|Photo from a 1970 Schwinn catalog,|
but could just as easily be 2012.
On the other hand, northern Burlington is a mix of working class families, elderly housing, and low income apartments with very few post high school students. I like this region though, quite a bit. There are parks and unpretentious neighborhoods. And then there is its appealing proximity to the waterfront path. I often pedal to their well-stocked shopping center for groceries, bagels, creemees, or to the hardware store; it's a short ride from a family camp. I could see myself, someday, living in the North End.
I was shocked, though pleased, to discover full bike racks in this particular shopping district. Searching for an open spot, I casually mentioned to a cycler whose bike was locked sideways in the rack taking up three spaces (she was apologizing and unlocking her bike) how it was nice to see so many out riding. She smiled and said that she didn't drive. I didn't ask why—it wasn't my business. Instead, I made small talk, how the weather's been so nice this year, good for commuting. And she replied, "I don't mind either."
I thought about how this economic crisis has led many to chose a bicycle as transportation because there are no easy alternatives—the bus is infrequent, the distances longer between work, home, and everyday necessities. These two women figured out what worked for their situation. Maybe there was a bike sitting unused in their household and all they had to do was inflate tires.
I filled up our van's gas tank the other day and spent 50.00. Ouch. I could buy a garage sale bike for the same price. But would others with less bike know-how feel comfortable with this? Probably not. Or it wouldn't cross their minds that a bike is viable transportation, a perfectly acceptable way to get from point A to B. Whether this rise in bike usage continues or not, it's at least heartwarming to know that some locals—and ladies at that—choose two wheels as a solution for living without a car.