Wow! What a fantastic opportunity for a girl who loves bikes and loves to ride. I was one of those lucky kids, riding my bike all over the place. I rode to school, to friends’ houses, the store; I even had a paper route. Riding a bike back in the ’70s was just part of being a kid. I didn’t consider myself a “cyclist,” I was just a kid on a bike.

That’s how lucky I was. Nowadays, many kids are not allowed to ride to school and often for good reason; have you seen all the cars and SUVs clogging up our streets when parents are dropping off and picking up their kids from school? It can be dangerous out there. We really need to start thinking outside of the box, and I’m talking about the four-wheeled box of course.

It’s time to take a breath and start working on changing the way we do transportation in Sonoma County. If you live too far to walk or bike with your child to school and you normally drive, try parking a couple of blocks away and walking the rest of the distance. Then the next week park a couple more blocks away. This could become quality time you get to spend with your child.

Like I said, I was a pretty lucky kid. I got to ride my bike everywhere. Now as an adult, I still ride my bike everywhere. I even ride it to bike rides when possible. I want to put out a challenge to the cycling community. If you consider yourself a cyclist you hopefully know the rules of the road, and you are probably pretty comfortable riding in traffic, we need you to start riding to your rides. Start doing errands by bike. We need you on your bike every chance you get.

Livable communities have lots of folks riding bikes in their neighborhoods. Bicyclists, especially women, are like canaries in the coal mine; if no one rides, it is likely that it is an unhealthy neighborhood. But we have an advantage that the canary doesn’t have. We can increase the livability of our community by just getting more people to bike when they can. And you folks who consider yourselves cyclists, you are our best bet. You already know how to ride safely. So get out there and model good behavior, ride predictably and get your friends out of their cars and onto their bikes. Let’s ramp up the number of people riding bikes and we will all benefit!