Why I Bike

30

Apr

Why I Bike

Highlighting people who choose to ride their bikes for various uses and reasons!

Barry

 I joke I went from 8 million (New York City) to 8000 (Davis CA) in 1961 just as the University of California there was planning a vast expansion fully incorporating bicycling and discouraging cars.  I didn’t have a car so did all my travel by bike as did most others.  Especially in contrast to my NY commute (long subway rides or horrible traffic and parking) I saw the power of bicycling to be healthy, cheap, non-polluting, and fun, and it became a lifetime activity and interest.   Almost 60 years later I still ride, mostly recreation now, and still interested in promoting biking, especially as part of the solution to our health and environmental crises.

Betty B

Betty the commuter
Betty the tourist

Moving to Boston in the early 1970’s forced me to consider transportation alternatives as a way to get to work.

Besides traveling back and forth to work every day I had to be able to get crosstown a few times a week during the work day. Though the MBTA was usually adequate I found cycling to be more efficient and less costly. Investing in a simple commuter bike and taking care of it was far less expensive than the monthly trolley cost. I bought a Raleigh C50 from a local bike shop. Later, I moved to new jobs in Connecticut and then Rhode Island with a well-founded habit of biking to work. Now in 2020 that bike remains one of my favorite bikes to ride.

Then my cycling began to develop into my favorite recreation as well. There is nothing I enjoy more than cycling for a week through some beautiful country with a few hundred historical sites to visit.

Cycling is just so much fun. Yes it can be hard work (hills, really big multi-mile hills), frustrating (multiple flat tires in 1 day), challenging (93.7 miles to the next campground) and messy (all day rain mixed with hail), but at the end of the day you’ve pedaled someplace….a new place to explore and meet friendly folks.

Why do I ride?

Riding my bike is fun and satisfying, economical and eye opening and educational and you can eat all you want all day.

Molly

Bicycling is the best way to be an observer yet still cover miles. I can see every blade of grass and appreciate each individual leaf on a tree while covering a lot of miles.

I am a life-long bicycle commuter and I’ve been known to enjoy a bike tour or two. Sure, I enjoy the savings (no cost parking and no cost for fuel, but my primary motivator is having a lighter impact on mother earth while being an everyday observer.

It’s hard to believe that when I was a 5-year-old girl I used to complain when my dad would drag me on the rail trail. Now the bicycle is an integral part of my  life. I see small children whining when their parents encourage them to take part in a family ride. I want to tell these parents that they are giving their children a gift. Not every child will grow up wanting to bike everywhere but if we can expose them early on, at least they will be able to make the choice when they are adults.

The fresh air and simplicity of riding my bike is what keeps me coming back to the two wheels. I bike to work year round and try to do as many errands by bicycle that I can. I enjoy getting out of the city and getting on the bike path when I can but I equally appreciate just wandering on back roads in Providence and Pawtucket. 

My favorite organized ride is the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council group ride. I always discover new parts of the state and it is so extremely well organized and it’s a great way to support an awesome organization! 

Biking is part of my identity. There have been times in my life when I had to take a break from bike commuting and that is when I realized just how much the bicycle gives me. I am more energized, balanced and in touch with my community when I fit in a daily ride. 

I fantasize about bicycling the rolling hills of Ireland but for now I’m perfectly content riding around Rhode Island. There is always something new to see and you don’t have to travel far. 

For newbies, I would suggest staying on quiet back roads until you feel comfortable integrating with cars, and do so gradually. Unfortunately, many drivers are preoccupied with their phones so I always ride with the assumption that the driver doesn’t see me. This often means being a little more aggressive and taking up a lane in order to be seen. 

Daria

15 years ago, I needed to find exercise I liked. I went from “i don’t bike” to “100 miles a week” over the course of 2 weeks. since then i bike a lot.

What motivates you to get out on your bike? any excuse to ride is a good excuse. exercise, errands or recreation all work for me.

