Lessons in Bike Riding

Categories: Well-being

“Actually, now you’ve got me thinking”
My unexpected lesson in getting a non-cyclist to ride

By Kelly Morphy, Winter Garden resident and Community Engagement Manager for Love to Ride Florida

I set out this week to learn how best to encourage a non-rider or infrequent cyclist to get on a bike.

“Hey, Mom, do you have a minute to chat?” I asked by phone. “I want to know what I can do to get you to go for a bike ride this afternoon.”

Mom: Somehow cancel all the work. QuickBooks, yard work, housework.

Completely human, normal reasons to balk at bicycling, totally understandable.

“How about tomorrow morning?”

Mom: An aching hip, a flat tire, a busy intersection to cross.

Completely human, again, especially at 72 years old.

Gear shift: “Mom, I want to know about your childhood. Did you ride a bike?”

When she was about 10, my mom shared (and now with a little more enthusiasm), she lived in a very rural area. There weren’t sidewalks and her ‘neighborhood’ friends were more than a mile away. “We could walk,” she said, “but biking was faster.”

She was given an adult-sized bike, “And there was no practicing. We just started riding bikes to get to our friends’ houses. It was hilly – no flat stretch – just up or down. There wasn’t much traffic, so we biked in the road. My brothers had paper routes and delivered their papers by bike, too.”

(#TBT. I hadn’t heard the phrase “paper route” in years.)

My mom went on to say that she didn’t worry about her bike being stolen back then, but if she was to ride now, she feels she’d have more concerns. Nonetheless, she said bicycling is better for the environment and better for physical health than driving everywhere. She talked about how she might be able to ride to the store that’s a few blocks away if she gave it a shot.

“Actually, now you’ve got me thinking: do you want to schedule a bike ride together? I’d like to see how my hip feels, whether biking will aggravate it or make it better.”

Guest blogger Kelly Morphy and her mom, Vera Hogan, live ten minutes from each other in Winter Garden, Fla. They are planning a bike ride together for the first time in decades, prompted by the Love to Ride Florida challenge.


I’m going to load my bikes and helmets Saturday morning, pick her up and head to the West Orange Trail. The ride will be short: I’m rehabbing a bad ankle, and it will be her first ride on two wheels in years … no, decades.  We will sign her in at www.lovetoride.net/florida to log her ride.

Nice and easy, we will go, with her perhaps reminiscing about biking as a kid and me most certainly cherishing biking with my mom as an adult.

I’ll also take the time to reflect on what happened during that phone call with her:

I’d set out to learn what I could say to entice a non-cyclist to hop on a bike. What I learned is that sometimes, you need to just LISTEN.

New to cycling or not a frequent rider? Enroll in the free Love to Ride Florida challenge, log a ride by Nov. 15, and be entered to win one of three prize packs. See the box above for a link to tips for people new to cycling.

Bike rentals are available at commercial locations throughout Florida, with costs as low as $8 for an hour or $30 for a day.

Please take five minutes to register online at www.LoveToRide.net/Florida. Also, add your company to the list of organizations participating, invite your colleagues and friends to take part, and consider creating or joining a group. Then, log your rides, get others cycling and have fun with it.

Thanks in part to organizations like Healthy West Orange and its partners, we now have more safe and comfortable places to ride bikes in western Orange County than ever before. Let’s get out there and ride, not only for our own health and to win prizes, but most importantly to contribute to a more bikeable future.

Winter Garden resident Vera Hogan, 72, test-rode a trike in 2018. She will ride on two wheels this weekend for the first time since she was young.

Blog author Kelly Morphy is an advocate based in Winter Garden who has helped redesign streets to be more people-friendly, including the newly built modern roundabout at Roberson Rd. and Windermere Rd. where her kids and other schoolchildren ride. Kelly is serving as community-engagement manager for the Love to Ride Florida Challenge.

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