Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Why I Bike: Bryce

Why I bike?

For mind, body, spirit, bank account, community, and environment.

When did you learn to ride your bike? Who taught you?
I first started riding on a Big Wheel bike at Montessori pre-school at what must have been the age of 4. I remember there were two of them, both with hard plastic wheels that had seen better days, and we would have races across a particular stretch of blacktop during recess. Around that same time I got my first bicycle, a bright red one with training wheels and flame decals, as a gift from my grandfather on my mom’s side. Both my parents helped me learn to ride without training wheels soon after. The next milestone was getting back on a bicycle in college after not riding for 7 years through middle and high school. The next breakthrough was discovering the speed and agility of a road bike 2 years out of college.

In what city and state do you live?
I currently live in Washington, D.C.

What is the biking culture like there?

Living in the San Francisco Bay Area prior to moving here, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the bike culture in DC. In the morning I see dozens of other bike commuters on the road, there are numerous bike shops around the District, and hundreds if not thousands of residents cycle recreationally in the entire Washington, Maryland, and Virginia area every day. Tourists even join in on the biking too with a few different rental outfits in the city as well as the ever-popular and expanding Capital Bikeshare. The Washington Area Bicyclist Association is also a prominent organization that promotes and fosters a biking culture and community in town, and there seem to be many different cycling groups centered around different bike shops and social circles.

What kind of bike (or bikes) do you have?
I have two used bikes: a Specialized mountain bike with slick tires and a Lemond road bike.

How often do you ride your bike?
At least 4-5 times a week for commuting, leisure, and exercise.

I wish drivers...
who haven’t ridden a bicycle in a while would give it a try! I also wish drivers and cyclists would be consistently taught and reminded of the road rules governing bicycle and car interactions.

I would ride my bike even more if...
we invested in more bicycle-friendly infrastructure including bicycle boulevards; marked, protected, or completely separate bicycle lanes and paths; bike parking racks; interconnected, interstate bike trails; mass transit with expanded options to accommodate bringing along bicycles; and expanded bike share systems.

My favorite bike snack…
Blueberry Cliff Bars, but they barely edge out varieties of trail mix, granola, assorted Kashi and Nature Valley bars, those energy cube gummy things in the lemon/lime flavor, peanut-butter gel, apples, various dried fruit, and stopping for ice cream.

My favorite piece of bike gear is…
Tie between a bell and lights for signaling and visibility to avoid accidents and a helmet for keeping me safe in case I get into one. Other favorites, but by no means necessities, are padded bike shorts, a rear bicycle rack for panniers, and a bicycle trailer to haul extra stuff.

Do you ride your bike in all weather?
Yes, I’ve ridden in snow, rain, heat, and gloom of night to cite the USPS. With adequate gear and infrastructure, riding in any weather can be enjoyable.

Do you own a car?
No, I rent from Car2go or Zipcar if I really need to use one.

My favorite thing about riding my bike....
Its fun, reminds me of being a kid, and is a great way to get energized at the start of the day. It saves me money and is better for the environment than driving a car. I’ve also seen more of the city and learned its geography much better by riding around on a bike.

The coolest trip I’ve done on my bike….
New York City to Washington, D.C. with Climate Ride. I also enjoy riding from my front door in the city out to the countryside in Maryland all in an afternoon.

The bike trip I’m dying to do…
Climate Ride California from Eureka to San Francisco. Across the US and also various places in Europe.

Does your house/apt/work have special accommodations that make biking more feasible?
Yes, the building across the street from my office is owned by the same management company and has locker rooms with showers that we can use for those particularly hot and sweaty biking days. In the last year at the request of tenants, they’ve added a few more rows of bike racks in the basement parking garage as well as traffic mirrors to make accessing those safer. Having extra living room space in a DC row house certainly helps at home.

Why do you bike?

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