Yes, we know it’s a bit early to start thinking about Halloween, but we can’t help ourselves because we are going to a cool Downtown Halloween party on October 29, that includes a pedestrian and bicycle parade around the Cannonborough/Elliotborough neighborhood, a party in the park, music, a pie contest, food trucks and more. Plus, it’s fun to have an excuse to shop for a costume on Ebay and Etsy.
So here’s an idea for any ladies who will be arriving by bicycle. What if we all try to replicate these gorgeous vintage bicycle posters?
We came across this great letter from 1999, published in the Post & Courier and written by a tenacious woman named Mindy Spar. Read it and be inspired! (For the full text go to the P&C archives)
I want to ride my bicycle
BY Mindy Spar
The Post and Courier
Anyone who owns a car in this town knows that driving around here can be a headache. With all the one-way streets, pedestrians who don`t look where they are going, carriage drivers who don`t pull over when they are supposed to and tour buses that drive zero miles per hour, getting where you are going can be tough…..
I bought a bicycle about a year or so ago with intentions of riding it to work. Somehow, I kept finding excuse after excuse not to. First I didn`t want to ride home in the dark. Then when it stayed light later, I decided it was too hot. Then I couldn`t figure out a comfortable way to ride in a dress. Then I realized I had way too much stuff to schlep around and I couldn`t possibly carry it all on a bike. Then I kept hearing story after story of people`s bikes being stolen, and I figured my bike would be much safer if I didn`t use it.
After the bus incident, I decided to get real and put all of the excuses away. I spent the weekend gearing up: I bought a basket to carry my stuff in, bought a super-duper lock to protect my bike, I found some bicycle shorts to wear under my dress, and I decided to pull my hair back in a ponytail and to not be afraid of a little sweat.
D-day (or should I say B-day, as in bike day) dawned on Monday. I woke up early in anticipation. Every few minutes I checked the sky, but, alas, there were no rain clouds in sight. I pulled on my shorts, tied back my hair, secured my belongings in my basket, and off I went.
It was exhilarating. Even with the heat there was a bit of a breeze, and it felt great to be in the open air.
Usually, I drove the same route to work every morning, so I decided to weave through the back streets on my bike. I noticed new details on houses I`d seen a thousand times; the interesting way a porch curved on one house, the leaded glass windows on another, the latticed gate to a garden at yet another. I marveled at the amount of restoration and renovation that is being done in the downtown neighborhoods.
Before I knew it, I was at my destination. I was amazed that it took the same amount of time as driving had. And I felt great, albeit very sweaty. I was clearheaded and empowered to tackle the day.
Now, I ride to work every day. Instead of wishing for storm clouds, I dread them. (One day I had to drive to work and I appreciated my bicycle all the more; by the time I negotiated the traffic and bad drivers, I was a stress case before my work day had even begun.)
I vary my route and try to discover new things daily. I also watch the progress of the renovations and am excited by the new vitality in some of our older neighborhoods.
If I had only known what a great way this was to start the day, I would have thrown off those tired excuses ages ago. Granted, my sitbone and my legs were a little sore for a while, and my co-workers have had to deal with my outdoorsy odor, but those little inconveniences pale in comparison to the overall benefits.
Those benefits are endless; a chance to get some exercise, discover new things, clear the mind and body of stress, and do a little bit for the environment.
But the biggest benefit of all is, I feel as if I`ve given myself a gift. A gift of permission to take a few minutes every day to do something beneficial for myself. This is something in this hectic, rush-rush world we too often forget to do. Try it and see what a difference it makes.