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    KABMPH   31,305
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Bike Riding


Friday, July 26, 2013

Where I'm from (Western New York), people just have bikes. Sometimes they're used for transportation, sometimes they're used for recreation, but it was never anything serious.

However, where I live (Northern Virginia), there are Bikers: people who have fancy bikes and wear fancy bike clothes and get really serious about biking. I think it has to do with the area being competitive in work and play. I'm not a big fan.

About three years ago, I bought I bike from LL Bean. It was the first bike I had owned since my last bike was stolen in 2001. The LL Bean bike wasn't a Bikers' bike. It squeaked a little when I rode it and on longer rides it made my lower back hurt a little. The Bikers on the trails also intimidated me. Oh and then there's the traffic on the roads, and the need for a heavy-duty lock. I had it for one summer and realized I was not someone who enjoyed the culture of biking -- not here anyway. Because LL Bean has a very liberal return policy, I returned it. (I didn't feel great about returning the bike, but it's not like I was taking advantage of them; it's their policy to allow such returns.)

In the past year or so, bikeshare stations have begun popping up all over. There's one a block from my apartment, another right near work, and lots of places in between. Today I decided to try it out. You can buy a 24-hour pass for $7. You can take out bikes as often as you want in that 24-hour period but you need to return the bike within 30 minutes (or get charged extra).

I'm grateful to live in an urban area with bike lanes. I rode 1.2 miles (home-->library; library-->bank) and then walked from the bank to home. It's not great when there's construction (which I encountered in 2 different places!), but it was fun to be on a bike again, letting the wind flow through my hair. (That's because I was not wearing a helmet because I do not have one. Should I decide to start using the bikeshare more than this one time, I promise to get one. I will miss the wind in my hair, though.)

What's your take on bikes? Do you enjoy it?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post:
DISCIPLINE_DOES 8/4/2013 6:58PM

    It's a goal of mine to start biking, but man it's intimidating!!! Oklahoma is not known for things like bike lanes. And people be crazy.

Are you not required to wear helmets? I think it's law here if you're on city property. This is honestly probably the one thing that I will hate the most. I feel so trapped in a helmet, like I can't see or hear enough of what I need to, and that I can't turn my head to react quickly enough to the things around me. I do not like that feeling!

The bike share idea is nice! I've read about it in other cities. Who is responsible for the upkeep of the bikes? Do you have to worry about dropping a chain in the middle of your ride, etc? Or are they checked/serviced in between riders?

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BEE2LE 7/26/2013 9:21PM

    Oops. Forgot I wanted to include this link. I always think of Dave Eggers & this review he wrote when I hear people discuss recreational bikers vs hardcore bikers. I never did pick up the book, but it's probably pretty interesting.

http://www.nyti
mes.com/2012/07/29/books/review
/just-ride-by-grant-petersen.html?_r=0

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BEE2LE 7/26/2013 9:20PM

    I have just renewed my love of biking, now that all my kids can ride on 2 wheels. But, with children come responsibility & setting examples. So, I wear a helmet every time we ride on the bike trails. I miss the wind through my hair feeling! The sacrifices we make for children ;)

Our neighborhood is becoming a big biking 'hood, but Cincinnati folk in general aren't great driving around bikers. I'm a bit nervous riding on the streets & stick to the bike trails around town. We are getting more & more bike lanes though. There's a pretty active bike community that is pushing awareness & it's much improved over 3-5 years ago.

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SKAHONEY4U 7/26/2013 6:46PM

    I always wanted to try the bikeshare when I was living in DC (moved to CO in May). I think I never did because of the Huge hill i lived on, I would never had made it up on the bike. I get you with the hardcore bikers there. I'm an avid DC-hater, so it is hard for me to say nice things about the city. But, the bikeshare program seemed like a really great service. I went biking a couple times at Great Falls. So pretty! I think there's actually more bikers and bike lanes in the town I live in, but they are mostly hippies or college kids. They have their own set of annoyances to me (seriously..texting and biking...biking with no hands...they run red lights all the time like in DC too). Seriously bikers, follow the law!

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LMB-ESQ 7/26/2013 2:47PM

    Love bikes. Hate traffic. My city is not very bike friendly. I wish I had more open roads to ride on. I don't bother with bike trails because they're too crowded. My bike is hardly anything fancy. It's heavy and not very fast. It's 25(?) years old and I paid all of $80 for it brand new. I think I paid more for a better saddle than I did for the bike! But it serves my purpose and I like it. I haven't been riding much lately, but when my schedule is normal I'll try to get out and ride 2 or 3 times a week. Bikes are fun! But get a helmet...

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EG8383 7/26/2013 2:27PM

  I've always liked bikes. growing up my dad, brother and I would ride our bike a few blocks to a local park and ride the trail. One time I followed my crazy brother up a hill to ride down. Lack of exerience and well being a big girl I went down the steep end not a good idea and I rolled all the way to the foot of the small hill lol. An old couple wanted to call for help, but I was OK just a lil banged up from my knees and elbows. I haven't been on one since then. Hubby and I want to get one though and take our Nicolas on strolls! I would totally love to have bike lanes in my area so i can use it to all the near by places by my house instead of spending gas!

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KNYAGENYA 7/26/2013 2:16PM

    I enjoy my bike. I have metroparks that I can use so I do not have to worry about a lot of traffic. Also here in Ohio I do not really have to contend with the really avid bike riders. Remember, you are just as good as they are and deserve to ride where you want.

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