On a conversation with my sister

So when I went to London to run the marathon, I stayed with my sister, who lives near London with her husband and children, who are 6 and 3 years old. I was asking if the three-year-old had a bike, and my sister said that he does, but he doesn’t use it much, and anyway it is a bit difficult for them to cycle as a family as there’s nowhere for them to go. The roads round their house are fairly quiet, but there are parked cars on them, of course. My sister then surprised me by saying that she would quite like to cycle to work, which is about 8 miles away, at least sometimes, but trying to get her children to school and nursery and then herself on to work by bike just isn’t going to happen. And although part of her ride to work would be on what is the old road between the two towns (and I think it is a really old road, I think the Romans built it…) which now has a bypass and so is quiet, when she gets to the town where she works she then gets into heavy traffic which she wouldn’t fancy cycling in – that bit would be much quicker by bike, of course, if she felt confident enough to use one. But if there were cycle lanes…

All this surprised me because although I’ve slowly been getting into all this stuff about cycling infrastructure and cycling as transportation, I didn’t expect my sister to think like that. But she does. Is the time coming when she’ll be able to let her children cycle to school, and combine keeping fit with travelling to work, or will they all be trapped in having to run two cars because “that’s the only way to get around”?

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