As the world continues to work through the covid-19 pandemic, there has been a lot of discussion about implementing aspects of sustainability into the recovery efforts and the long-term effects of the changes to how we live. Personally, as I sat at home during the lockdown months, I made a lot of eye contact with my bike sitting unused on my patio. Like many people with a bike on their patio or garage, I had always meant to fix it and start riding but just never did.
The long story short of why I don’t already bike in the city- Dallas is really into biking as leisure and not at all into biking as a form of transportation. When I looked into riding my bike downtown to my old workplace, I quickly scrapped the idea. Driving downtown was nerve-wracking enough; I couldn’t imagine trying to wiggle my way through car lanes safely without a designated lane. The Dallas Observer put out an article on the state of biking in Dallas earlier this year for anyone interested. It’s not looking too pretty.
Then entered the covid-19 pandemic. Come mid-April, bikes were flying off the shelves. During lockdown, people were looking for new ways to spend their time and biking was an easy and immediate (if you had the money) way to do this. The vast majority of people bought bikes just to get out of the house. While many people will just ride around White Rock or down Katy Trail, the sudden surge in interest toward biking has me hoping the pro-bike mentality will stick in other, long-term ways. People who live close enough might start to rethink their daily commute to include a bike and give the city a push for more bike facilities.
The pandemic has changed a lot of things for a lot of people. One of those is public transportation and the risks now associated with it. When the Texas Medical Association released their Risk Chart for specific activities, riding public transportation wasn’t included on it. Traveling by plane is a moderate-high risk; presumably, traveling by bus, train, or tram would be a moderate risk since you spend less time on those modes of transit. When I imagined taking the bus I usually take to SMU’s campus I immediately shook my head. The 25 minute ride was usually packed tight with other students and no amount of social distancing would make me comfortable enough to ride in the near future.
So, with the new covid-19 world making me second guess my preferred choice of public transportation, I am working on shifting gears to cycling. I’m cautiously optimistic that others may do the same, though their bikes may just end up on the patio like mine did. But I’m certain it will be worth it for my own personal enjoyment, for non-reliance on my fuel car, for my health, and for exercise. All that to say . . .
Catch me riding (carefully) down Greenville Ave. this fall.
Emily Roberts | firstname.lastname@example.org
Come talk to me about public transit and housing!