That's the very bike!)

This was before vintage was cool. Yes, I was teased, but that's okay. It made me who I am today! In those days of bicycling, I never registered second glances from passersby. I was just another neighborhood kid on a bike. However, by the time I graduated high school, I had come to realize that a commonly held association between being a young adult on a bicycle, in this area, meant only one thing: a DUI. People of a certain age who rode their bikes did so because their licenses were revoked or it was a hobby- not really a mode of transport. Riding my bike was a recreational choice on a sunny day to get away for awhile and go nowhere in particular.

A decade ago, if my husband and I were to walk to the grocery store on foot (this happened more than several times) a car would stop:

Driver: "Are you kids okay? Do you need a ride? Where are you going?"
Us: "We are fine. We're just walking." 
Driver: "Don't you have a car? Is it broken down?"
Us: "Yeah, no, it's fine. we just like to walk."

The driver would than process this fact with apparent difficulty and would then leave with a quizzical expression.

Things are different now. Cultural changes and habits take some time to alter. Maybe it's the one positive thing coming out of the recession. Maybe it's because of the "obesity crisis" and people want to get healthy. Whatever the reason, I suspect there are several, that scene just doesn't take place anymore. Now I recall it simply as a memory of the ready eagerness of people in my community to help anyone- a stranger on the street, if they need it. Biking is rapidly becoming an acceptable and fun mode of transportation! Nowadays you see a lot more traffic both on foot and on bike.

My husband and I don't like to replace things. When our toaster kicked the bucket, we started putting our bread under the broiler to toast. When I suspected the car might kick the bucket too, I started bike shopping, just in case. We now own a bucket bike from Madsen Cycles.

I am glad I did. Our transmission is just about kaput, so as of the end of March, just as I set out on this blog project to explore my hometown, the car up and effectively dies.

What is cool about this is- we're proving that even in a quasi bicycle friendly town, you can pull it off. It takes a change of habit and a difference in lifestyle, but being car free is doable for us.

It's even given me an advantage. You see so much more from a bike or on foot than you can from a car.

This field and sky would have just been a blur rushing past me in a car.

"It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle."

~Ernest Hemingway~

Besides, if I hadn't ridden my bike to that interview the other day, I may never have found Miller Farm

Cute isn't it? They blog sometimes too HERE!

Are you local and into Bikes? Visit Richmond Cycling's Facebook Page.

Like my bicycle quotes? I found them HERE!

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