Random Thoughts

Biking to school/work…

With the lovely spring-like weather that London has been having, I commented to my husband that it was like an ant hill that had been stomped on…everyone was swarming out. But the sun lifts our moods as we spend more time in it, making more Vitamin D and melatonin. One great way of taking advantage of the warmth and sun is to pull out your bicycle.

Emily can't wait to get off her bike at school each morning.
Emily can't wait to get off her bike at school each morning.

Actually, we never packed Emily’s away. Each day, rain or shine, I push her on her tricycle to her school (nursery). We talk along the way: the current hot topic is all the construction that is going on. Of course, her favourite question is ‘WHY?’ And each morning, I explain that the Handy Manny’s are making the house nicer for people. Why? Because when we live in nice houses, we take better care of them and feel better about ourselves. Why? Usually ends up in an explanation about serotonin and the like. By which time, we are usually at nursery and she happily runs off to join her friends. Of course, when I pick her up it is the same…in reverse.

Bikes hold a special place in most of our hearts. After all, we use common expressions such as…’it’s like riding a bike, you never forget.’ We have happy memories of learning to ride without stabiliser/training wheels. Wasn’t that one of your biggest accomplishments of your young life?

In terms of the Frugal Fam’s core values, bike rank pretty high:

Family first. A Sunday afternoon ride in the park is a fabulous way to spend real quality time with our children. Whether the parents ride or simply sit with an ever watchful eye on the children, those times harkens back to a nostalgic time that we often long for.

Save money. One of the easiest ways to save money in these tough times is to walk or bike. With the cost of a single bus ride now back up to a pound, the Tube and trains overcrowded, and our streets congested with traffic; riding to work, school or the store makes more sense every day.

Environmentally friendly. Riding our bikes instead of driving or public transport is another great example of how saving money and being greener can be combined. Think of all the green gases we would eliminate if all of us made the commitment to walk or bike to anything less than a mile from our homes.

Healthier. Biking is an excellent exercise as well. In a society laden with increasing childhood obesity statistics, the gift of a bike is one of the best investments we can make in our children. Of course, don’t forget for safety’s sake that you also need a helmet and pads.

And if you don’t have a bike? Check out Freecycle, your local council’s swap programme or local advert for used ones. It may take some patience as they are always hot items and go quickly, but I was just able to pick up a lovely one for my seven year old for this summer off of Freecycle.  But if you are in a hurry to get to the park, you could also consider investing in a used one through adverts such Gumtree or your local newspaper. Don’t forget to check out the local community boards in retailers as well.

It is a shame to waste the lovely sunshine stuck on a bus, the Tube or a train if you don’t absolutely have to do so. The money and greenhouses gases you save along with the calories you burn can be invested back into more time with our families…and equal a whole lot of fun for everyone. So I hope you’ll join Emily and me by biking to school, shops and parks…for as long as we possibly can.

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