My 13-year-old daughter and I have changed our daily routines this fall. I'm not riding to work, and she's riding most every day, even if it is just a short, one-way trip.
School boundaries changed for this year and she would have had to move to a new middle school unless we got her a zone exemption, which means no bus transportation from our area. Mom leaves early, so I drive Hannah to a nearby neighborhood where she catches the bus each morning. We usually stash her bike in her best friend's garage so she can ride it home in the afternoon.
Now that the streets are icing up, she's talking about wanting studded tires so she won't have to endure walking home while Mom and Dad are still at work.
As we were driving across town one night last week, she told me that kids at school had pronounced her "weird." When I asked why, she explained that they were shocked to hear she was still using a bicycle for transportation weeks after their bikes started collecting dust in garages. I wasn't worried because I could tell the "weird" label had been applied in a fun way, but I asked how it made her feel.
"Kind of strange, I guess," she replied.
"But maybe a little proud, in an odd way?" I asked.
A big grin spread across her face as she said, "Yeah."
That's my girl.