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?