Buffalove Challenge: Week 1, The UB Bike Path

Melody Warnick’s book that inspired our Buffalove challenge contains a chapter titled “Lace Up Your Sneakers.” It explains that one of the top ten behaviors of people who love where they live is that they walk places. A city or town’s “walk score” indicates how walkable it is. Are there things I like to do within a ten minute walk? Can I do any of my errands on foot without having to walk more than ten minutes? Our street has a very low walk score: 17. “Almost all errands are car dependent.” But we do have the benefit of being a short driving distance from places that are pleasant to walk! That counts for something, right? Since Nathanael and I both like to do outdoorsy things, that’s a plus for us. Another chapter is “Commune with Nature,” which shows that simply being outside more and learning to appreciate the beauty your town offers makes you feel more attached to it. During our first week of Nathanael’s parental leave, we completed our Buffalove challenge by getting out and getting some exercises on a positively gorgeous afternoon.

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Photo Credit Micah Shumway

Just a short drive from our house is an access point to the UB Bike Path. We had planned ahead to complete two of our personal challenges at once by heading there with the kids after Ella’s nap that day (the other challenge is to exercise together once per week). Then, some out of town family happened to extend their visit through Sunday evening. We posed the idea that they might like to join us and make a family event of our walk/run at the bike path. Most of Nathanael’s local family ended up joining, too!

Nathanael and his little sister, Hannah, ran together for some more serious exercise. Our sister-in-law, Faith, and I walked with my father-in-law while I wore Hope and Faith pushed Ella in the stroller.  Faith’s husband John and their son Micah joined us later. We tried to let Ella ride her tricycle with us, and she started out plowing ahead of the gang as fast as her little legs can pedal. Anyone with a two-year-old knows, however, that it only took her about a minute before she couldn’t help but stop and watch all of the runners and cyclists and dog-walkers and other kids go by, naming each one with an unceasingly surprised cry of, “Somebody run/walk a dog/ride a bike!” (Emphasis to show her actual pronunciation) The trike went back into the trunk, and out came the stroller. She didn’t mind.

IMG_0103It was so nice to walk along in the sunshine with family who I also consider friends and chat about how we’re each doing. It’s uncomfortable to walk with someone and not keep up conversation, so a walk together made everyone more likely to share in the conversation rather than stare at our phones like we might have at home on our couches. Exercise, time enjoying part of Buffalo (ok, greater Buffalo, technically. It counts.), and quality conversation with people we don’t see that often: I call that a win!

I even saw one of our neighbors walking her dog on the path, but when I mentioned this a few days later as she passed by our house with the dog she seemed a little weirded out. But I will not be deterred! To me this exchange just means I need to get out of the house and talk to the neighbors more so that the simple acts of recognizing them and speaking to them aren’t weird (this also matches Warnick’s advice in her chapter titled “Say Hi to Your Neighbors”).

I don’t think we would have thought to take advantage of the bike path that’s so close by if we hadn’t specifically set goals to get out and see Buffalo more plus to exercise. And so the good feelings about Buffalo and about our Buffalove Challenge commence!

(I hadn’t decided to blog about this challenge at the time of our little excursion, so I don’t have any pictures of the actual event besides the one from Faith. Miscellaneous outdoor pictures will have to suffice).

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