Hello World, part 2

Hello, I’ll be the other contributor to this blog.  I live in Chicago and ride my bike to work daily (a 14 mile round trip) plus pretty much everywhere else I go.  It was not always so.

In June 2008, following the brilliant footsteps of my co-blogger Ms. T, I began riding a bike to work.  I say “a” bike instead of “my” bike because I did not own a bicycle at the time.  Other than the occasional beach cruiser rental while on vacation, I had not ridden a bike since junior high. 

There are a lot of cyclists in Chicago, though, and a combination of seeing them everywhere, hearing about Trisha’s biking, and often walking by my neighborhood bike shop put the idea in my head that maybe I could ride a bike, too.  At the end of May, armed with my “stimulus” check, I purchased a bike.   I told the owner of the shop that I was thinking of maybe, possibly, perhaps trying to ride my bike to work downtown.  She told me that it was totally doable, grabbed a Chicago Bike Map and showed me the best route to get from my house to the lake front bicycle path, which would take me along Lake Michigan straight to downtown.  I was feeling pumped up, until I rode the bike home and around the block a bit.  I was nervous, wobbly, and absolutely ridiculous.  I thought I had wasted hundreds of dollars on a bike that I would never be able to ride around the block, let alone downtown.

Not ready to give up, I turned to my default activity – I read.  A lot.  About when to take the lane, what the door zone is, proper signaling, everything.  Bicycling blogs were – and still are – the best source of on-the-ground information for cycling in the city.  The next day, my husband and I rode our bikes to the lake front bicycle path.  After 1.5 miles of white-knuckled (for me), totally quiet and peaceful side-street riding, we got to the bike path.  Then something clicked: simply riding my bike down the crowded lane was the most fun I’d had in years.  I’ve had a lot of fabulous food, fun vacation, wine consuming, good friend fun in the last few years, but this simple bike ride was somehow different.  Later the same day I had a dentist appointment a couple of miles from my house.  I decided to ride my bike instead of take the bus or drive.    I felt self-assured and confident.  I met drivers’ eyes.  I firmly maintained my position in the road.  It was pretty cool.  Once I realized that I could control a lot of the situation by riding calmly and defensively, I was set.  I rode my bike to work that Monday and  I’ve been riding like that ever since.

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One thought on “Hello World, part 2

  1. […] Go Ride a Bike as a way to share our commuting experience with family and friends. We introduced ourselves (and our bikes) to the blogosphere and were off and running. In our first month, Dottie had her […]

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