Do you participate in organized group rides? yes, but not often enough. Friday Providence Bike Jam rides have usually not worked as I’ve mostly needed to be out of town on Fridays. The Woony River Ride and the 4 Bridges Ride were both enjoyable; I did the Boston Marathon Midnight Ride in 2018 and it was a cold wet slog but I’m glad I did.

What does biking mean to you? i would have no clue how to manage my mental and physical health if i could not bike

What is the next thing you want to do with your bike? i want to do a long trail ride, and that probably means one of Woonsocket, Bristol or Summit.

Alana

Are you new to biking or has this activity been a part of your life forever? I’m new to it! I’ve been riding since November 🤗

What motivates you to get out on your bike? As I’ve built up my fitness, I now bike for almost all my errands and rarely use my car. I biked to work, which is why I bought a bike, since I live < 1 mile from my office. Now I bike everywhere! Anything less than 10 miles away, I’ll generally bike if it’s daytime and not raining.

Do you participate in organized group rides? I never have, but I want to!

What does biking mean to you? Biking has a big economic impact on my life. I feel like I save a lot of money by not using my car, and I think there are definitely economic benefits to better long term health! I enjoy it immensely and I’ve enjoyed planning my bike rides around completing errands.

What is the next thing you want to do with your bike? I am likely moving to Israel, so my fitness goal is to bike from the Mediterranean to the dead sea in one day. I would like to practice for this by biking to the state line and back!

Gonzalo

Biking has been a part of my life forever. As a young kid in the 80s, a bicycle = freedom. I don’t ride nearly as much as I’d like to, but I am steadily increasing my biking time. This includes riding to work and just getting around the city.

Went on a ride with PVD Bike Jam a few months back and enjoyed it immensely. Looking forward to those starting again. Great positive vibes and fun people.

Biking is an escape from my routine, an opportunity to breathe deep and engage my entire body in something that I enjoy.

I want to increase my daily riding.

Bart

Are you new to biking or has this activity been a part of your life forever? Lifetime about 55 years

What motivates you to get out on your bike? Recreation and for exercise. Love group rides Do you participate in organized group rides? Yes. Pvd jam. NBW. Weekly small group rides

What does biking mean to you? Gave me the opportunity to be friends and interact with folks of all walks of life.

What is the next thing you want to do with your bike? Touring would be fun

Stevie

I started cycling regularly when I first moved off campus my sophomore year of college.

What motivates you to get out on your bike? Do you commute to work or school? Do errands? Go to restaurants or bars? Ride to arts events? Ride to the grocery store? Ride with friends? Bike recreationally? Do you go on bike tours? All of the above.

Cycling has been my main mode of transportation for most of the past three years. I rode my first tour in September 2018 along the Natchez Trace Trail and hope to tour the Washington Secondary Rail Trail or Erie Canal Trail next. This week I began working on my bicycle delivering food across Providence and I’m hooked on the challenge.

Do you participate in organized group rides? I went to the inaugural Providence Bike Jam and went to something similar in Buffalo. It’s a great way to meet new friends and find new shortcuts or party stumps.

What does biking mean to you? Cycling has been very important to me, it’s gotten me through the lowest parts of my life and if I couldn’t do it than I would probably become intolerable. Experiencing new places on a bike is bliss to me, I’ve done it in 3 different countries now and it’s my favorite way to get around. Cycling has saved me money and made me money, and I wouldn’t have been able to work a lot of jobs if not for cycling.

What is the next thing you want to do with your bike? I want to go out on my bike every day and do some more deliveries since my other job is on hold for awhile. This summer I plan on riding a couple 100+ mile tours as well.

John S

I returned to biking years ago when I decided to bike commute to the office. I had been casual biking for years, usually on a bike path with the family.

