Urban Velo

I Love Riding in the City – Thomas Connolley

connolley-t-cycle-shadowName: Thomas Connolley
Location: Wantage, England
Occupation: Scientist

Where do you live and what’s it like riding in your city?
I live in Wantage, a small town about 13 miles south of Oxford, England.
Wantage is compact and most places I need to go, apart from work, are within a 10 minute walk or bike ride. There is one bicycle shop, several reasonable cafés and there are good mountain biking and road biking routes. Wantage is close to the Ridgeway National Trail, which is open to cyclists and follows a route that has been used by humans for thousands of years. The town also has a branch of the Cyclists’ Touring Club (CTC) who organise various rides and tours.
I mainly use my bike to commute to work, 8 miles away. I have a choice of routes, either a busy main road, or a beautiful cross-country route using back roads and tracks. I’ll take the main road if it is icy or in really wet weather. The back country route can get very muddy. It’s not a route for a road bike, and I think it’s important for cyclists to assert their right to be on the main roads as well. There’s an active bicycle users group on the site where I work who campaign for cyclists’ rights and better infrastructure. There are several towns and large employment sites in the area which are within a half hour ride of each other, if only the infrastructure was better. Most people commute by car.

What was your favorite city to ride in, and why?
Probably Canberra, the capital of Australia. It is well planned, with good cycling routes to get around town and good places to ride at the weekend, for both roadies and mountain bikers.

The one drawback are the swooping magpies! Some male birds get very territorial and aggressive in the spring, and will swoop on pedestrians and cyclists. Aussie readers will know what I mean!

Why do you love riding in the city?
Bicycles are like the fairytale “seven league boots”. You can get so much further for no more effort than walking. I’ve always used a bike as a means of transport, for getting to work, running errands or just going for a ride. I love moving through places and landscapes at bike pace. Unlike a car or bus, there are no barriers between you and the world. Even the fickle English weather feels good! I’ve got a fairly demanding job and the half hour rides morning and evening are such a good way to relax and balance the mind and body. If I’ve been working on a technical problem during the day, the answer will often come to me on the ride home.

Or just say whatever you want about riding in the city… Poetry anyone?

Ride clean. The only thing you need to be “on” is your bike.

I Love Riding in the City – Christina Neubauer

Christina_Riding in PerthName: Christina Neubauer
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Occupation: Rider and Writer

Where do you live and what’s it like riding in your city?
I live in Perth, Western Australia. Imagine a metropolis surrounded by the ocean to the west and rugged terrain to the east, thousands of miles away from any other city. I was told Perth has the climate people in LA wish they had: clear blue skies, mostly warm and dry with peaks of intense heat in summer. The urban sprawl has turned Perth into an endless carpet of single houses – somehow, sometime in the past someone had the foresight to build a network of bitumen cycle paths along the train lines and freeways, which all lead into the CBD. Whether I commute or get around for recreation – it’d be waste not to do so on a bike.

What was your favorite city to ride in, and why?

I grew up near Hamburg in Germany and have ridden my fare share in Europe. Perth has been, so far, the nicest place I’ve ridden in. Weather, terrain and scenery are AMAZING. With a bit of patience, choosing a slightly longer ‘scenic’ route, I can get around town mostly on shared paths, which feels safe and comfortable. If someone had said ten years ago that I’d enjoy riding with a helmet (we’ve got compulsory helmet laws here) I would have thought they were talking rubbish, but a helmet is not enough to stop me from travelling by treadlie. Plus, the sun is so intense here, I’d wear a hat anyway…

Why do you love riding in the city? My daily 20 mile commute follows the coastline. There is always wind (seemingly always to pedal against, but never mind), a salty sea breeze, sometimes I see dolphins in the surf along the shore, most nights I have the most amazing sunset on my way home. All of this fills my heart with intense happiness.

Or just say whatever you want about riding in the city… Poetry anyone?

