Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Why I Bike: Michelle

When did you learn to ride your bike? Who taught you?
I learned in June, 1987. I was 5 years old. I had recently received my first bicycle as a 5-years old birthday present. I started with training wheels and then every other day my Dad would take them off and run with me holding onto the handle bars. Sometimes he would let go….and trust me, I had many falls. One day, he let me go and I had this moment of joy and understanding of what balancing actually means. From that moment on, I didn't need help anymore. I just knew how to ride my bike. Riding around my neighborhood brought such a feeling of freedom to my small self. I still feel that when I ride today, the feeling of the freedom my bike brings me.

I have since learned the better way to teach a kid to ride a bike is to take off the pedals and have them roll down a hill, they learn balance much more quickly that way. Once they have mastered that, you can put the pedals back on and have them roll down the hill pedaling. I was the second employee at a new nonprofit called ACHIEVE Kids Tri where we provided bikes to at-risk kids in low-income areas of Washington DC and then taught them how to ride, as well as to swim.

And here is a great video about the camp. For those that are interested in learning more or helping out, please send me an email.

In what city and state do you live?
Washington, DC

What is the biking culture like there?
I have biked in DC since 2006. It was not good then, not at all with very few bike lanes. But now in 2013, it is much improved with many bike lanes throughout the city. Thank you DDOT.

What kind of bike (or bikes) do you have?
My favorite bike is my commuter; it is a basic Specialized bike with cross bars and a big milk crate on the back that fits my computer bag and a backpack….and a surprising amount of groceries.

How often do you ride your bike?
Every day I commute to work and back.

I wish drivers...
Would use their turn signals 100% of the time.

I would ride my bike even more if...
Work was farther away.

My favorite bike snack___________
A water bottle filled with iced coffee.

My favorite piece of bike gear is
My extra warm and thick gloves that protect my hands from the cold in the winter.

Do you ride your bike in all weather?
Not in the pouring rain or dangerous snow/sleet.

Do you own a car?
I have never owned a car in my entire 30 years of being alive.

I mostly ride my bike ___
To commute and in the summer, I do enjoy a bike ride on my other bike - a triathlon Specialized bike.

My favorite thing about riding my bike....
The opportunity and freedom it gives me to use my own power to take myself from one location to the next.

The coolest trip I've done on my bike….
Rode from Kalamazoo, MI to Chicago along Lake Michigan.

The bike trip I'm dying to do…
Anywhere in California, I have always wanted to ride out there!

Craziest thing I did (or craziest thing I carried) on my bike:
I am not very crazy because I have had far too many bike accidents. Sometimes I ride no handed, but only if there are zero cars or people around. Once I tried to put my friend Melani into my crate, but we fell three times before realizing that it was not going to work, much to the amusement of people in Adams Morgan.

Does your house/apt/work have special accommodations that make biking more feasible?
Nope, I just park it in the living room.

Reader Poll: How rare is that to have never owned a car in this country? Could you do that?

1 comment:

  1. I think it is very rare for a 30 year old to have never owned a car.
    Most of Michelle's brothers and sisters (8 siblings) have owned a car or own a car.
    Michelle is an inspiration for her family to get out and ride bikes!!! As her Mom, I am very proud of her continuing to ride her bike as an adult!


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