The Online Voice of the Bicycle Alliance of Washington

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I Bike: Hannah and Sophia Carpenter

Sisters Hannah (14, freshman in High School) and Sophie (12, 6th grade) Carpenter are independent travelers encouraged by their parents to bike wherever they need to go. They aren’t reliant on an adult to drive them around town.

When Sophie sold her handmade jewelry at the Farmer's Market last summer, she pedaled her supplies to the market on her own, and even combined bike and bus to participate in the Wednesday Fairhaven Market. Their mother couldn’t be prouder, remarking that the girls’ bikes gave them freedom and a much more fun-filled summer than they would have had sans bikes.

“Since I work full time I’m not home to drive them to the library, a friend’s house or to the market. Having them ride is the perfect solution. We sat down and figured out a safe route to get downtown and they’ve been biking it regularly. They are confident cyclists and really enjoy the independence the bike gives them,” stated proud Mom.

Both sisters started biking on their own in 3rd grade and now they bike everywhere – downtown, to the library, friends’ houses, to school, to volunteer or to babysit.

Hannah likes that she doesn’t need to rely on an adult for a ride, but at the same time dislikes that she’s expected to bike everywhere. Sophie said she likes going fast and riding by herself, however tackling big hills like Barkley Boulevard rank low on her list of likes. (For those of you that know the area, Barkley is a BIG hill -- way to go Sophie! I haven’t even attempted that one!)

Sophie’s earliest memory of biking involves playing Sophia LaWow and the Green Ball of Terror. “My mom and sister bounced a green ball back and forth and I rode across between them. My mom would talk like a circus announcer like I was doing a big trick,” explained Sophie. Hannah remembers “going down the sidewalk by the elementary school and having to wait forever for my Mom and little sister to catch up. They were so slow!!!”

Both girls are quick to offer advice to other kids who want to bike more. Hannah encourages kids to “convince your parents the world is not a scary place and it’s OK to bike.”  Sophie advised to “ know where you are going and wear warm clothing”.

I love meeting kids like Hannah and Sophie, I know that their experience biking as kids is going to positively impact their adult lives. Even if they do grow up and make most of their trips by car, at least they have the experience of biking, which will make them better drivers. Plus, they will be more likely to allow their own kids to bike around town. The cycle will continue with each generation.

Tell us your story!  I Bike is a project of the Bicycle Alliance of Washington to put a personal face on bicycling when we talk to elected officials and the public.  Contact Louise McGrody if you'd like to share your I Bike story.

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