Given Perth’s infrastructure, not enough people use it yet, which is a bummer. While I enjoy a ride in solitude I know there is a lot more safety in numbers. I know you know all the other benefits (health, environment and so on) So, I want to do my bid to help change things, which is why I’ve become a cycle coach. Well, I don’t like to call myself a coach – sounds too sporty – but I teach women who’ve never learned how to ride a bicycle. It’s one of the most satisfying jobs I ever had. I also write for People on Bicycles to spread the word.

Website: www.peopleonbicycles.com.au

I Love Riding in the City – Samuel Meyer

I Love Riding in the CityNAME: Samuel Meyer
LOCATION: Kent Ohio
OCCUPATION: 4th Grader

Where do you live and what’s it like riding in your city?
Living in Kent is great for riding. It’s a small city so we can get everywhere on two wheels with a quickness. We have a Bike Shop in town and are on our bikes constantly. Over the past few years there has been a lot of new trails and and paths added here for the people to use.

What was your favorite city to ride in, and why?
Riding in Kent is great but I really enjoy going to Cleveland and riding around the city with my family. We went to the recent NEOcycle Festival and there was 1500 people on the night ride. It was awesome.

Why do you love riding in the city?
Riding in the streets we have to be safe. There are plenty of routes to take and going a different way is always fun. We are lucky to have Kent State campus in our neighborhood which has an awesome trail running through it that we can ride for miles.

Or just say whatever you want about riding in the city… Poetry anyone?

Being on my bike I can go fast through the streets and riding with my family is my favorite thing to do. The Riverside trail by the train tracks is always fun. It’s great to see more and more kids and grown-ups on their bikes in our town.

Check out kentcycle.com

I Love Riding in the City – Marni Duffy and Dena Driscoll

momsNAME: Marni Duffy and Dena Driscoll
LOCATION: Philly
OCCUPATION: moms + Kidical Mass Organizers, Dena: non-profit, Marni: small business owner

Where do you live and what’s it like riding in your city?
We live in Philadelphia. We bike daily with (and without) our kids for transportation. We find many things about Philadelphia’s infrastructure very frustrating. There is one protected bike lane (or cycle track). It is 1/4 mile long and connects a casino to a busy intersection, with numerous driveways interrupting it where cars have the right-of-way. Our bike lanes are just dooring lanes, perfectly placed between parked cars and whizzing traffic. Our two main buffered bike lanes are just free parking spots for construction workers, property owners, church goers, and the Philadelphia Parking Authority (sometimes even the Philadelphia Police, though they prefer regular bike lanes).
Dena started ‘Give Mom a Bike Lane’ (@bikelaneMOM) so that we can let our snarkiness fly on why protected bike lanes are important if we want people ages 8-80 to ride their bikes for transportation and pleasure. Philadelphia is not prioritizing safe streets for pedestrians and cyclists and is continuing to prioritize parking and driving lanes.
We also organize monthly family bike rides, called Kidical Mass Philadelphia (kidicalmassphl.org). We want to help as many families get out on bikes as possible.

What was your favorite city to ride in, and why?
Dena: Philadelphia because I know it so well.

Marni: Midland, Michigan, where I lived from ages 1-6. My mom pulled my younger brother and I in a trailer all through town. It is how I got to school, the grocery store, the playground, and friends’ houses. I loved the fresh air. My brother would nap and my mom would be so happy to be outdoors getting some exercise.

Why do you love riding in the city?
We love riding in the city because we think it’s a great way to get around town. It’s just fun! To breath the air, interact with people, talk to our children about what they see, hear, smell, and feel, and to push ourselves past what we thought we could handle. Getting our blood pumping is a great way to stay happy and healthy. We love being able to bike to the grocery store, the post office, preschool, work, the laundromat, the bike shop, museums and parks, meetings, the waterfront, and the library.

