Most mornings I straddle my sturdy black city bike and pedal to work. I wear a fifteen-year-old helmet and a reflective strap around my right pant leg. Sometimes I bike in my dress shoes. Riding a bike always makes me feel like a kid, particularly when I’m sitting upright and gripping wide handlebars with a backpack on. Waiting for a break in the traffic on Cedar Avenue, with all those freshly washed cars driven women in pantsuits and men in pressed shirts and slacks rushing past, I feel decidedly goofy and, well, unadult.
So be it. Emily and I are committed to being a one-car family for the sake of the environment and simplicity and space, and because this is one way we’ve chosen to live out our faith. If you believe in a divinity manifest in and through creation, you might as well use that created body to transport yourself across the created planet without further destroying said planet.
So we negotiate a lot. Occasionally we lean on friends. Sometimes we have communication glitches and some disaster ensues. But on a day-to-day basis, the biggest price I pay is feeling goofy.
I can’t imagine my parents biking anywhere, much less to work. When I was a kid, bikes were like pogo sticks and jump ropes—something you played with and eventually outgrew. Now that I regularly navigate a bike-friendly town, I recognize the obvious: Biking is a means of transportation; it’s good exercise and a fabulous way to immerse yourself in vibrant city life. I pass enough other biking commuters to know that this is what adulthood looks like.
Nevertheless, biking still evokes this lingering suspicion that I’m really a kid pretending to be an adult. Maybe it’s because I look so goofy. Maybe it’s because I’m having more fun than those gas-pedal-pushing professionals. Or maybe I’m back in that childish—or is it faithful?—place of participating fully in this glorious turning world.
–Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew