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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    9,324

    "People in Oregon must be poor."

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    My class is working on state reports. One student comes up to me, "People in Oregon must be poor. This book says a lot of them ride their bikes to work. I know you ride your bike, but these people are riding far. They must not have cars."

    My answer, 'Did you know Mr. D. rides his bike 13 miles each way to work?"

    She replies, "REALLY?!! that's far."


    V.
    Discipline is remembering what you want.


    TandemHearts.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Benicia, CA
    Posts
    1,320
    Kinda sad that kids don't ride bikes to school anymore. Nowadays I hear that parents are afraid the bikes will get stolen! (and they do) Whatever happened to honesty in our country?
    Nancy

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    2,309
    When we moved to our little piece of nirvana here in AZ it was the ONE thing our son was looking forward to. School is just less than a mile from the house and he only has one major crosswalk to go through. There is a guard there, so I let him ride. He loves it. Though nervous nelly me still gave him an extra cell phone to keep in his back pack in case he has an emergency. He's only 8 and I can't tell you how conflicted I was giving him a phone! But that way he can take his time riding home w/ his friends and I don't worry if he's late. When we lived in Northern CA I would have never felt safe letting him ride- and the school was only two blocks away!! In fact I found out that a little girl was molested walking to school on our old block about a year after we moved away. SAD!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Utah, Gateway to Nevada, not to be confused with Idaho
    Posts
    1,872
    I don't even know that it's "honesty", really. I agree that alot of it is fear (yes, we're big on that these days, though I distincly remember many "offers" for lifts home from stranges when I rode my bike or walked back in the early 70s...), but I think alot of it is laziness wearing the cloak of something else (fear, mostly). It takes too much time to prepare for and ride to school. It's simply a lot easier and "safer" to just hop in the car and get there. I've had friends that are parents admit this to me, so I know it's not just my imagination.

    But what's going to happen when we really have to THINK about our use of petroleum products?? OK, I'll stop there.

    I have pretty strong opinions about the physical fitness of kids today, but since I'm not a parent I really don't feel like I can spout them freely. I worry that a kid that grew up on XBox instead of building forts, riding bikes everywhere, and catching stickelbacks will be in control of my retirement accounts.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    587
    Funny...

    We just had this conversation the other night at my dinner table. What ever
    happened to riding your bike down to the pond, walking home soon as the street lights went on, kick the can with EVERY kid on the block. When we tried to explain these fun times with the kids they just didn't get it , my kids are 17 and 14.

    I figure 2 things happened that forces us to take childhood from our children.

    1. Moms went to work...plain and simple, and I'm not trying to cause anger here, I was also a working mom. Soon as moms left the house kids were put in daycare, or tended to by elder relatives, who may not have the engery to chase them.

    2. Child abduction/abuse. I believe this has always been a part of our history,
    however today the media is doing a marvelous job bringing it to our attention.
    Example...Polly Klaus, when that poor child went missing I was working at night and heard about it on CNN less than 5 hours after she was abducted.
    Same with the young lady in Utah, and I sat here in Massachusetts and felt the deep dread, deep in my gut, that those poor mothers must have been feeling.

    So what's the solution?? I don't know. My DH and I were both very busy career folks, and had only quality, not quantity time to spend with our kids. So when we had weekends or evenings together we took hikes, rode bikes,
    played in the yard, went swimming, or sat and played a game. My kids have all the video gadgets but I never allowed them the opportunity to make a career of using them. Niether of them are fat, matter of fact my son is thin as a rail, and my daughter is proportional for her small stature. Both are very athletic, some say my son is "gifted". I can only pray I did right by them...

    karen
    sca
    Quitting is NOT an option!
    Know the signs of stroke!! www.stroke.org

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    DuPage Co IL
    Posts
    865
    Quote Originally Posted by massbikebabe
    So what's the solution?? I don't know.
    I've thought about this issue so much! The main thing I regret that my kids haven't experienced is all the "bored" time we had as kids. That's where we learned to think and consider the world and learn about ourselves - just spending time watching ants on the sidewalk!

    We are a two career family, too, but when they were really young, I was at home. I watched what happened whenever the power went out (a frequent occurance at our house) and all the electronics were unavailable. After about five minutes of whining, they started doing all the stuff I had done as a kid!! And because I didn't have enough experience with this sort of playing as a parent, the worry drove me crazy.

