I started biking home from work last fall, & this spring I started making it a round trip. It’s about 3.7 miles each way, & a year ago, the thought of making that trip twice each day would have been overwhelming to me.
Now I can’t imagine living any other way. It’s possibly the best decision I’ve made all year, and one of the most significant & rewarding lifestyle changes I’ve made in several. It’s been key to helping me control my waistline and finally start to lose weight, not to mention build stronger legs. It’s made it easier and safer for me to make it home after a beer or two (not advocating drunk cycling, of course!). And it’s helped me become a safer and more conscientious cyclist. I’ve even decided to try biking into the winter months this year, purchasing a cycling cap at REI to wear under my helmet when it gets cold for that very purpose.
In light of the many benefits that biking has bestowed upon me, I want to give a shout out to a few organizations and colleagues:
- Tour de Troit, which my man* & I are riding in for the second year in a row this coming Saturday. It’s one of an ever-increasing number of organized rides taking place in Detroit. My first time around last year, it was the longest ride I’d undertaken to that point and it helped show me I could not only ride that far, but enjoy it too. In every neighborhood we passed through, the residents universally gave us an enthusiastic welcome. It’s a great way to see the city, including parts many of us would probably never explore on our own, and I can’t wait to do it again.
- The Washtenaw Bicycling & Walking Coalition, which has an active listserv I recently subscribed to. It’s filled with insightful commentary and plenty of debate.
- The Streetsblog Network, which serves as a clearinghouse for the interests of pedestrians, cyclists and anybody else who values safe streets and alternatives to motor vehicle transport. Streetsblog tirelessly publicizes these issues on the national level and by helping to alert and engage readers in advocacy, most recently when Senator Coburn briefly (and, in part thanks to Streetsblog, unsuccessfully) held the federal transportation funding extension hostage solely for the purpose of stripping funds for bike and pedestrian safety projects.
- Local blog M-Bike.org, which does a great job of publicizing and promoting rides in southeast Michigan. It also offers diligent political advocacy similar to Streetsblog’s but focused on the state and local level.
- And, last but not least, this blog’s dear colleagues at Damn Arbor, who introduced me to the novel genre of bike porn. (Speaking of which, I can attest that there is nothing that drives pageviews through the roof more than casually including the word “porn” on your blog from time to time. This was by far my most-visited post until my Richard Florida piece.)
*I’d be remiss if I did not acknowledge my boyfriend, who first suggested we get bikes and register for Tour de Troit. Without his encouragement all those months ago, I wouldn’t be writing this post.