“It’s just like riding a bike.”
— unknown source
Once you know how to ride a bike, riding again is easy. The hard part comes when you try to find time to ride it — this adulting business isn’t exactly rife with free time, and unless you’re one of the rare specimens who’ll likely live ’til a rip old age because they commute to work by bike each day, between daycare pickups, drop-offs, extra hours at the 9-5 and a little something called Daylight Savings Time that took all the sunshine with it when it went away, the opportunities to get on your wheels and zip through the city sometimes feel few and far between.
But that’s just it — you can make a whole heap of excuses for why you won’t go biking, but the moment you jump on and get going, the feeling is amazing.
You have to stop stalling, though — there’s no snow on the ground yet, but soon enough, many of us will be hibernating as much as possible, longing for the days where going outside didn’t mean freezing our faces off and biking was a quick way to warm up on even the nippiest of autumn days. You’re going to look back at these days and wonder why you were so hesitant to go out and have a little fun, regretting that you’ll need to wait until spring (or, if you speak Canadian, like, May) to get back on your ride, swearing that you’ll take full advantage of the weather next time and stop leaving for tomorrow the awesome things you could do today!
But why wait until spring — you should hop on that bad boy today while you still can and have some adventures while the weather’s still tolerable!
And with that lesson in mind, that’s exactly what I did — got off of my rear end, made some time to get on my Schwinn, and explored parts of my neighbourhood I’d rarely visit otherwise.
Ladies, gentlemen and children of all ages — I present to you my story of remembering how to bike my city.
It’s been a little over a month since I first got my hands on the Schwinn Onus, and it’s been fun every time I’ve gotten out for a quick ride! Biking is Toronto’s definitely more intimidating than cycling through Mississauga ever was, but I keep road safety in mind when I’m out to make sure the undesired surprises are kept to a minimum.
The Onus’ frame has a good heft to it, so it feels sturdy without being overly heavy, which makes it great for speed, but also for handling uneven terrain like jumping curbs and navigating the potholes that Toronto streets are notorious for. I was also happily surprised by how quickly I could make tension adjustments, too used to the clunky gear shifts of my ’90s bikes that’d lock up on me at the most unfortunate moments, causing more injuries than I care to remember. The Onus’ Shimano RS25 shifters move smoothly and react instantly, which is great in the times where East York gets steep coming back from The Beach! In its short tenure in the Palmer Fleet, it’s served me well, getting me where I want to go, when I want to get there.
But this journey is about so much more than having a slick ride to take around town — it’s about modelling the right future behaviours for my kids to give them a leg up on making the most of their lives!
It’s okay to go outside and explore the world.
As an ’80s baby, I’m used to my parents’ brand of child rearing — go out and play with the neighbourhood kids, don’t die, come back for meals and be home by dark.
The world’s changed a lot since then as we’ve learned to fear more of the outside world, clutching ever more tightly to our children to make sure nothing happens to them.
But we might be suffocating their potential!
Sure, with two parents working 45+ hour weeks, I spent a lot of time in front of the TV and video game consoles to keep me occupied. But now, the screens follow us wherever we go, sometimes at the cost of those formative activities that help kids figure out how to navigate their world! I have to be especially careful as a blogger, perhaps wrapped up in my efforts a little too often, whether it’s nose-deep in a notepad at the breakfast table or sneaking peeks at the smartphone where the kiddo can’t see. I can’t let my kids believe that technology runs our lives, and the more I can do to prove there’s more to the world than cool apps and fancy toys, the better.
Biking’s a return to a family lifestyle without the complication and competition that many parents deal with today, where you can just enjoy yourselves and take in the world around you.
That’s what I want my kids to absorb when they see me on my Schwinn!
BIKE YOUR CITY — There’s an Entire WORLD Out There to Explore!
The world can make you miserable if you let it. We’ve got bills to pay, things to do, and an inexhaustible supply of people who’ll devour your time and energy if you let them. Sometimes we need to step back from the complicated lives we’ve built for ourselves and enjoy our moments for what they are — we never know what tomorrow will bring!
So get in it to Schwinn it — the world’s out there to experience, and it’s just waiting for you to get on your feet and make it happen! And while cars are great for taking you plenty of places you’ve never been before, if you’ve ever seen Toronto’s traffic, you’ll know that sometimes you need a better way to get around if you want to get anywhere.
Get out there and ride your city — find something new before it’s too late! When we’re in the thick of a brutal winter, longing for the days we could just go outside and do something, I don’t want to be the one to tell you “I told you so!”
Disclaimer: I was compensated for this post by the generous folks at Schwinn Canada who are really dedicated to forging relationships with bloggers interested in improving their lives! It’s been a great journey so far, and I look forward to some of the great work we can do together in 2016!
Until the next, my peoples!