Spring comes slowly to Michigan, I’m learning, and then suddenly it is HERE! I can officially say spring has sprung. Of course there's been signs. The sounds of lawns being mowed, the return of flying bugs, all that once was green is green again. Mostly, though, it's the people. I'm no longer feeling lonely on my commute.
The surest sign of spring is the return of my fellow Michiganders. They were an elusive bunch this winter. Through the cold months, it was just us stalwarts on our bikes. Sometimes only tracks left in the snow would let me know I was not alone out there. There was the middle school kid I’d often meet at the intersection as he headed south to school and I rode north to work, but they were my only sure bet for non-motorized contact. Now, I’m beginning to see more and more people on my route to or from work who must also be commuters. I meet a woman with rear orange panniers at the corner, and a man who rides an electric assist cycle whizzes past me on his way downtown. Riders in spandex suits are also easier to spot lately. And of course, pedestrian traffic has also increased. The early morning walkers, retirees who live in the condo community I pass, are back again. A dad and his son walk their dog together before school. The librarian walking towards her bus stop. At the end of the day, an older woman walks briskly along the multi-use trail past the golf course, carrying a plastic bag and picking up trash.
I’m sure that there are people in cars who pass me daily as well, and if I paid more attention to them, I might recognize cars and drivers over time. I wonder how many recognize me as we dance down Fuller Road. I pass them as they wait their turn, they pass me once the traffic eases. Last week, I came across Jason Gay’s column in the Washington Post. In it, he suggests that bikers, pedestrians and drivers should try to love one another, or at least empathize with one another. It's my new spring motto. I shall smile and wave more, especially to all those cyclists who have returned to join me. Welcome spring and happy riding!