Check out http://givemomabikelane.com

I Love Riding in the City – Joe Pierce

RIP

NAME: Joe Pierce
LOCATION: St Louis
OCCUPATION: Public Servant

Where do you live and what’s it like riding in your city?
I live in St Louis near the Chain of Rocks Bridge, old Route 66. The bridge has been closed to cars and trucks since the 60′s. Bikes and foot traffic only.

I moved here from Chicago and was intimated at first but got over it. The city is working very had at their Bicycle Friendly status and I’ve ridden on the streets and commuted here since 98 and feel it’s come a long way. The region has issues with cyclists that will be resolved someday.

What was your favorite city to ride in, and why?
I’ve ridden in Chicago, Cleveland, San Diego, Sturgeon Bay, St Louis, and Pittsburgh and I have to say Chicago is probably my favorite.

Why do you love riding in the city?
There is a lot less stress riding a bike. I love how you are part of your surroundings not separated by glass and metal to everything. I’ve seen much more of nature while ridding and I’ve found money on the road. That would not happen while driving a car.

I Love Riding in the City – Davide Corso

I ride my bicycle to ride my bicycle!NAME: Davide Corso
LOCATION: Genova, Italy
OCCUPATION: software engineer

Where do you live and what’s it like riding in your city?
I live in Genova, Italy. Cycling here can be quite awkward since the town is built on several hills, therefore the path from A to B is never quite flat. Furthermore, there are no bike lanes at all, so I usually choose minor side roads in order to avoid heavy traffic, thereby often making the route longer.

What was your favorite city to ride in, and why?
I loved cycling in Berlin, an extremely cyclist friendly (and flat!) city with cycle lanes everywhere and a huge park (the Tiergarten) in the middle. Perfect for biking.

Why do you love riding in the city?

Quoting a zen story I’ve read: I ride my bicycle to ride my bicycle!

I Love Riding in the City – Paul Unnasch

Rad_Red_FlannelNAME: Paul Unnasch
LOCATION: Milwaukee, WI
OCCUPATION: High School Student

Where do you live and what’s it like riding in your city?
I live in Milwaukee, WI. Potholes, potholes, potholes. Once I look past that, it really is a beautiful city to ride in, and is best experienced by bike. The trail system around the Milwaukee area is well thought out, and makes commuting a much easier and less stressful task than in bigger cities. Not as many car horns are directed toward cyclists here either!

What was your favorite city to ride in, and why?
Milwaukee. I’m 17 and I have not had the pleasure of experiencing other metro areas!

Why do you love riding in the city?
Riding has allowed me to form a bond with the city. There are so many details in the downtown area that would otherwise be lacking when in a car. We also have a great system of MTB trails set up by the Milwaukee chapter of the IMBA. Mountain biking is really my favorite way of blowing off steam- a way that riding a track bike during rush hour couldn’t accomplish. Nevertheless, Milwaukee has a small town feel to it, in that I will probably/definitely run into someone I know from the cycling community when I go out for a ride.

Or just say whatever you want about riding in the city… Poetry anyone?

Potholes, ice, snow, and bad bus drivers. I love it here.

Check out neveridlemke.tumblr.com

I Love Riding in the City – Dr. Hank

hankNAME: Dr Hank Morrill
LOCATION: Charlotte, NC
OCCUPATION: Dog

Where do you live and what’s it like riding in your city?
I live in the great neighborhood of Plaza Midwood here in the Queen City of North Carolina. Riding in the city can be hairy, but mostly I cruise the quiet side streets (of which there are plenty), and I love barking at the other dogs and squirrels as I cruise by with my people.

What was your favorite city to ride in, and why?

Previously I had lived in The Minne-Apple, and I really like that. Plenty of dog parks to bike to, etc. That is my only basis for comparison. I’m pretty sure Portland would be great; what with their density of dog-friendly businesses and all. Really though, I’m pretty happy running around where I am, in the moment, just loving running around with a bike!

Why do you love riding in the city?
Is that even a question? Why would you not? I like cruising around, seeing the people, smelling the smells, just getting into my local environment….I mean, what else do you need?

