Valentine to the Active Transportation Seekers

I see you run commuting, riding to the grocery store, and walking to places unknown purely under your own power. I observe your subtle acts of social change as I move through the city, and this year you inspired me to write you a valentine.

Active transportation seekers, you are changing the landscape and I love you for it. We are dominated by drivers and vehicles, and you choose a path that invites us to consider our environment differently. You move along at the same flow of rush hour traffic and by your very presence plant a seed that there is another choice.

This is an act of pragmatism, not of activism, you might be saying.

I argue it is both of these, and more. I recall my first forays into active transportation – the learning curve that comes with dialing in gear, commute times, and discerning traffic flow. Figuring out how to forge space in a city that still embraces motorized transport.

Active transportation isn’t always easy. In my experience, even when the active transportation routine settles into the norm, it never becomes easy. Simple maybe, easy no. Active transportation takes a can-do attitude that adapts to frequently changing circumstances.

You adopt new ways to anticipate drivers and investigate all route options available in hopes of the quietest safest path. Even then, some defensiveness is required, and the space for active transportation seekers runs narrow at best.

Weather presents its own challenges and discomforts. You know what I’m talking about – bone chilling cold, pouring rain perfectly timed for the commute home, and those days that offer headwind from all directions.

Weather also serendipitously rewards the active transportation seeker. These moments shower over our bodies as no glass or metal separates us from them, and reinforce our active transpo commitments.

Through good and bad, you persevere.

Thank you for being out there to transform the transportation profile one pedal stroke, one footstep at a time.

Happy Valentine’s Day, active transportation seekers. I hope we get even more people on bikes and two feet this year.


  1. Great post. Thank you. Wanted to pass along a post I saw on Reddit of a poster from “Cycle South Brum” and something labelled #LoveCyclingWM. The poster said:

    Hey you. Cyclist. You. What are you doing?! Cycling in winter? It’s raining. And it’s dark. And cold. And it might snow. And dayglo yellow is more than a confident colour. Are you an idiot? No. Of course you’re not.
    Amazing in fact. You’re a one person climate-improving machine. You’re turning up the endorphins and burning the calories to buzz your day. You’re inspiring others and making our city that little bit more fab. THANKS. Safe cycling


  2. This is a terrific post. For me, you hit a real nerve. Cycling to work (and home!) is the best part of my day, but it’s not easy. Rain and wind–I don’t know which is worse, but I love the power I get from cycling. Cycling is local and global and fun.


  3. Yep, saving the planet one journey at a time. “Active travel” as we say in the UK. BTW you might not know that Brum is Birmingham and its inhabitants are Brummies. I found before retiring that commutes are really affected by poor weather; it’s rained at worse for times a month so at two journeys a day that’s 10%. And that’s at worst. Often months with no rain!


      • Ian thanks for your comment, and no worries at all on the typos! I did not know that Brum meant Birmingham. Agree with you on commutes being extremely affected by weather. I will still do it, but it’s not my favorite. Where I work now is commute is also affected by events, like concerts or sports, and it can be a bit hectic because of that. Even so, the active commute is still my preferred mode. Like you say, those days are offset by the pleasant ones!


      • Ah no, I didn’t mean that at all! I meant that commuting is seldom affected by weather. I kept a log of the weather on my commute (wonderful country lanes with, it seemed to me, their own micro-climate) and it never stopped me riding. Now I’m retired, I’m a softie – the least bit of rain and I think, “I’ll go later.” When commuting it was just a minute to put on waterproofs. Of course, I live in a temperate climate in the UK; a continental climate must be quite different for commuting.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s true, the commute is ride on whatever the day sends your way. Still… I will never be a fan of a rainy bike ride 🙂


  4. Another interesting read MG. Sadly here in Eastbourne in the UK which has recently been reported as being a town with high pollution levels as cyclists we are struggling to get specific cycling routes created. There are a few groups of people fighting this but if our local council would sign on to it it would make things so much easier. Still we,ll keep on fighting as we know cycling running walking is both beneficial to the person doing it and the environment.


    • Good luck with implementing these changes. I was amazed by how many more people took up cycling as DC successfully put on more interconnected bike lanes and routes. Still not perfect but definitely better than when I first began cycling here.


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