Seven years ago, I bought a bicycle – with the intention of riding it that summer. I loved biking around the neighborhood and parks when I was a little kid, so I thought I would do some casual biking as soon as the weather got warmer. As it turned out, that summer came and went, and year after year, my new red bicycle sat in my garage, unused.
Last week, I chanced upon several social media posts about a local event called Bike To Work Week (BTWW). I was reminded of my still-brand-new bicycle sitting in my garage, and felt motivated to finally take it out for a spin. What better way to start riding my bike, than by participating in a fun community event celebrating bike commuting?
I spent 2 hours cleaning moth cocoons, dust, and spiderwebs off my bike’s wheels before wheeling it to a BTWW celebration station. Bikers who stopped by were offered free coffee, snacks, and simple bike mechanic services. I was really thankful for the helpful mechanic from Brodie Bikes – he checked my brakes and tire pressure, greased my chains, adjusted my seat height, and tightened a few loose screws on my bike. In less than 15 minutes, I was on my way!
The feelings I felt on that first bike ride (after years of not riding a bike) were simply exhilarating! I was sweaty but refreshed, tired yet energized. Exercise releases endorphins, so my mood was lifted all day while at work!
It rained most of last week, so I only wound up biking to work on two days. I logged a total of 33.51km (in 6 bike trips) on Bike Hub‘s BTWW site. I got lost a couple times while biking, since I relied on Google Maps’ cycling directions (which are still in Beta). I didn’t mind this though, because getting lost while biking allowed me to see parts of the city I never would have seen, zooming by in a car or on the bus!
One thing that was a concern for me when it came to commuting by bike was road safety. I did feel quite scared on roads with heavy traffic and no dedicated bike lanes, so there were a few times when I simply got off and walked my bike on the pavement instead. That said, I am thankful that there are so many dedicated bike lanes in downtown Vancouver! Having these lanes really help beginner bike commuters (like me last week!) feel safer when biking in traffic.
Following the recommendations of local police officers I chatted with during BTWW, I registered my bike with Project 529, a community-based bike registration and recovery service. I highly recommend all bike owners to do the same if you have not already done so, especially if you live in a city with high occurrences of bike theft!
As a first time participant of BTWW, I had some questions about the event, and biking in general. Bike Hub was really supportive on Twitter, so when they reached out to ask if I would like to be interviewed for a local community radio show discussing BTWW, I agreed without hesitation! I had a great time chatting with host Mike Bodnar about my BTWW experience on BikeLikeMe Radio, part of the “Make A Better World” show on Vancouver Co-Op Radio CFRO 100.5FM.
After BTWW was over, I did not stop biking. In fact, I was inspired to bike even more! I even started shopping for more bike gear (bike lock, bottle/cup holder, strap-on pouch bags, cycling jersey sets, and bike tools) to enrich my everyday biking experience.
I also searched for other local bike events and found an upcoming one that supports a great cause – mental health. So come June 25th, I’ll be biking 10km in support of the Canadian Mental Health Association! If you feel so inclined, please support my fundraising for this cause here: https://secure.e2rm.com/registrant/FundraisingPage.aspx?registrationID=3835453&langPref=en-CA#&panel1-1 Thank you!
I feel glad to embrace my newfound love for biking. I hope my experience inspires you to hop on your bike and get active biking around town too! Drop me a comment down below to share your biking experiences, tips, or any thoughts you have about biking – I would love to hear them! Happy biking!