Bike Commuting (with kids) in NYC
Aimee Layton of CityMD Women's Racing not only excels at racing but she's an experienced bike commuter. Aimee puts in extra training miles biking to work each day - miles that qualify as 'resistance training' as she commutes with her daughter on her bike.
In addition to adding some strength training to her training regime, the commute enables her to spend some extra time with her daughter while teaching her about sustainable and healthy modes of transportation. With Bike Month in May just behind us, including a host of initiatives to get people on two wheels, we asked Aimee to reflect on her choice to brave the NYC traffic and ride her daughter to daycare each morning.
Commuting to Daycare by Bike
People think I'm crazy to bike commute with my daughter; they literally ask me time and again, "Are you CRAZY!?!".
We take the long route to work down along the river to avoid as much traffic as possible, but still the entire trip is not car free. Yes, the cars make me nervous. Yes, there have been a few close calls. But I'm also not the only parent out there. There are several of us who choose to bike commute to the hospital with our kids on a daily basis.
So I ask myself, "What is the risk vs. reward of bike commuting?" The risk is obvious, getting hit by an irresponsible, bad, distracted, aggressive driver. But what about the benefits...
Everyday, weather permitting, my daughter gets to point out the birds, dogs, and squirrels. We chat about the river and the trees and wave "hi" to the people we pass. She gets to see nature in a different light than most kids growing up in New York City's concrete jungle, stuck between buildings and bustling congested streets most days. She sees her mommy huffing and puffing up the hill and yes, sometimes yelling at drivers parked in the protected bike path. She gets an extra 20 mins of sunshine and fresh air before being in daycare for the day.
Beyond having a lovely trip to school, she learns a more socially responsible behavior. She is seeing her mommy prioritize her health and the environment above convenience and comfort. I don't think my 2 yr old realizes this is the lesson her mommy is trying to teach her. For her, riding the bike is just part of life. But I hope that by making riding the bike "just part of life", she will develop a perspective on the world where exercise and caring for the environment will be effortless and fundamentally a part of her personality.
In a country where obesity, heart disease, pollution and aggressive/careless driving are the number one killers of ourselves and our planet, I ask you, "what risks are you willing to take in order to teach the next generation a more responsible way of life?"
CityMD and Bike commuting in NYC
Many of the women on the team also commute to work by bike, some via Citibike, some via their own commuters. Some daily and some only occasionally or as logistics allow. But no matter the frequency or type of bike, CityMD has always been supportive of our efforts to choose cycling for commuting and used our ethos as a model to encourage more people to commute via bike.
As the weather around NYC grows warmer, they recently challenged us to ride to work during Bike-to-Work week in May and visit as many CityMD locations along the way to show how convenient riding to work or to run an errand can be. Over the course of a week, we passed over 20 CityMD urgent care centers and waved hello as we zipped by on our way to work.
Help Support Bike Commuting in NYC
New York City continues to make strides in improving bike infrastructure but it's been a long fight to introduce additional protected bike lanes and we still have a long way to go to insure that all bike commuters have adequate protections throughout the city.
If you're interested in staying up to date on the latest transit issues in New York City stay tuned to Streetsblog NYC and if you want to contribute to one of the leading organizations fighting to make city streets safer head over to Transportation Alternatives.