John T, a biking friend of mine, got in touch last week to tell me he’s back on the bike. He’s trying to build up his leg strength and cardio fitness after not riding all winter. Winters being as mild as they are in Austin, I was surprised to hear this from him, but he said he got tied up attending to his two elementary school-aged boys.
“I wonder how many folks with elementary-aged kids ride regularly — consistently,” he asked. “There always seems to be something else I need to do.”
That’s something I haven’t considered. My wife and I have been empty-nesters for almost 20 years now, and we can pretty much come and go as we please. John T thinks people in my age group are best suited to ride recreationally.
“It may be just me, but most cyclists that I talk to or meet on the road or Veloway don’t have kids or they are older,” he said.
My circle of cycling acquaintances is mostly limited to the members of my club, and John may be on to something there. We do skew a bit older, with most people having grown children who no longer live at home. I envy some of the retired members who have regular group rides on weekday mornings.
A few who do always seem to struggle to juggle their biking routines with baby-sitting routines. One member is close to my age bracket, but adopted several years ago, and so has to deal with the kinds of scheduling demands that affect people 20 years her junior. Sometimes, she cuts a Sunday club ride short, in order to get home and relieve the sitter. Other times, she bows out of the club ride altogether, because she’s unable to come up with a sitter.
Another newer member of the club is a single woman with an 11-year-old at home. She turns out for the Sunday club ride regularly, but if we go a little longer than usual, gets antsy. She has no problem with him being on his own during the morning, but she wants to minimize that.
Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, has been in the news lately because of her book, “Lean In,” about women in the workplace. One of her comments that’s getting attention is her assertion that there is no such thing as life-work balance, especially when the working woman is also caring for children.
Of less import, perhaps, but one that concerns us all, is whether we can find life-bike balance. Is it possible to make time for biking amid all the other distractions and demands of our daily lives?
Let me know what you think. How’s it all working out for you?