Happy Bike Stories

Lelas is one of the bike newbies I see on the bus nowadays. She told me that before two months ago, she never rode a bicycle anywhere, nor did she do much exercise. She picked up a second hand mountain bike for a commute and began riding the Highway 17 bus ‘over the hill’ from Santa Cruz to San Jose.

And she rode her bike the 10 miles to her work in Sunnyvale.

She didn’t work herself up to the 10 miles rides like all of us “experts” might suggest; she just hopped on and did it.

“And it gets easier every week I do this,” says Lelas (pronounced “Lee Lah.”)

She rides her 10 miles through traffic in about 45 minutes, which is impressive for a newbie on an old mountain bike with knobbies. I joked she might be the next Brooke Miller; Brooke first hopped on a bike when she was nearly 30 years old, and within a couple of years she was winning professional cycling races in the United States and Europe and is now training for the 2012 Olympics.

San Jose Bike Party August 2010

I love, love, love this story in Salon magazine about “One more reason to ride a bike.”

I made it to the store, returned my DVD, and was unlocking my bike to ride back home when a tall stranger called out to me.

“I want you to know that you have convinced me to buy a bike.”

My brow furrowed. What new scam was this?

Then I noticed he too was holding a DVD in his hands.

He continued — “I was behind you back on Shattuck…”

I interrupted. “You were driving the white car!”

Yeah, he said. And then, noting that we had arrived at the rental store about the same time, he said that watching me zip through traffic had convinced him he needed to get his own bicycle. He talked about getting in shape — he even mentioned the magic words “carbon footprint.

It’s a neat story; read it at Salon. Even the comments after the story are encouraging to read!

Eco Velo reveals the secret to successful cycling.

When someone asks why I commute by bike, instead of expounding on the ecological and economic benefits, I first talk about how much fun it is, how good it makes me feel, and how little effort it takes. I tell them about the things I see along the road (birds, kids, dogs, turkeys, hawks, squirrels), the way it clears out the cobwebs in the morning and flushes out the stress in the evening, and what an utter relief it is to be free of driving related stress and anxiety.

Ross discusses stories of great cycling in unexpected places and points to this great article on cycling in Mexico City. Are we Americans sometimes a little to uptight on American roads?


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