What motivates you to get out on your bike? Do you commute to work or school? Do errands? Go to restaurants or bars? Ride to arts events? Ride to the grocery store? Ride with friends? Bike recreationally? Do you go on bike tours? I do all of the above except commute to work. My latest tour was the Erie Canal for a week with one of my sons. I ride in as many casual group rides as possible. I also bring my video camera to document the ride.

Biking is an integral part of my life. Whenever I run into a friend or acquaintance, the first question I am always asked is, “did you bike here.” More often than not the answer is yes. Economically? I not only track all my riding, I also track automobile mileage. During the spring, summer and fall, my average is around 100 miles a month driving. There is an asterisk however. Being a soccer fan who loves road trips, I do not count my miles to Gillette or other stadiums. If and when I can no longer bike, I would have to live with that like I have done with other things I loved. Play soccer, tennis, run road races etc.

What is the next thing you want to do with your bike? I no longer at 70, plan very much in advance. I am known as “amidnightrider” dot com if your interested.

Bronxie

My name is Bronxie. I live in Smithfield, I am 17 years old, and I am a bike buddy. My sole purpose, the reason for my existence, is to ride on a bike.

When my human and I ride our bike, it is usually for recreation. My human tells me that riding a bike reminds her of when she was a kid, and she loves how freeing and energizing it is. She really enjoys getting some exercise along the way, too.

Sometimes we go for rides on roads. We’ll decide how far we want to ride, and then pick a loop that’s close to the mileage we want. It’s important that the loop includes a place where we can get ice cream. Also, we prefer not-too-hilly rides, because my legs can’t reach the pedals so my human has to do all the work herself. But I’m an awesome cheerleader when we encounter a steep hill!!

Most times we go for rides on bike paths. We’ve decided that riding on busy roads with fast cars buzzing by isn’t as much fun as we want our bicycling adventure to be.

Fortunately, Rhode Island has really great bike paths!! We especially like the Blackstone River Bike Path (because it’s near where we live, and it’s great for seeing wildlife along the river, especially turtles and herons!), the East Bay Bike Path (because we love Colt State Park in Bristol), and the South County Bike Path (an excellent way to get to Narragansett and the beach!).

We have some pals who like to go on overnight tours, and we’ve gone with them a few times. There’s a lot more to think about with overnight trips. The best challenge is deciding what ABSOLUTELY has to come on the bicycle. If the bike load gets too heavy, my human starts whining and then I don’t get to eat dinner 😉 jk

We’ve gone on overnights on Cape Cod (a combination of roads / bike paths) from Bourne to Chatham, and another time from Bourne to Falmouth. We’ve ridden the Minuteman Trail into Boston for an overnight to see the fireworks on the 4th of July. We’ve ridden our bikes in Brittany (France) twice, and we’ve ridden weeklong rides on the Erie Canal Trail in New York, the Katy Trail in Missouri and The Gap trail in Pennsylvania / Maryland.

My human says it’s an amazing feeling of accomplishment to finish any ride, single day or multiple-day. But a multiple-day ride means you ride every day, rain or shine – so finishing the ride on a rainy day is extra sweet. You can trust her. She definitely wouldn’t make that up!!!

Jerry

Are you new to biking or has this activity been a part of your life forever? Cycling has always been social, since early childhood, even before physical and mental fitness became regular priorities. It started with bouts of “tire tag’ in the cul de sac, onto sprint races down the street, then discoveries and adventures beyond the neighborhood streets.

What motivates you to get out on your bike? Motivation to bicycle anywhere is almost a default. If there were enough infrastructure available, I might not own an automobile. I’ve cycled to “all of the above” as often as possible, and those are satisfying moments. Muscle powered mobility is most healthy for humans and our environment.

Do you participate in organized group rides? I prefer to ride my bike all over Rhode Island, New England, and the world–alone and in groups. The local group rides organized by bicycle shops and community groups are a great way to get introduced to new peoples and get more familiar with new places. For example, on Aquidneck Island there are regular weekend social rides for the avid cyclist (Ten Speed Spokes, TSS) to special event rides–Longest & Shortest Day Rides (TSS) to community action events like Farm-to-Farm, Daffodil Days, Memorial, and Moonlight Rides organized by Bike Newport. These and other events, like Newport Folk Festival, offer the chances to expose others to the fun of bicycling together.

