I love bicycles. I love everything about them – the freedom I have to go where I please, the exhilaration of riding down hills, the sense of accomplishment of riding back up those hills, the camaraderie I have with other cyclists, even the heart-stopping adrenaline of riding in traffic. Life just seems so much more fun when you get on a bike.
I didn’t always feel this way. Like most people, I began riding a bike when I was a kid – but I generally stuck to the old railway dirt tracks behind our house and never really rode much further than that. Many years later, when my husband and I decided to travel through Europe on the cheap, we planned a cycling trip from London to Venice. Everyone we talked to thought we were ridiculous but 2 weeks before we left, I bought a little Trek hybrid, learned how to ride clipless in the grass across the street (much more forgiving than cement!), loaded up my panniers and we were off. Those 2 months spent on the seat of my bicycle changed my life!
I still enjoy touring (and would tour my whole life if I didn’t have other responsibilities) but I’m really loving life as an urban cyclist. When I lived in Edmonton in Canada I would ride all year (that means even in -40 degree winters, with snow and ice!) and I learned to appreciate the small things: the squeak of my tires on the crunchy snow, the cold wind that made my eyelashes freeze together but also made my cheeks nice and rosy red, the knowing looks and small waves I would exchange with other bundled up winter cyclists. I couldn’t believe I’d been missing out on all this fun.
As I move now to a different kind of winter riding, I am impressed with the sheer volume of cyclists on the streets of Wellington. I see so many commuters tackling the hills after a long day of work and I’ve met some great folks by just talking about bicycles. I’m also happy to see that there are people who are taking action on some of the issues that cyclists face. It looks like there’s a great community and I look forward to meeting and working with Wellington’s 2-wheeled riders. I’m also excited to discover some of those secret routes and beautiful places that only cyclists know about. This place is so beautiful, I feel so lucky that my bike and I can explore it together.