Breaking up is hard to do, and so is making new beginnings. There are the unavoidable comparisons to what came before, partially borne of wistfulness and partially borne of protection. I'm a commitment person, so I really gave my whole self to my previous home. I can see that I'm being more cautious this time around.
During my first few outings around Kalispell by car, I scanned for bike paths, wide shoulders beside main roads, and folks of all sorts using their bikes to get around. It couldn't possibly be like the college mountain town I left, I thought, where bikes were commonplace and cycle style was alive and well.
It's different, for sure, but it's just another version of good. Kalispell has miles and miles of excellent road riding on quiet byways right out my front door. There are bike paths connecting schools and neighborhoods, and some of those paths wind their way to town. A 30-ish mile paved trail takes me from the beach at Flathead Lake in Somers to brews at the Cottage Inn near Kila.
While every town has its punks, I have to say that on both solo and family rides, the drivers have overall been completely fine. My husband had his first negative encounter with some bored teens who yelled at him as they sped by, but otherwise, folks have been great. I've even gotten some unsolicited smiles and waves from people going by. Maybe it's my flowered helmet.
Whatever the reason, I'm happy to be wrong about my fears that cars ruled the streets, bikes were seen as obstructions, and no one could be bothered to give me and my dudes room on the road.