Or just say whatever you want about riding in the city… Poetry anyone?
I roll every day before the guy that feeds me goes somewhere to “work”. We roll a little more later-on also, and I love every minute of it. As soon as I see that bike come out of the shed, I’m barking to go! I mean…who wouldn’t? I just really, really love cruising around the Queen City – so much so see and do and smell and pee on. I really feel like the bike culture is coming up around here, and I love seeing more bikers on the roads! Also, I love chewing on your rags before the bike dude gets to read ‘em, so props on the paper stock choice(s) – lovin’ it!

I Love Riding in the City – Rev. D. Ryan “Bubba” Sabine

revNAME: Rev. D. Ryan “Bubba” Sabine
LOCATION: Denton, TX
OCCUPATION: Rehab Therapy Tech

Where do you live and what’s it like riding in your city?
I live in Denton, TX, a smallish college town about 40 minutes north of Dallas. Denton is amazing to ride a bike in. There is a huge bike scene complete with social rides, booze n’ cruises, photovelos, and alley cat races. I lead a no-drop ride around town every Tuesday night that ends at our beautiful town square and I seriously owe so many of my good friends to riding bikes here. The amount of people who ride here is incredible and the motorists seem to give plenty of respect to us cyclists. All in all, Denton is small enough to ride everywhere with a big enough spirit to keep you plum silly with new events and friends to ride with.

What was your favorite city to ride in, and why?
I like taking the train to Dallas and chopping it up in the middle of Main St traffic. They aren’t quite as friendly to cyclists down there and I get a little giggle out of blowing past a bloated, big-haired Dallas socialite jabbering away on their cell phone while I sneak in front of him and just barely squeeze through the light and onward.

Why do you love riding in the city?
The flow of traffic, the burn in my legs, and the thrill of feeling like I’ve just gone a little too fast.

Or just say whatever you want about riding in the city… Poetry anyone?
la vida es mejor en bici

I Love Riding in the City – Jeff Bequette

cityrideNAME: Jeff Bequette
LOCATION: Omaha, Nebraska
OCCUPATION: Railroad

Where do you live and what’s it like riding in your city?
Omaha Nebraska, a great town to raise kids and bike, if you like going North-South. Unfortunately, I live West and must go East to get to work. Very active in the bicycle world with a City Coordinator, great organizations and a plethora of shops covering the bike spectrum. It also helps we are next door to RAGBRAI and minutes from the Taco Ride.

What was your favorite city to ride in, and why?
Besides Omaha? Fayetteville/ North Cacalackey, was fun as day after day I proved it was faster to ride my bike to work (Ft. Bragg) than it was to drive, and minutes from urban were winding rural roads that begged to get hammered.

Why do you love riding in the city?

Riding in the city keeps you conscious, having to think a bit faster than the next cager coming at you and anticipate you moves ahead of time for the interplay of traffic. And to be in the right gear for the next hill.

Or just say whatever you want:
Dawn is breaking as I dodge another pothole I’d never noticed in my car. Commuting by bike enhances my awareness of the road, life stirring in the city, the golden light reflecting from buildings as the Sun cranks up for another day. Working third shift, my ‘morning’ commute starts at 8:00 PM, pouring coffee from the press into a thermos, checking the work clothes a last time, tightening the straps and turning on the lights. I clip in and am off on an 18 mile ride through West Omaha, then Grover and Vinton, discovering new communities on this route. A little boy waves to me from his porch and I wave back through the gathering dark, a blinking shape cutting through the night. I change at work and start bleeding off job stress with the first pedal stroke, heading west in the morning, cranking up from riverside towards home. Traffic starts to thicken as cagers rush eastwards to work, but stays light in the westbound lane. I dodge potholes and morning sprinklers, sprinting for lights and euphoric by the time I arrive home, warm and stress free, almost disappointed to end the day by going to bed.

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