What does biking mean to you? Bicycling continues to play a significant role in my life. One of my first jobs was delivering newspapers to more than 200 households. Physical and mental fitness are maintained at high quality levels because rides become regular times to exercise, meditate, and more. Riders know their neighborhoods and surroundings. Your physical senses and social sensitivities stay sharp, and not just from avoiding traffic hazards to stay safe. If I could no longer bicycle, I would be challenged to find as high quality enjoyment, indoors or outdoors.

What is the next thing you want to do with your bike? Some of the next global places I will cycle will be Canada and Central Europe. I have been planning self supported trips not only from Burlington to Montreal, but also the EuroVelo routes across Italy, Czech, Austria, Hungary, and Croatia. Some of the regional places include the East Coast Greenway–segments from Maine to Florida, Other regional rides are the GAP/C&O Canal Paths in PA, MD, D.C. More local places include Eastern Connecticut routes like The Airline Trail and Natchaug State Forest.

Kelsey

Hello fellow cyclists, my name is Kelsey Lynch and I am the Pedestrian/Bicycle Program Coordinator for the Office on Highway Safety at the Rhode Island Department of Transportation. Professional Title aside, cycling is an activity that has been with me for most of my personal life as well. I learned how to ride a bicycle when I was around 7years old. My father taught me how to ride on a red Raleigh. I lived on a very busy road and in order to gain more independence and ride further than my driveway, I picked up the skill quickly. As an adult I have continued on in this passion and take advantage of the many beautiful bike paths that Rhode Island has to offer. Last year I treated myself to a brand-new white Bianchi Sienna that I absolutely love. I am lucky that I also get to advocate and strengthen my skills as a cyclist in my professional realm as well. Last year I became a League Certified Instructor (LCI) through the league of American bicyclists. I also worked on the rollout of a brand new in school elementary bicycle education program for 4th and 5th grade students. It was truly a rewarding year both professionally and personally. I look forward to taking this skill further in my life and next year I would love to do the 5-borough tour in NYC as a goal!

John D

I wouldn’t always have considered myself a biker.

I first learned to ride six blocks and 30 or so years from where I sit now, on a root-cracked sidewalk on the West End of Providence. It was training wheels at first, then dad running alongside me with one steadying hand on the seat. Then that split second of elation you’ve seen in a hundred home movies, a child realizing the secret knowledge of how to balance on two wheels.

Races up and down the street with neighborhood kids, occasional trips with my brothers and uncle to the East Bay path, the bike never graduated beyond a toy taken out on occasion for kicks. Not yet essential, and it got less so as the years wheeled on by.

School. Desk job. Beer. TV. Sedentary lifestyle. High cholesterol. Dr.’s recommendations. You’ve heard this part before. Gym? Gave it a shot. Boring. Running? Hard on the knees, and boring. If a coworker hadn’t organized a Ride to Work day for Bike Month I might not have dug out the dusty, rusty, department store mountain bike I had bought some years ago only to ride twice and then bury in the basement. But I did, and using it to replace 10 miles of my 30 mile commute was the second time I felt an intense revelation on a bike.

Why was I sucking in the chemical air of my car’s vents when I could breathe fresh instead? Why was I caging myself in when I could be free outside? Clichés I know, but a jolt of clarity to me, and the beginning of a new lifestyle. I started to resent driving, I was getting healthier, and it was not boring.

But how to ensure that it stayed interesting so I didn’t fall back into bad habits? 

I have a project that I’ve been working on for a while now, a map of Rhode Island generated entirely by the GPS data from bike rides that I’ve done. With that in my head, I’m always looking for new roads to ride, and different routes and shortcuts get prioritized. It’ll keep me busy for years. 

