After 30 Years, My First Bike Ride to School

05 Aug

I had been back in town for my high school reunion less than 24 hours and suddenly I felt like a teenager again. “Mom, Dad, can I borrow Mom’s bike and ride to school today?” I asked gingerly. I had good reason to expect them to say “no”. The only road that connects my parent’s subdivision to the rest of town is Perkins Road, a busy, 45 mph highway with no shoulder. I had never ridden a bike to school, or anywhere else useful.

But I had learned from the Baton Rouge Advocates for Safe Streets that a developer had cut a path through the pasture that separates my parents’ 1950s-1970s subdivision from the older neighborhoods built before cars were king. Dad and I had ridden the path the day before, so they knew I wouldn’t have to ride Perkins Road.

My parents said “yes” and I breathed a sigh of relief. Then came the questions: “What route will you take? You won’t take the Perkins Overpass, will you? Can you walk underneath it instead?” Fortunately, I had already plotted out the full 5 mile route using Google maps and streetviews so I was prepared. They seemed satisfied, but I rushed to pack up and roll out before they changed their minds, just like when I was a kid.

The route was easier and more pleasant than expected. I arrived in time for the school tour and was only a little sweaty. It helps when you ride slowly to see the sights and stop to take far too many pictures. But what can I say, I love Baton Rouge. And I’m grateful to finally enjoy it from the seat of a bike.

Were you able to ride a bike or walk to school as a kid? Would you let your kids do it today?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For people interested in touring the Southside and Garden District neighborhoods in Baton Rouge, here’s an annotated map of my route. You can also click on this image to get a higher resolution image of this map.


Posted by on August 5, 2012 in Around Town, Travel


14 responses to “After 30 Years, My First Bike Ride to School

  1. Lorri Lee Lown -- Savvy Bike

    August 5, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    This was awesome! I grew up riding although never really to school (walked to elementary and HS and bussed to JHS). But I rode EVERYWHERE for transportation right through college. Funny, but I don’t remember much about riding there even though I know I did. In 2005, I went back and toured my state by bike and it was such a great way to create new memories.

    • ladyfleur

      August 5, 2012 at 9:11 pm

      Thanks, Lorri. I took the bus to school, even in high school when the cool kids drove. There was no getting out of the neighborhood without a motor vehicle. Our neighborhood wasn’t that small, it had a 2 mile circumference but it bothered me that I couldn’t get anywhere.

      If this route had been available, I could have ridden to elementary school (1.5 miles), high school (4.5 miles) and college (4 miles). I don’t know if my parents would have let me do the first two, but I know they would have let me ride to college, especially since I had to share a car with my siblings.

  2. La Tefy

    August 5, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Hi, I am not sure we knew each other in high school, I just wanted you to know how very cool your virtual bike tour thru BR is! I thoroughly enjoyed it! Thanks for the energy you invested.
    La Tefy ( Class of 81, but graduated with class of ’80).

  3. Robin

    August 5, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    I really enjoyed your post about your ride to BRHS! I was so impressed to see you ride up to the school that morning. Great to see you again and hopefully we can have some kind of California reunion in the future!!
    Go Bulldogs!

    • ladyfleur

      August 5, 2012 at 10:04 pm

      Go Bulldogs! The ride was the easy part. Asking my parents was the hard part. Seriously, in the time in took you and Laura to walk the 9/10 mile to the bus stop on Perkins Road, you could have been halfway to school. If you can’t tell by the photos, I had a great time cruising through the Garden District. So pretty it made me think about moving back home for the first time in 26 years. 🙂

      I definitely need to get back down to San Diego. Let me know if you get a job with TheatreWorks.

  4. frank8265

    August 5, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    I used to ride my bike to school on a daily basis. Aprox. 16 miles every day. Mostly with a group of “youngsters” to get the most fun out of the ride. When i went to a higher education, the first year i rode my bike when the weather was fine (93 miles v.v.) but after the first year i rented a small apartment over there.

    If i had childeren, i would certainly let them ride their bicycle to school. If only to show / teach them there are other (better?) options than a car.

    • ladyfleur

      August 5, 2012 at 10:27 pm

      16 miles per day is a long way, you must have enjoyed hanging out with your friends.

      The commute I had to my previous job in Palo Alto passed 4-5 schools. Unlike most California cities there are a significant number of kids who ride to school. My favorite were the middle school boys (11-13 years old) who would travel in packs. I bet you and your friends looked just like them.

  5. Rachel Unger

    August 6, 2012 at 10:13 am

    I would be eating every breakfast in that gazebo on the lake. I would make excuses to do things out there. How marvelous. 🙂

    • ladyfleur

      August 6, 2012 at 5:52 pm

      It’s very cute except when the mosquitos, snakes and alligators decide its a great place for breakfast too.


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