11 March 2010

Going to Town

I’ve never been a driver. Until our recent move to the country, I’ve always lived in cities, and have never felt the need to drive. I’m a walker, a transit user, and not just a cyclist, but something of a cycling activist. So how does a girl adapt to these new, more remote, surroundings?

A few months before we moved out here we bought a van, and with some reluctance I set about the process of getting my driver’s license. At 37 years old I am learning to drive, a somewhat nerve-wracking experience unto itself.

Yesterday while Milé was at work with the van, I was painting one of the bedrooms when I ran out of paint. Determined to be as self-sufficient as always, I pumped up my bike tires and headed towards town.

It was another glorious spring day, perfect for a bike ride in the country. I relished the fact that for the most part I had the road entirely to myself, unlike the constantly perilous city riding that I was accustomed to.

Biking to Picton was easy, half of it spent cruising down the steep and scenic Macaulay Mountain. I made it to Main Street in only 20 minutes, including a stop at the slightly anticlimactic Millennium Lookout and some brief bush-whacking while pushing my bike in search of a non-existent shortcut. I headed for Canadian Tire on the far edge of town, and was surprised to find there was a bike rack outside the store (only enough space for three bikes, but hey, I was impressed there was a bike rack at all).

In my 15 minutes at Canadian Tire, I had conversations with three different people. That just wouldn’t happen in Toronto, or most big cities, where people are so busy busy busy they don’t have time to talk to strangers. It’s incredibly refreshing, although it does require a change of my own mindset; I have to keep reminding myself that strangers talk to each other here, and that means I have to, too.

So, with a gallon of paint in my bike basket, I headed home. Going though town was easy and pleasant, but once I reached the foot of that mountain… I knew there was no way I was riding up it. So I got off and walked my bike at the side of the road, sunshine on my face.

All in all, the trip to town and back took about an hour and a half, at a relaxed pace with several stops along the way. Not ideal if you’re in a rush, but that’s okay. I’ve been rushing my whole life. It’s time to slow down and smell the country air. And I love that I can do that from the seat of my bicycle.

Sign from Main Street Picton

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