Adventures in bike commuting |
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I am not a good bike rider.
That is a fact made clear to me a few years ago on a vacation to San Francisco. My husband and I had been married just a few years and I was convinced our marriage was going to end about halfway across the Golden Gate Bridge. We had rented bikes for a scenic ride to Sausalito and I quickly learned my bike riding skills were not up to par. I was mumbling curse words at my husband, who was consistently about 100 yards ahead. That was April, 2008. I don't think I've ridden a bike since.
Fast-forward to this morning. I sat in my garage near 51st and Freya with my hands literally trembling. I was about to leave my perfectly good car with the loud stereo and seat warmers in the garage and ride my bike to work instead. I was scared to death, but determined. And, wouldn't you know - I survived!
Like many in Spokane, I used the excuse of Bike to Work week to ditch my four wheels for two. I'm also training for my first triathlon and had to get on the bike and get some real workouts in. But, I haven't ridden a road bike since my pink and black huffy ten speed and I knew I had to face my fears - and, traffic - to get to work downtown.
Heading down the first stretch of Freya, I quickly knew how fast that bike could go. When this newbie looked down and saw I was going 22 mph, I started to have second thoughts about my adventure. This was nowhere near the steepest stretch I would face, but I gripped the handlebars and let it go - and, started to actually smile while I road.
After much debate with friends over the last few days, I decided to take Southeast Boulevard as my route down the South Hill. The bike lane was awesome, the road was smooth and Spokane drivers were extremely courteous to give me plenty of space (they probably saw my erratic bike maneuvering and were smart to steer clear.) I drove through the Perry District, then across I-90 before making my way through downtown to Riverfront Park.
I don't think I had to pedal from 29th all the way down to 2nd and Arthur. Only once did I say to myself, "please don't hit me, please don't hit me" as I crossed a busy intersection. Spoiler alert: no one hit me! Thanks, cars!
The hardest stretch of my ride was actually the hill in the KXLY parking lot. 8 miles, about 40 minutes and a totally new outlook on biking. I am considering making it a once-a-week thing.
If you've wanted to try it, I say go for it! There's one day left in Bike to Work week, after all. And, it feels like a totally different vantage point to see Spokane from the seat of a bike.