The Curious Urbanite learns about Bike Commuting


The best Christmas present I got last year was my Trek hybrid 7.1. I, as a curious urbanite, had long been envious of those hip, healthy people navigating traffic on their bicycles, faster than pedestrians and more agile than cars. Locking up the bike and waiting at the table while the rest of us circled downtown looking for parking.

Not to mention my growing concern about carbon emissions.

I knew how to ride a bike…but I wanted to use it as a mode of transportation. Not a vacation novelty.

Finally, equipped with my sturdy, versatile bicycle, I have been slowly venturing into the world of commuter biking, photographing the ways that riding has changed my surroundings.

1)  My question is no longer, “is there parking?” It’s “is there railing?”

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2) Without a place to lock it up, you have to just take it inside. If the establishment has a problem with it, they need to get a bike rack. We have a bike rack inside.

On the other hand, while you have to valet a car, you can coat check a bike.

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3) Narrow stairwells + doors that open outward = problematic.

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4) I bought the most obnoxious helmet I could find, to compensate for my sensible bike.


5) There are definitely types of cyclists. You can guess which one I am (this is Lewis’s bike, but it illustrates a broader truth):

Yuppie bike

6) Unfortunately I got a flat tire once. Fortunately Lewis was around. Unfortunately he was in the Jeep. Fortunately we were  at the Pearl.

iPhone upload May 23 2013 015 iPhone upload May 23 2013 0167) And while it has solved many of my transit woes…riding a bike did little to alleviate the transit woe that is Fiesta.

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8) This is always sort of in flux, but really bike commuting changed how I believe tax dollars should be spent. I’m more aware of a lot of things: bad roads, incomplete removal of train tracks, bad drivers, smelly dumpsters, litter, dangerous intersections, and the dead-zones created by overpasses.

 It should be noted that my little reflective velcro strap that keeps my pant legs out of the gears was given to me by the MPO, who is in charge of all kinds of transportation…I mean, it says something when the people who’s salaries are paid by gas taxes are promoting biking. The people who look at transit alternatives all day.

Also, the MPO’s bike motto includes “Be Predictable.” I love when engineers take on marketing.