    All the distractions this modern life provides us with just short-circuits that "play" impulse. And we as parents are quietly relieved that they are safe inside instead of out in the wild. Even with a parent at home, attentive and tuned in to them, if they are out playing like we did, they are at risk, just like we were at risk. So I think you're right about the reasons Massbikebabe. I'm guiltily grateful that they aren't out there risking life and limb and feeling sad that they are missing out on so much fun.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Mrs. KnottedYet
    Posts
    9,146

    why don't they ride?

    happy birthday massbikebabe who wrote

    "I figure 2 things happened that forces us to take childhood from our children.

    1. Moms went to work...plain and simple, and I'm not trying to cause anger here, I was also a working mom. Soon as moms left the house kids were put in daycare, or tended to by elder relatives, who may not have the engery to chase them."

    I dunno about that, my (and therefore bikelessinWi's) Mom worked which was unusual in the 60's. We kids were in daycare but it was the first co-op daycare in at least Sonoma county and for one thing being a co-op...both parents were there! This wasn't the kind of thing where parents dropped the kids off and "alrighty now, done with them", parents had to spend some time there.

    A common joke in our family is when Mom starts to say "do you remember so and so? She's a Nobel Prize winning chemist or whatever now..." "Did we go to nursery school with her?" the kids turned out allright.

    We grew up in the country and the whole "it takes a village" thing as kids with some hindsight I think my parents had almost a network of great families that we hung out with each others kids.

    "2. Child abduction/abuse. I believe this has always been a part of our history however today the media is doing a marvelous job bringing it to our attention."

    True, it's probably always been there just now more aware of it. Wasn't talked about then.

    "So what's the solution?? I don't know."

    Me neither. This will make me seem like an old fogey but I was just comparing all the electronic games with what we used to do as kids like take a carboard box, flatten it and slide down a hill with dry grass (try it sometime, it's a hoot.) I'd take the box over any game.

    But the orriginal question was why don't more people ride or why do kids think those who do are poor, right? These are complex class issues.

    I think we're always asking here; why don't they ride?

    I have noticed where I live (the flats of Hayward) what I mostly see are bikes as cheap transportation and they have a look about them which says "I'd rather be in a car but here I am on a bike". Kids here may see bikes as the transport of the working poor. They don't want to be seen as that, even many kids bikes these days are designed to look more like a motorcycle.

    On the other hand they may see folks who bike as rich. Where is the jersey that says "I'm just a poor gal on a really really nice bike"?

    I've shared here how I stopped using my road bike to commute and take my GT hardtail. On the road bike I get a range of stares and sometimes outright hostility (elevator doors slammed instead of held that sort of thing), I'm seen as "other", "what are you doing here?" I think. On the GT because it's a MTB I'm less visible, look like one of them.

    I'm rambling a bit but I'm fascinated by the "class issues" around this. Is there a sociologist in the house?
    Last edited by Trek420; 01-28-2006 at 06:35 AM.
    Fancy Schmancy Custom Road bike ~ Mondonico Futura Legero
    Found on side of the road bike ~ Motobecane Mixte
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Trondheim, Norway
    Posts
    1,469
    Quote Originally Posted by Trek420
    happy birthday massbikebabe who wrote
    "2. Child abduction/abuse. I believe this has always been a part of our history however today the media is doing a marvelous job bringing it to our attention."
    Yep. I remember the time we were at the old Safeway across from Rosenbergs. This must have been just before your time, Trek. Big Brother needed to use the bathroom. Safeway didn't have one, so he walked across to Rosenbergs. When he still wasn't back half an hour later, Mom panicked. I remember riding around in the back of a squad car, mom in tears up front, when we finally found him ... at the news stand next door to the Safeway, reading comics. But the panic was real. Abductions really did happen.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trek420
    Is there a sociologist in the house?
    Ok. Ok. Yes, I admit it. I'm a sociologist. I don't know the sociology of biking in the US. But as it happens, I just read the home newspapers on the net and was shocked to discover something about the sociology of hiking in Norway -- it's racist! There are hikers out there who have written in letters-to-editors complaining that their experience of the great outdoors is spoiled if they encounter dark-skinned foreigners out there. I'm ashamed and shocked! Somehow the Nazi-poster images of nordicism have survived, linking mountains and sportiness with blondness. We've gotta put an end to that image-association! But back to biking in the US. Yes, it wouldn't surprise me if there were imagery-links for biking too. We know they exist for other sports: Soccer intellectual/football working class; volleyball academic/ basketball blue collar; figure skating feminine/hockey macho; and so on and so on. So sure, quality road bike = yuppie/rugged style bike = poor. In some people's imaginations. Again, it's an imagery we need to try to dismantle.
    Half-marathon over. Sabbatical year over. It's back to "sacking shirt and oat cakes" as they say here.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    189

    I think parents just don't take the time

    As a Mom of two boys (9 and 12) and I stay at home, I've seen the range. Right now my older son is off on a 10 mile hike with the Boy Scouts. My younger son is outside playing with neighbors. That seems to be the exception rather than the rule around here.

