I'm so glad to have the honor of doing a guest blog along with Lori. And thank you to Brian for allowing us to
I guess I will talk about my very first time biking in DC:
About 10 years ago, I worked in your typical office building. It was full of your typical office droids, me included. ;-) I took 2 buses, plus one metro train to work. I worked about 6 miles from where I lived. Ridiculous, right? To be honest, it wasn't that awful. This was before Metro had devolved into the mess it is now. In fact, I accepted as a part of life. I kinda enjoyed it. Riding the bus was always an experience unto itself.
In my office we had one guy that commuted into work by bicycle. He wore lycra and was a freak (at least in my eyes)! He commuted 15 miles to work each way! That's 30 miles total! Who would purposely choose to do that?! And I knew he chose to do that because where I worked, a man in his position could totally afford to drive that distance!
So I relegated bike commuters to the back of mind as crazy people and didn't think much of it until years later. I was hired by an agency which would become (I hope) my permanent job.
For my first 3 years, getting to work was super easy because I only lived 4 blocks away. I simply walked there and back. Easy peasy!
But then I was transferred to a different area--an area that was a whopping 1.5 miles away! Wha?! I can't just simply walk that! Soooooo faaaar.... (ok, looking back I realize how silly that sounds)
Luckily, I had just purchased my very first bicycle in DC. Why? I wanted to "get in shape". Of course that meant it was simply leaning against my apartment wall ever since I bought it....
I thought to myself: why not use my bike to get to work? The very idea of cycling in DC traffic absolutely terrified me. But I was determined to do it. So one day, I made a goal of biking 5 blocks to a nearby park.
I told myself that I would bike in the street (not the sidewalk) no matter what!
And you know what? I was terrified the entire time. Terrified and thrilled. When I made it to that park safe & sound, I was the happiest person on earth. It was the biggest accomplishment I had ever made! I felt like I was on top of the world. Seriously. You would have thought that I just completed a marathon (which I had done before this, btw, and it did not feel half as awesome as this accomplishment did!)
Since that moment, you couldn't keep me off my bike! I started riding my bike to and from work every day. Rain or shine, sun or snow. Nowadays I look back on my petrified self, and I laugh! Riding in traffic is so easy now! It's second nature. I get asked by people all the time if it's "safe to ride in DC traffic" Absolutely! It just takes a little getting used to...
Anyway, it was then that my boss noticed my bike parked outside my workplace everyday, and she nominated me for a special position in my company that involves biking everyday. She told me that she knew I loved biking, so why not make it part of my job?
Now? I ride a bike for 8 hours everyday, and I get paid for it. I credit that 'crazy person' from my old job as being a huge source of inspiration for me. Nowadays I bike 30 miles with no problem whatsoever! I can't imagine going anywhere without my trusty bicycle(s)!
(by the way, my initial bicycle has since grown into a collection of 5)
I have never owned a car in my life. But its only in the last 5 years that I've (re)discovered the joys of cycling. I have never regretted taking a ride on my bike. No matter the weather--whether its raining, snowing or super hot out, I love riding my bike. It is my center, my meditation, my wake-up-in-the-morning activity. I could go on for hours about how riding a bike centers you, calms you, makes you a better person------but, I suspect I would be preaching to the choir.
I have never owned a motor vehicle. And I'm ok with that.