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Bettijane Burger: Where it's flat, pretty and safe

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Ah, biking in Kanawha City: lush trees, flowers, birds, flat blocks along the river and little traffic.

I prefer biking to walking because I can go farther and faster. Biking has eliminated the popping sound and sharp pains in my knees. My blood pressure is 102/65 and I've gone off statins. My calves are tough and my jodhpur thighs are finally going.

Here are some guidelines for safe biking:

  • Drink water before and after biking.
  • Always wear a helmet. I still see children riding without a helmet, which is against the law.
  • Wear sunglasses, sunscreen or lip balm.
  • Bike on the right side of the road (walkers should face traffic). I still see the opposite.
  • Put a mirror and bell on the bike. I added a padded seat, address label and basket. Some add flashing lights.
  • Enjoy the scenery. Some of the spandex gang is so heads down, but I know they're working on speed. They have 10 speeds. I have one -- me.
  • Be alert for cars, especially when coming out of alleys.
  • Several months ago at a four-way stop intersection, a car turned left, way into my lane, and knocked me into the grass. The driver was not wearing sunglasses and was shielding her eyes. Luckily, I only sustained a few bruises. Kudos to Charleston Bike Shop, which does not charge labor for accidents. The shaken driver paid for the modest repair and I was good to go.

  • Vary your route. While Kanawha Avenue is the prettiest in Charleston, Lancaster Avenue has a nice woodsy feel. Alleys are fun for checking out gardens and decks.
  • If you are wearing earrings, wear the kind with backs in them. I lost one on a bump last year.
  • Biking and walking with earphones is dangerous. I saw a father and daughter biking without helmets -- and he was checking his iPhone!
  • Recently, a fellow senior citizen passed me three times, so I'm not breaking any records. But that's not my purpose. I see the groundhogs and the irises.

    I want to dance at my granddaughter's wedding.

    Bettijane Burger, a retired teacher, lives in Kanawha City.


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