Roni Jones is a liaison for the National Geographic Education Alliance program, and a teaching consultant with nearly 20 years of experience educating students and teachers. In her free time Roni likes to ride her bike, run, snowshoe, hike, and do just about anything outdoors.
Geography is a part of my everyday life. Not only do I work for National Geographic and advocate for geography education, but I am constantly worried about booking travel, scheduling meetings, and participating in phone conferences across many different time zones. A working knowledge of geography is vital to me in most situations. However, today was different. Today I was inspired by geography, inspired by how beautiful my local community is!
pedal at least twice a week. This time of year can be tricky to get
out in the afternoons because the days are short and the long shadows
come quickly. But today I was able to time the day perfectly and was
out my front door on my bike just in time to catch the last few hours
of good light.
Since taking up bicycling, I have learned so much about my community. I have learned that no matter where I travel from my house, I am required to go up or to go down. I live in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada in Northern California. Choosing to turn right today, I am traveling west and, this time of year, directly into the slowly sinking sun. As I glide through the final stoplight at the top at the crest of a hill, I can see the foothills rolling down to the flatland of the Sacramento Valley. It is so clear, I can see all the way to the coast range.
But, on a bike, down never really means down. The roads undulate so that, although I am enjoying the freedom and speed a descent offers, it does not last long. At the bottom of the gully, the road turns up again and I am forced to shift in order to maintain my speed. The turn uphill isn’t anything I would have even noticed in a car, but on two wheels using my legs to power me, I am very aware of any small changes in gradient.
This ride is one of my favorites and I usually push myself to see how much more quickly I can complete the loop each time. But today, I linger and take my time. I keep wishing I could show everyone how beautiful my home is and tell them, “This is why I love living here!”