6 years on 2 wheels

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I’ve been smiling around-the-clock since BikeWalkKC has contacted me and asked me to share with you what it is like to commute by bicycle. There’s plenty to be said and for this reason I can hardly contain my enthusiasm. Over the next 3 months, I want to encourage you to get out there, fight the good fight, sweat it out, and change your life. “A bicycle can change my life!?” Yes. Yes it can. But I don’t blame you for not believing me. I wouldn’t’ve believed me either 6 years ago.

Buying a bike was one of the most pivotal moments of my life. It was the beginning of a seriously beautiful relationship. I fell in love, madly in love.
And so I divorced my car. We’re over.

I’ve been a car free cyclist for 6 years and over 5,000 miles. I do just about everything on my bicycle except brush my teeth and race. I’m not a competitive cyclist, but rather a “zen cyclist”. I do it for the love of doing it. There are not many things in this world that make me happier than riding my bike. But people, let me tell you something—this is NOT how I felt at first. At first my legs burned a LOT. It wore me out, broke me down, and I made plenty of “rookie” mistakes along the way. It was a struggle: me against the hill, me against the wind, me against traffic, me against myselfAnd true, I still face the adversity of weather and traffic, but I assure you my friends, it gets easier.

I didn’t know that within a few months of cycling I would be the strongest I’ve ever been. I didn’t know that it was possible for me to be happier (special thanks to science for endorphins!). I didn’t realize that I would gain an astounding amount of energy and a fierce appetite that I delight in satisfying because I can. Finding a parking spot, making car payments, getting gas, locking my keys in my car, getting stuck in traffic, getting my car broken into, property taxes, and having “surprise” car problems are all history. HALLELUJAH!

If you are unsure about committing to a bicycle and you want to “try it before you buy it”, I suggest renting a bicycle through Kansas City’s Bike Sharing program (kansascity.bcycle.com). If you would like a riding buddy, please don’t hesitate to ask! It wouldn’t be the first (or the last time) I offer my time to show someone the ropes of inner city street cycling.  And please feel free to ask me any questions you may have!  Stay tuned for advice, motivating stories, and photos.

Cheers,

Tika

tikabike

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12 comments

  1. Hi Tika! I just experienced biking against the wind for the first time when I was biking between jobs today. It added extra time onto my travel that I wasn’t expecting and it definitely seemed a little challenging. I look forward to learning from you and reading your posts! Thanks for sharing, its very inspirational and encouraging!

    1. Stevie, thank you for the positive feedback. I certainly appreciate that! Biking between jobs, you say? Sounds like you work hard and you’re pushing yourself! *digital high five*

      1. LOL! Yep, but even had to stop for a few months because of a pesky little heart attack 😉 I love the challenge of what clothing to wear when. In the 30’s its easy but when it plunges below 20 not as much!

  2. I started commuting when I started working for Nirve 6 years ago, and many thousands of miles. Like you, I am not a competitive cyclist, but a self-empowered cyclist. Surprisingly, I find that for many trips the bicycle actually doesn’t add time as compared to a car.

    More voices like yours need to be heard. Spread the good word!

    1. You’re right Steve. Biking doesn’t take that much longer, and depending on what kind of community you live in, it can be faster! I first started cycling in a small town that was congested with traffic yearly because of the growing University population. I flew PAST traffic in this particular town. They would all just be sitting there waiting for their chance to get through a green light, and I could hardly keep from laughing as I whizzed by. 😛

      It’s inspiring for me to hear about others out there doing the same thing I’m doing, so I appreciate you taking the time to comment Steve. Ride on!

    1. I totally agree Brett! I stayed in the Netherlands for 6 months and had a wonderful experience there on a bicycle. I plan to talk more about that soon. I have some good pictures of their exceptionally safe and amazing bike paths to share later. Incredible stuff. It should be that way here!

  3. Your story is an inspiration. I used to ride 4000-5000 miles a year mostly commuting, but now I work from home. I haven’t broken totally free of a car. I still drive to Lawrence on occasion, at least I carpool there. And I still drive out to visit my mom. And there are some places where the route just doesn’t feel safe to me to ride. But I have that desire to divorce myself from the car.

    1. Living in Missouri makes it hard to be 100% car free, I totally understand. Occasionally on Friday and Saturday nights I have to take a taxi cab if I decide to go out. Too many drunk drivers and it’s scary being a girl alone on the streets. Hope to see you on some of the group rides, Terry. There is safety in numbers. And the more, the merrier! 🙂

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