Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Guest Post by an AWESOME Commuter

Meet Lindsay. She lives in College Place, Washington. She rocks. Her horn on her bike is an air horn she duck taped to her handlebars. She made a child's seat out of an old crate. At the beginning of this year, she made the brave and ambitious decision to ditch the car and only go by bike. EVERYWHERE. WITH A 2-YEAR OLD IN TOW. Yes, she and her 2 year-old do EVERYTHING by bike now. From grocery shopping to jaunts to the park, she does it all by bike. Did we mention that she is a NEW bicyclist? She was not some roadie that decided to start riding more. She made the daring decision to get on a bike and use it for her primary transportation. We came across her blog through Facebook, of course, and we were instantly intrigued, in awe, and INSPIRED.
Jack on the bike after a grocery run. Yes, she rigged up a stroller hood onto her bike to block the sun for Jack. 

Seriously. Look at all of that. And, there is a 2-year old on there too.

Since many of our b-cyclers here in town are new riders/commuters, we thought we would share some of Lindsay's insights on being a new cyclist. Here you go:

[[[ NEW - Epiphanies of a new cyclist

Little epiphanies can happen at the oddest times, I always think "oh I must include that in my next post," but alas, I usually forget. Sometimes it is such a random piece of nonsense it hardly deserves a mention. Other times, it's a little tidbit that a more experienced rider would have figured out long ago. Either way these "little epiphanies" are odd bits of information that have helped me on my way, I share them in the hope that they my aid your journey too.

I will be adding to this page as ideas come to me, so check back!
#1 The cycling community has provided me with priceless information, advice and expertise. I live in a small town and my local bike shop always seems too busy to answer questions. Thank goodness for the online community that has helped me along the way. If you are new to this too, get some support!

#2 Raise your saddle for less achy knees and more powerful rotations. Raising my saddle alleviated 95% of my knee pain and when it has occasionally come back, I usually notice my saddle has slipped. Of course you can have your saddle too high, so experiment to find what works for you.

#3 Take snacks (just learning this one myself). One would think a mum with a toddler would always have plenty of these on hand...but I'm not talking cheerios or goldfish. I have found whole fruit and raw nuts to be great snacks to stop me from getting energy lows. I think when you are a new cyclist you get used to feeling exhausted and sometimes it's hard to know if it's due to low fuel or actually being "done".

#4 Assume every other vehicle on the road has not seen you. I read somewhere that new cyclists are far more likely to be involved in an accident than seasoned ones. I was hit by a car when cycling through an intersection years ago. I had just gotten a bike and was extremely nervous about getting hit, and sure enough it happened (I never rode that bike again). I was fine, but if that same accident happened now, with Jack on the back it would be another story. I dread the idea of getting hit by a car and literally go over scenarios in my mind of how I could get the best possible outcome in all situations. I never take unnecessary risks and if in doubt I stop or drastically slow down until I know for sure I've been seen and acknowledged. I find most drivers are very courteous, and generally speaking no one wants to hurt anyone else- but people are distracted and impatient.

#5 Don't put up with an uncomfortable bike, if its not a good fit you won't want to ride it. Don't give up tweaking your position until you are 100% satisfied. I'm still making changes to mine and it keeps getting better and better, and therefore my rides are better and I look forward to them more.

#6 Experiment to find what motivates you to ride. I've found that trips with a destination or a specific purpose are far more enjoyable and fulfilling, buying groceries via bike gives me a sense of accomplishment that a joy ride can never provide (joy rides are great too).

#7 If you are seeking to decrease your car time gradually and replace it with trips by bike, try this- Find a map and draw a circle around your house that fits your cycling ability, complete all errands within that circle by bike and gradually increase the diameter to match your progress.

#8 If your saddle hurts, give it some time. If it still hurts get a new one.  ]]]

Do your self a favor and check out her blog. She really does rock. We could not possibly fit everything we wanted to in this post, but we do hope she will come back and enlighten us again and let us know how everything is going.

Visit Lindsay's Blog: You Ain't Got Jack

Lindsay, you are so awesome. No wonder Washington is the most bike friendly state in America. Thanks for sharing with us San Antonians and inspiring us to pedal it forward.

B-fit, B-green, B-cycle (and B-like Lindsay!)

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