Tag Archives: Bicycling

My Riding Strategy: Daily Prompt

Happy New Year!! A quick update, I’m on my third book of the year: 1984 by George Orwell. I set my 2018 Goodreads goal at 25 books. I bought a bicycle last weekend and did my first ride yesterday.

I bought a Trek 7.2 FX, women’s specific design. I have not ridden a bike since I was a kid, so I was excited to buy it. I had been going back and forth between buying a bike for about two years now and I finally decided to go ahead and get one. I really had no more excuses left to justify not buying one. As part of my goals for 2018 I want to stop denying myself things because of fear and naysayers, so the purchase of my bike is one of the first purchases that adhere to my desired goal.

When I was on my ride yesterday, I fell a few times but suffered no injuries. For someone who has not ridden a bike in so long, I feel I did well. Before I purchased the bike last weekend, I did ride it around the parking lot of the shop. I purchased my bike from one of my local bike shops. I bought it from a shop verses a big box store because the shop was able to tailor the bike to my size. The bikes I liked in Walmart and Target were too big for me.

When riding my bicycle, I rediscovered how important it was to keep pedaling. It sounds funny, but really, whenever I stopped pedaling or got distracted in some way, I ended up failing or almost falling. As long as I kept pedaling, I maintained my balance and began pacing myself. You cannot pedal too fast because the bike may slip from under you if you are not careful, you cannot pedal too slow because you will end up falling. I had to pedal at a moderate speed in order to keep my balance.

via Daily Prompt: Strategy

The Politics of Biking

In large cities it isn’t uncommon to see people of all types riding bicycles.

Young, old, and in between, all powering two wheels with their legs.

Yet, not all cities are bike friendly and there are common misconceptions about people who ride bicycles.

In Europe, bicycles rule the road. In Copenhagen and Amsterdam most of the residents ride bicycles instead of drive cars. There are even bicycle parking decks in town.

That is a sharp contrast to American cities. With the exception of Portland and some large cities like San Francisco, most cities have marginal accommodations for bicycles and cars rule the road.

Bicyclists have to navigate between cars or on sidewalks because of the absence of bicycle lanes.

In the town I reside there has been an investment in making the town more pedestrian and bike friendly.

Investing in bicycle lanes, walkways, and sidewalks require towns to have the budget as well as expressed need for them from town residents.

If it is perceived that people don’t ride bicycles, then there will be no bicycle lanes.

When you think of bicycle riders, maybe Lance Armstrong comes to mind, or maybe you think a college kid biking to and from class.

Yet there are many different types of riders.

People who ride for leisure, people who ride to school or work, and people who ride for competition.

As with everything, there is politics attached to biking.

Income is a major factor in the ability to have a bike as well as reasons to ride one.

Higher income individuals buy top of the line bikes, some of which cost upwards of $5,000. Many of these individuals ride for competition. They compete in triathlons such as the Iron Man.

Bikes in this price range usually come from bike shops. I’ve been in these shops and they usually carry bikes with prices ranging from $300~ to $5,000~.

People who don’t have their entire rent check to drop on a bike, usually frequent Wal-Mart ¬†or Target’s bike selection. Some even hunt on Craigslist or go dumpster diving.

This is where the disparity comes in. People who can’t afford thousand dollar bikes get what they can afford.

These folks ride bikes for leisure or transportation.

In America’s culture, everything is about status. In bicycle culture, the same logic is applied.

If the bike didn’t come from a bike shop, it is thought to be just a pile of crap.

Unfortunately this logic seems to exclude lower-income individuals from “bike culture”. It conveys the stereotype that only rich people ride bikes.

In reality, everyone rides, just for different reasons. Where you buy your bicycle from shouldn’t matter.

In a car dominated town, riding a bike may seem like an oddity. Why ride a bike when you can drive a car? Well some people don’t have a car. Some people use bikes as a means of transportation.

Here is another matter of contention among bike culture.

People who ride bicycles for transportation are thought of as poor or mainly college students. When in reality, especially in bike friendly cities, many people use bikes as a means of transportation.

Bicycle culture in America has grown, but could use some more help. Including low-income communities, women, people of color, and others not often associated with bicycling will expand bicycling to a larger audience and make it more popular in all cities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ride

The wind blows gently as she pedals down the road.

She has riden almost 100 miles.

The sun is hidden behind the trees.

She pedals briskly.

She doesn’t want to go too fast because she will miss the scenery.

Further down the road she stops to take a breath.

Refuel with water and a protein bar.

A light stretch to loosen up the muscles a bit, then it is back on the road.

She begins to pedal briskly again.

The beauty is that she does not know her destination.

She is riding free, enjoying the air and scenes.

This is where she finds peace.

On her bike, on the road, she can breathe.

She can think. It’s just her and her bike.

No boss, no deadlines, no expectations.

Just the open road.

As she pedals, she knows she is free.