Wednesday, 14 May 2014

The Way It's Meant To Be

This week, a friend of mine found out she had to go to the hospital for surgery and observation due to some health troubles she's been dealing with. It was very sudden and unexpected, and while I'm happy to say she's home and resting now, the news did cause me reflect on my own health and that of my family, and subsequently about the time I get to spend with them. All this happened simultaneously with Mother's Day and the past few warm, sunny days when we can't help but make the most of our evenings as a family. The idea of quality time with my family is nothing new, but this week is one of those times when I am reminded what is truly important in life - spending time with my family and our quality of life.

Riding along with my son, the ever inspiring five year
old who rode 27kms that day
On Mother's Day, my family treated me to a day of rest which included a slow ride out to Jericho Beach. While we were cruising along the seawall, I was reminded by my husband that this is the first time we have ridden out to the beach since our trip to California. Unbelievable! The local beaches are one of the main reasons I love this city, finding the beaches extremely calming and my own special brand of therapy. So I was obviously very excited to make the trip. What I didn't expect was the transformation on the Point Grey Road bikeway. We turned a corner and it was like another world, and nothing could so succinctly reinforce my point about quality family time than the sights that day.

As we approached the upgraded road, I had only memories of a stress and panic filled ride with my kids done just once before, when they were still being towed by my husband and I. Being forced to ride on the sidewalk so as to not have to rub shoulder with the fast moving cars passing on a narrow road. What I was greeted with, instead, was people, and lots of them. The sidewalks were teeming with people of all ages, out to walk their dog or a stroll with their mother on her special day. The bikeway was filled with families out cycling on a beautiful, sunny Vancouver day. All I could think is that this is the way it's meant to be - people of all ages out together enjoying a walk or bike ride without having to worry about speeding traffic, and truly experiencing the high quality of life Vancouver is supposed to be known for.
Riding along the new Point Grey Road. What could possibly be wrong
with creating more environments like this?
So comfortable, my daughter
will happily hold hands with her
dad while we're out for a ride.

Being the "Velo Family", I can sometimes take for granted how lucky I am to be able to spend so much quality time with my husband and children. Although Vancouver is far from perfect, with much more in terms of bikeable streets still to be realized (ahem, Commercial Drive), the bike routes that do exist allow me to not only get from point A to B relatively quickly and easily, it also affords me quality time with my kids. Life is so insanely busy, rushing from school to work to programs and everything in between, I sometime have to remind myself to cherish the moments riding next to my kids or holding hands with my husband.

Chris and our daughter riding on the separated portion of Pt Grey Road
Bikes and the pathways proposed to make it easier for them to travel through the city continue to be a controversial topic in Vancouver and cities around North America and beyond. Arguments range from loss of parking, increased commute times, and minor inconveniences to a regular routine. Perhaps if the focus for proponents of improved bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure focus more on the positive outcomes, it will help those who don't understand why a separated bike lane or wider sidewalk is necessary see the bigger picture. What I saw on Sunday, the number of families venturing out to enjoy time together outside of a car, is such positive imagery that has stuck with me, even three days later. It gave me such hope for the future of multi-modal transportation. 

We all know that quality time spent with the ones you love is what's most important in life, and should be enjoyed whenever possible. Providing people the means to do that safely is a hard concept to argue with. As has been proven time and again in this city, if the average citizen is given the infrastructure they need, they are more likely to leave their cars at home and travel throughout this city with their family and friends by other means. I know that we are not alone in this city as a family that rides, but I am hopeful that as time goes by, the Velo Family will be just like everyone else, instead of one of the few - enjoying each and every moment with our families, as it should be.
Another very happy Mother's Day with my children!

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness!! Just saw this via Momentum on FB. I do a Mother's day ride every year!!! It's my favorite thing!!