I guess introductions should come first. My name is Michael Harris and my story began in Lee’s Summit, MO (technically St. Louis but I only spent my first 3 years there). Growing up I assume I was like most any other suburban kid; sports teams, birthdays, school, and neighborhood friends. I don’t remember when I got my first bike but I do remember many of the great times I had on it. Back then they didn’t seem like anything special; but I learned how to propel myself through time and space, and to arrive at a pre-chosen destination (pretty hefty stuff for a kid who had yet to reach his teens!).
Anyway, I grew up and got my license, a goal most teenagers have, and found a new freedom. What did I have to worry about? I could drive my parents car and all I had to do was pay for gas? No problem. Then I got my first car which was previously my brother’s; paid in full! That didn’t hold up for too very long so I had to buy another one. All the money I had saved growing up; GONE. Slowly I was realizing that owning a vehicle could cost some money.
Oops… I forgot to get the oil changed!? Well there’s some more money gone.
I have to get new tags!? What kind of world are we living in!?
Fast forward and I’m 20 years old on the verge of a life changing experience (for the better). I decided to move in with a friend who was going to school in Chicago, Il. I was strapped for cash so I sold my truck and then packed my bags. When I got to Chicago I was fortunate enough that my friend had fallen in with a group of people who rode bikes regularly for recreation, as well as for money. Within 2 weeks I had a job and a bicycle, and I was experiencing the city in a way I’d never imagined possible (sounds hyperbolic, I know, but it’s true). I got an old schwinn, paint chipping off and no way to identify it other than how gnarly it looked, for 75 dollars from a friend. I was on my way.
After spending a year in Chicago I decided to come back to Kansas City to try and save money for my next adventure. So here I was back in town with no ties to any sort of cycling community or even any friends who rode bikes. But, that was two years ago and slowly I began to see that there were quite a few people propelling themselves about town. I found a place in the city, got a new bike on Craigslist (which is my LOVE), and found a job not far from home (key for living a vehicleless existence). It was time to hit the streets and meet my city face to face.
Next time I’ll get into how I found the cycling scene here in KC and about what it means to me.
I’m excited to explore the city with all of you. I plan on using this as an excuse to get out and research our beloved city more in depth and with more passion than I have previously. Although I grew up just 30 minutes from the city I hadn’t begun to really see its beauty or complexity until recently. Biking has changed the way I see my world and I hope that through this outlet I can help others change the way they view theirs.