Monday, August 24, 2009

Walking Through the Park and Reminiscing*

When you think back to your childhood, have you ever wondered how far it was to ride your bike to the public library, or your school? Or the mall, your friend's house or egads, Stan's Donuts? Well, thanks to Google Maps, you can figure it out (and please don't tell me that I'm the last person on earth to think of this).

What brought this up was a post by Katie J, where she wrote about walking in Central Park - the very same Central Park that I hung out in as a teenager. Our library was on the edge of the park, and I used to ride my bike there all the time - I would check out way too many books to carry home, and yet somehow I managed the 2 mile round trip. I biked all over town, and now I know that it was 1.5 miles each way to my high school, 2.5 miles to the mall, and a mile to Barbara's house. Nowhere was super far, but I probably rode at least 3 miles most days, usually more.

So apparently I got a lot of exercise when I was a teenager, even though I didn't think of bike riding as such back then. If I didn't bike somewhere, I usually walked. I don't think the concept of "Mom's Taxi" was around back then - at least it wasn't for me and my friends. If we wanted to go to each other's house, we got ourselves there. Luckily for us, our town was very pedestrian-friendly, with sidewalks everywhere, along with great bike lanes. Plus, the weather in Northern California was much more conducive to getting somewhere without ending up a sweaty mess, or worse yet, with heatstroke (hello, Texas!). And guess what? I was in pretty good shape, although in my later teenage years I didn't think so. For someone who tried very hard to avoid doing anything in P.E., I actually was exercising!

But I wonder - as I ride my five miles around my neighborhood in the evenings, getting my exercise - if I lived now in a town like the one I grew up in, would I ride my bike to the library? At this point in my journey to health and fitness, I'd like to think so. Maybe one of these days we'll move to a more pedestrian-friendly area and I'll get the chance to find out. In the meantime, I'm looking back and feeling pretty good about my activity level as a teenager now!



*Yeah, sorry about putting that song in your head!

24 comments:

  1. best line/musical part of the song. LOL!

    I remember my dad used to brag about walking 10 miles to school, barefoot, in the snow. Problem was, he grew up in Oklahoma in the Dust Bowl years. LOL!

    I'm still impressed with your bravery at biking. I wouldn't dare try. I know I'd break something. :)

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  2. Went biking the other day for the first time in a long time, it was a lot of fun. Great before and after pic!

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  3. OK, I am dim, how do you measure your mileage with Google Maps? I am so frustrated with how slow Map My Walk is, I am looking for a good alternative.

    Yeah, we walked miles as kids, probably 4 miles a day, to and from school alone and then we walked miles around school, then miles to and from friends after. We cycled a lot too and never considered it exercise, just fun!

    I think it would be great if more towns were pedestrian/cycle friendly. Something worth campaigning for, after all, it is better for the envirnment and better for everybody's health!

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  4. I was an uncoordinated child who lived on a rutted, gravel road. It took me far too long to learn how to ride a bike, I'm afraid. I think I will have to learn all over again when I finally decide on a bike purchase. The bad news is, I still live on a gravel road, far from town.

    Take good care of yourself today.

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  5. EAR WORM ALERT.

    yep.

    already singing it in my head :)

    Ive never ever ever (waitforit) been to central park!

    I need to rectify that before I turn 50.

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  6. Man, was I an active kid. I walked everywhere. I remember running all the way home from school! In college I didn't have a car, so I biked everywhere. Probably the best shape I've been in my life. Cicumstances...they change, don't they. Now, I walk for exercise, not to get anywhere.

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  7. I wasn't a bike rider, but I played tennis nearly every day during my high school years---I wasn't tiny, I was a size 10 and thought I was huge. Teen minds are warped!

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  8. When I do convince my lazy bum butt to go outside for a run, my favorite part is coming home and jumping on the laptop to map it out! I've only ever used map my run and didn't even know google did that too. Thanks for the tip!

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  9. Wow, this makes me think back to how I got around as a kid. I walked to and from elementary school everyday. Rode my bike *everywhere*, including the shopping center that was (according to google maps)a couple miles up the road.

    I want a real bike now!

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  10. I grew up on Army bases which were very pedestrian friendly. I walked everywhere, to school, the library, wherever I could get to. Unfortunately here in NC, it's not like that.

    But now think about all the time you spent jump roping as a kid, or swinging, that sort of thing. Believe it or not, that was exercise too! If we all would just keep playing. . .:)

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  11. You reminded me of how active I was as a kid too - walking and biking everywhere with friends in the summer and sledding and skating in the winter. Hmm..where did I get off track?

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  12. I love that song, it's OK!

    I thought I was really fat in highschool, and I was probably a size 8/10...I really didn't do much excercise AT ALL...I think I can honestly say this is the best shape I've ever been..(which is sort of sad)

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  13. The Two Kittehs have an award for you at our blog!! Check it out!

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  14. I agree - riding your bike and walking around growing up was just what you did - my parents both worked so I had to walk/ride my bike to get anywhere.

    I live in the "sticks" now, but if I lived in my old town, I'd like to think I would ride my bike again - I used to ride my bike to the train every day - even in winter if there wasn't snow!

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  15. We barely had cars back when I was a child.
    And yes, thanks for that song.
    It's better than the one my sister was tormenting me with from MamaMia.
    hahaha

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  16. Thanks for coming by and commenting on my blog! I have to admit that I am loving all the support people have been offering me since I started it. I love your before and after photos... you've obviously worked really hard to get to where you are today!

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  17. This is my favorite post ever. And yes, that song immediately was in my head when I saw the headline.

    I once rode my bike 11 miles one way to a friends house. Hell, it only took 15 minutes to get there by car! I was 12. What can I say? I still can't estimate distance between my porch and the tree on the berm.

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  18. I'm late in commenting, (sorry) but I just wanted to chime in that I used to ride my bike and walk everywhere when I was younger. I wouldn't have thought to ask my Mom to drive me to the neighbors house.

    These days though, I have a fear of something happening to my children, so I take them where they need to go! We do play outside, etc. but they don't venture far from home on foot!

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  19. I, too, used to bike everywhere I went. Ahhh...the good ol' days. :)

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  20. Just noticed your June 2009 bike pic!! You look awesome!!! Wow! :)

    Ok.. onto your post, I agree.. when we were teens, it was just "life" to get in exercise, biking & walking here and there... I hated PE too! lol!! And sucked at most sports, but now I love getting in my exercise.. feel like a lump without my "daily dose"! lol!

    I think making activity part of your everyday life is the way to go... just "be"!

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  21. Cool I love doing that too, walking in the park and see lovers on the bench remembering my love life. lol Cheers, Erin

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  22. I had a little over a mile to walk to and from school as a grade schooler, and when I went to high school I would walk over a mile to the closest restaurant/food place to eat before practice. It's hard to believe now that I did that and was still so overweight...but considering what I was eating, it isn't a huge surprise!

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  23. I bike most places I go, unless it's within a mile and then I walk. I live in Northern CA. My dad in CO, in his 70s, does the same, except for the walking, that hurts too much. Bikes rule!

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  24. I love that song - glad you put it back in my head :)

    I think the same way re "everyday exercise" . . . living in NYC involves a lot of walking, and if I ever moved, I'd like to find another place where walking (and/or biking) is a workable means of everyday transportation.

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