Why I Ride

Every school morning, I buckle my helmet, push down my right pedal and I am on my way to Newton North High School. For the first several minutes of my ride I admire the sunrise, a pastel of purple, pink and orange painted in the sky. I admire the blossoming trees and the little buds filled with new life. I admire the people waiting at the bus stop on their way to work and the parent wrestling to buckle their child into the car-seat. Once I hit West Newton Square, however, I need to focus. With six different roads all merging onto Washington Street and no protection for bikers, I need to be fully alert, paying attention to the dance of drivers, pedestrians, and other bikers. Once I weave myself through the chaos, I cruise down Washington Street. While the street has much less to admire with potholes left and right, cars speeding on my left and the Pike to my right, I can see all the minute details. Avoiding the potholes is now my own personal choreographed dance. Each newly paved pothole is an exciting surprise. I have seen cars from Texas and Michigan and wondered what on earth they were doing in Newton during rush hour traffic.

When I bike, I am present in the moment. I am surrounded by so many sounds, smells, and sights that I must be fully engaged. I can’t worry about an upcoming test or any current events because my mind is busy being concerned about the noise of the car behind me or the person yelling “Dina!” from a passing car.

Biking to school has allowed me to fully appreciate my world. When I get a ride to school, I rarely look out the window; I am usually in my own world. I don’t have a driver’s license or the money for my own car, so biking has become my transportation. I love biking not only for its standard reasons -- biking is good for me and for the environment -- but also for what it has given me: freedom, independence and the ability to really and truly see my world.