    My younger son has been begging me to let him ride his bike to school. We've been walking to school every day (again, exception not norm). So I finally got the paper (yes, the school requires paperwork in order for a child to ride to school!) and filled it out. Now he is riding (and I ride with him). Granted it's winter (but it's been mild), but his is the ONLY bike at the school.

    So here's what I see from my perspective. We are the exception in our neighborhood of those that walk or bike to school. The other Mom's all drive (and none carpool). Two other Moms walk regularly. Two others are sporadic in their walking. Realize, we all live within a few blocks of one another. I think it is just *easier* for them to hop in the car and go rather than walk or coordinate a carpool. Realize that it probably only takes us an extra 10 minutes to walk than it does for them to drive, due to traffic issues. (And biking is FASTER than driving because of traffic). So are we getting more lazy as a society, I think yes. Do we look for the quick solution, yes. Is this the best solution, no.

    Sometimes I think the neighbors look at me funny and wonder why I let my son walk/ride to school and walk our dog alone in our neighborhood. I do worry about him, and many times he has a walkie talkie with him on his walks. But I think he needs to be a boy, and go out and play and explore. He LOVES to be outside and would rather do that than play electronic games or watch TV. I just have to let go a bit and believe that most people in the world are good and that he has a guardian angel watching him. Lets face it, he could get hurt/snatched from school too, but no one seems to think twice about that.

    I remember playing outside until dark. Riding my bike to the store. Riding my bike to school. I also remember the man who stopped me and was doing lewd things and "asking" for directions. I just took off on a round-about route home and made sure he wasn't following me. I also was thinking of which neighbor's house I could dart into so he wouldn't know where I lived if he did try to follow me. So we have to let our kids grow up and face the world rather than hide from it. If others would follow along, then playing outside and riding bikes might become the norm again.

    My very long two cents worth!

    Cathy

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Marin County CA
    Posts
    5,936

    My kid can't ride to school

    My 9 year old walks to and from school frequently, but she can't ride her bike there. Why? We live up hill from school. Up a 12 - 16% grade! So no way am I letting her ride down that yet!!!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Benicia, CA
    Posts
    1,320
    Yes, our society is now wrapped in fear. Fear of attack from everywhere. For childern that live in the "flatlands" and can safely ride to school but don't- I'll bet some of it is from parental fear.

    If one does a check of abductions, it is a very very small number. BUT the media makes such a big deal, (remember the media often focuses on the negative, not the positive) that people think everyone is a suspect.

    Also as others have said here, more convenient for Mom to take kids to school.

    If I look at what happens to cyclists on the road, we too take many chances. Last year, for example, in No Cal 3 cyclists. in the space of about two weeks, were killed by drunk drivers in the daylight no less. Does that stop me from going out for fear that I am going to get run over? No. I take my chances, and I have my cell phone on.

    BTW did you know that some cells have a program whereby you can be in the GPS monitor when your phone is on?

    Thanks V. Good conversation to have!
    Last edited by Bike Goddess; 01-28-2006 at 10:17 AM.
    Nancy

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Middle Earth
    Posts
    3,997
    Quote Originally Posted by yellow
    I have pretty strong opinions about the physical fitness of kids today, but since I'm not a parent I really don't feel like I can spout them freely. I worry that a kid that grew up on XBox instead of building forts, riding bikes everywhere, and catching stickelbacks will be in control of my retirement accounts.
    Hey there Yellow, spout away.
    Being a parent doesnt qualify you to talk sense about kids
    Not being a parent doesnt mean you cant have valid thoughts on kids

    Did you know that here in NZ, thought of as an outdoorsy country, we have a higher incidence of kids with broken bones than ever before?

    And it is not because the kids are doing risky things... it has been attributed to two changes in ifestyle...

