Ira and I dodged a bullet last week by being in Santa Rosa, CA, visiting our son and granddaughter thereby missing Bellingham’s heat wave that saw temperatures edging close to 90. We were doubly lucky because Santa Rosa’s temperatures were hovering in the mid to upper 70’s. It would shave been wonderful biking weather but alas my bike was home.
I thought about biking a lot while I was down there. It was hard not to—there were a lot of cyclists on the roads taking advantage of the flat landscape and numerous bike lanes. To all outward appearances, it seemed to be a very bike-friendly city complete with cute bike racks gracing the downtown area. I would have been envious except for one thing—the traffic! Seriously, between the amount of it, the general lack of courtesy, and in some cases the blatant hostility, it was a bit of a shock. Even walking in a “marked crosswalk” with a toddler in tow doesn’t guarantee that traffic will stop for you. It was quite a different reality from what I’m used to here in Bellingham. The thought of riding a bike even in an established bike lane in that environment was enough to give me a huge case of the willies. Our son, Dan, only lives three miles from work and could easily bike to work, but he won’t. He’s no wimp; he used to do triathlons. But Santa Rosa has an unusually high number of bike fatalities each year and while a good percentage of those happen in more rural areas, not all of them do.
So while I did think about cycling a lot down there, I contented myself by playing with my granddaughter and spending time with Dan, all while enjoying some really lovely weather. I may wish there were more cycling amenities here at home but frankly, I’ll take the slower, friendlier pace anytime.