Tonight I wrote part of this on another site, and wanted to share these thoughts with you all as well with more background as to where i’ve been…
Everyone says we should ride our bikes more. So I thought back to what my own personal battles were and how I evolved into a bike grrl.
As a child I roller-skated. While I had a tricycle and a bike with training wheels, I was terrified of the next step. And it didn’t matter, because the kids in my first grade neighborhood in Virginia (where we lived for 7 months), well we all roller-skated after school. Big fantastic gangs of us. When I did finally do it, back home in Oregon, it was on a lovely blue Schwinn. Screw wussy girls banana seat bikes with streamers. I only rode bikes because I was a tomboy and pink would just not cut it especially with a BFF whose favorite movie was the awesome new Raiders of the Lost Ark with my first true love, Han Solo.
When I first bought my current bicycle, I hadn’t had a bike in almost 10 years. I’d crashed on my beautiful Scott and then lost the only friend who had the equal amounts of adventure and individuality to take on Portland streets by night…and day. I sold my bike to pay rent and that was that.
My bike was born in Santa Barbara, at Bicycle Bob’s. The former bike messenger who is now my ex-husband had initially treated me with little patience. Why was I so nervous, so slow, so unable to dismount without stopping first, so scared at making turns in traffic, so against hopping curbs that I used to charge fearlessly towards years earlier? We found our rhythm, and Sunday morning jaunts out for coffee, to the beach, around the pond past the zoo to butterfly beach, and we were good. life was good.
then he began the true descent into the bottle.
Opening one’s mind to what is truly possible is really important when thinking about riding – it’s scary to try something new. I used to think a friend was nuts for riding 5 miles to work downtown every day. Then one Sunday morning (before everyone was out of bed) I thought, well, I’ll try it. And I did it. And the first time, it was hard. And I had a lot to learn about riding on the streets. But I did it. And a few rides later, I was commuting.
Get a support network. Learn from other commuters what does & doesn’t work (it is not an expensive hobby!). Then pay close attention on how GREAT you feel when you arrive to work and don’t need the coffee because your endorphins are going nuts. And how awesome you feel because you realize that you can bike to work instead of go to the gym. AND that you- too- became a bike commuter.
PS – then the quick trip to the grocery store by bike doesn’t seem like a big deal 🙂