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Quality of Life Can Mean Pedaling For Life

Medical patients, bicycles, bicycle paths, exercise – all share a common thread…like a slow deep breath of sweet, life-sustaining air. Quality of Life makes life worth living.
Quality of life means different things to different people, a loved bed ridden patient and a physically active patient can and do share a quality of life.

The grandmother of my best friend in grade school was bedridden and lived with the family I spent much of my non-school time with. Mrs. O was a complete and treasured member of the family. The oxygen tanks were set up in her room and she entertained visitors – us, many times throughout the day as we ran in to tell her about the latest horse fall or dog and piglet tale. She always had time for us. Sometimes the doctor was there and we could not visit, but most of the time, she was our person to visit throughout the day and evening.
Mrs. O was always busy with her hands mostly working on the latest crocheted doily. She was a cherished and vital member of that family and I still have a doily she gave me all those years ago. To be fair and complete the picture, Mrs. O’s daughter-in-law was a stay at home mom and they also had other assistance many families do not have today.

Mrs. O was unable to get out of bed in those days, but she would have rejoiced with the folks who live in Portland that Portland’s bike plan was approved when the “Portland City Council unanimously approved the $600 million 2030 Portland Bicycle Plan yesterday. A major goal of the plan is to have 25% of all trips in the city be by bike by the year 2030. A highlight of the plan includes adding 700 miles to Portland’s already extensive bikeways network.”
The point is people flock to areas that cater to our human need to move, to exercise for quality of life – outside a gym.

We spend millions of dollars on hospitalizations and medical care that might well be avoided if we placed more emphasis on keeping patients moving and educated, not shoving them into wheelchairs and scooters, but getting them into rehab and teaching them how they can best help themselves into a quality of life.

My favorite way of transportation and exercising for fun is the recumbent trike. Unfortunately, Kitsap County is notorious for its dangerous roadways for bike riders and does not have a very bike user-friendly reputation.
Bainbridge Island is the one Kitsap County exception where the voters are health conscious and knowledgeable enough to know that the dollars they put into bike paths (and schools) today will save them an untold amount of otherwise spent health cost dollars tomorrow.

I am working hard in physical therapy to work around my bone on bone hip and rebuild muscle to get me back on my trike and riding. I have a bike trip to make this year and I hope the route I am taking is a bike friendly one.

Congratulations to Portland’s health conscious voters and city council – may your wisdom rub off on us here in Kitsap County.
http://www.ecovelo.info/2010/02/12/portland-bike-plan-approved/

More later… Sharon O’Hara

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