    One is diet... many children are eating adult "diet" diets and so have less fat, less iron and less calcium needed for strong bones and muscles

    The other is lifestyle... children spend more time playing PC games or chatting online and watching TV than ever before in conjunction with parents driving them to school and not letting them play at the park/outside unless a parent is there...

    Broken bones...


    Courage does not always roar. Sometimes, it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying,
    "I will try again tomorrow".


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Mrs. KnottedYet
    Posts
    9,146
    maillotpois "We live up hill from school. Up a 12 - 16% grade! So no way am I letting her ride down that yet!!! "

    But just think if she could ride UP it?
    Fancy Schmancy Custom Road bike ~ Mondonico Futura Legero
    Found on side of the road bike ~ Motobecane Mixte
    Gravel bike ~ Salsa Vaya
    Favorite bike ~ Soma Buena Vista mixte
    N+1 bike ~ Brompton
    https://www.instagram.com/pugsley_adventuredog/

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    508
    V - great thread.
    There have been several studies about outdoor play in the city. Inner city kids in impoverished neighborhoods have significantly reduced outdoor play time. Mothers report they are afraid that their child will get hurt. By which they mean shot, beaten, robbed, raped, killed etc. The studies correlated high crime areas with low outdoor activity. That's really sad. But I can hardly blame those parents.

    As for the rest? I don't understand it. I live in a nice upscale suburb and the only times kids play with other kids is when it is pre-arranged as a "play date". God forbid your kid shows up with a basketball or something at someone's house unannounced. I would love it if kids did it but there is some unwritten law that it is not allowed. But at least I work hard to make sure my kids have lots of "play dates".

    I work in a blue collar city. Obesity is rampant. I'm talking 280 lb 18 year old girls. Yet parent after parent admits to me that there is a TV in the kid's room, plus the gameboy and computer games. And that's all he does after school. I could go on and on.

    My personal goal is to increase breast feeding. Besides obesity (which breastfeeding reduces significantly) the city where I work has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country. With blacks having a rate 3 times as high as whites. There was a national study published this month measuring childhood health in the USA. The "deep south" (NC, SC, AL, Miss, Louisiana, Ark, Tenn) scored more than one standard deviation below the rest of the country. Meanwhile, the response mothers give me when I ask why they aren't breastfeeding? "It's yucky." Breastfeeding alone reduces infant mortality in the USA (not some 3rd world country) by 22% !!! Aaaargh.

    OK I degressed. If there is anyone out there who wants to talk breastfeeding, look me up!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Asheville, NC
    Posts
    680
    We too were just discussing...

    i was not breastfed only because i came out sick...my Mom wanted to! so she did the next best thing...bought the freshest veggies, chicken, etc...and pureed them herself. i guess it worked because i am healthy (a rare stat i suppose?) my best friend treats her breast milk better than gold and who could blame her?

    i also was fortunate enough to grow up on a military base (not that bad things do not go on there) but it seems that "neighborly" closeness is more abundant in that environment. my heart goes out to kids who don't experience that kind of freedom...
    not too long ago was a story on the news...a bus driver forced a 4 year old off her bus in a strange neighborhood cause he got on the wrong bus. the kids older brother recognized him and took him home WHAT WAS SHE THINKING????

    one more recent thing i have been dealing with is the ridicule i have been given because i say i want to commute to work by BICYCLE EGADS...what am i thinking????? a typical ride is 40-60 miles (not lately unfortunately) on flat land...now i am thinking 13 miles isn't so bad (20 on beautiful days going the long way) in the hills. when we mountain bike it is usually about 20 miles...so why is 13 miles such an issue, but even more-so, why do i get so angry when people scough at my intentions? I may not be able to do it everyday right away but after a while i figure it will get easier and easier. why is it we feel so enslaved by our cars? my bosses think we are nuts for considering only owning one car (2 people, one works from home, the other plans to commute by bicycle for the most part and no kids) why is that so crazy

    i ask...when did it happen? what generation was it? that decided riding a bike or walking somewhere was such a crazy idea? i see people DRIVING all the way to the mall to WALK CIRCLES...

    i am babbling now...so i will just say one last thing...i am glad to hear there are people out there that are not just sitting back complaining, they are filling out the paperwork and riding alongside so their kid can experience to joy of riding his/her bike to school...and there are parents out there that are not completely overwhelmed with overprotectiveness that they let their kids go out and play...thank you! I hope it is contagious!!!
    I am a nobody; nobody is perfect, and therefore I am perfect.

 

 

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