It’s About Any Bike

// 10 July 2010 // Uncategorized

“It’s not worth”, many people reply nodding their heads or rolling their eyes after I explain the reasons why children should go to school riding their bikes. These days, Eastern Europeans discovered the static delights of the automobile and they project any idea of transport in relation to the gas-guzzling engine. In our tour, however, we witnessed fantastic communities and people that had a super-friendly approach to riding the bike to school and, moreover, that practice or practiced it constantly.

A Dutch couple in their 60s bragged for hours over how they were riding their bikes to school for 12 years. The lady, a beautiful, positive and open-minded person, could barely count on her hands the days she didn’t use the bike to go to school while she was a pupil in small town in Holland. And it was 30 km every day on flat terrain.

In many Bavarian and Austrian towns I encountered hundreds of little students that were calmly pedalling on their way to classes or back home. And this time the terrain wasn’t flat at all, on the contrary, it was shaped by beautiful forested hills. The car traffic was rather rare and slow, but please note that these communities are not lost somewhere in the Bavarian Alps but on main roads downstream Danube.

And finally, as I wanted just to browse through Lance Armstrong’s book “It’s Not About the Bike. My Journey Back to Life” I ended up reading it letter by letter devouring it in one day, right after we finished Europe’s crossing. And, as many incognito critics of RideAcross point out that “hey, a laptop might be way more useful for those kids than a bunch of mountain bikes”, I would like to leave aside my passionate environmental arguments and offer them a response by using Lance’s written words on how he got his first bicycle.

“It was a Schwinn Mag Scrambler, which I got when I was about seven. It was an ugly brown, with yellow wheels, but I loved it. Why does any kid love a bike? It’s liberation and independence, your first set of wheels. A bike is freedom to roam, without rules and without adults.”

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