Also, inspired by Boston Bike Party’s nighttime group rides, Providence Bike Jam is a monthly socially-oriented party ride that I help organize with a crew of volunteers. It’s nice to not just ride for exercise, and groups like this also help tighten the community, and has helped me meet some life-long friends. 

Biking is good, healthy, fun. 

Anonymous 1

Are you new to biking or has this activity been a part of your life forever? Life long biker Bike for a number of reasons

What motivates you to get out on your bike? Do you commute to work or school? Do errands? Go to restaurants or bars? Ride to arts events? Ride to the grocery store? Ride with friends? Bike recreationally? Do you go on bike tours? All of the above? All of the above

Do you participate in organized group rides? not recently tough I have like the socializing

What does biking mean to you? Does it have an economic impact on your life? a lot, saved me a boat load of money. No biking =s less liberty

What is the next thing you want to do with your bike? maintenance, Washington DC, the option to bike is so obvious it is overlooked

Anonymous 2

Why did you start cycling? To escape an abusive home.

What motivates you to get out on your bike? Mental health. Stress relief.

Do you participate in organized group rides? Why do you like them?Occasionally do club rides. Like to see my friends.

What does biking mean to you? “Biking” means nothing to me. I hate the word biking. I am not a biker. Cycling has saved my life. The bike industry enhances my income.

What is the next thing you want to do with your bike? Where’s the next place you want to cycle? What is the one thing you would tell someone who is bike-curious? WTF is bike-curious? I’d like to get back to Quebec to ride.

Elijah

I’ve been riding for about three years now! I started riding because it an affordable way of commuting.

What motivates you to get out on your bike? I loved commuting to school every day. I think commuting to work/school is a perfect way to wake up and feel energized for the day. I also love riding just to adventure and go new places, especially beautiful places. One of the best feelings is burning a bunch of calories on a ride and then stopping at a place to eat amazing food on the ride or after the ride!

Do you participate in organized group rides? Yea riding with other people is one of the best things to do on a bike. Whether it’s on a slow casual ride where you are talking or on a ride where you guys are suffering together and sharing that experience. It’s always more fun for me to ride with other people.

What does biking mean to you? Biking to me is a super fun way to get out and exercise and explore wherever I am. I’m also a very competitive person so doing bike races are a super fun way of competing. If i couldn’t bike I would probably go crazy!

What is the next thing you want to do with your bike? The next big thing I want to do is do a bike tour. I’m planning to do a tour from Providence to St George Utah after this pandemic. I would tell someone new to cycling to just go out there and ride and enjoy the scenery. At first don’t worry about how far you go or how fast you’re going. Just riding is all that matters.

Bob

I’ve been bicycling seriously since the year I gave away my car and moved from the suburbs into Boston. Commuted by bike for a few years before moving to Providence and commuting by train, instead.

What motivates you to get out on your bike? I like to bike (or walk) wherever I can. I’m hoping someday to find I’ve forgotten how to drive a car.

What does biking mean to you? Does it have an economic impact on your life? Sure! I don’t need a car. Cars are expensive, am I right?

What is the next thing you want to do with your bike? I’m that guy on the East Bay Bike Path who stops abruptly, pulls out binoculars to spy on a little green heron, American widgeon, a flock of brants….

Mike

I’ve been commuting by bicycle since 2006. Cycling became my primary mode of transport when I was living in on campus housing and couldn’t keep a car there. I found it to be much easier and more enjoyable, so I kept doing it afterwards.

What motivates you to get out on your bike? My wife and I share one car, so I bike or take public transit just about everywhere I go on my own: work, groceries, visiting friends. I also occasionally go on recreational rides around Roger Williams Park or Scituate Reservoir

Do you participate in organized group rides? I’ll do some charity rides when a group of friends makes a team or a friend organizes one.

What does biking mean to you? Does it have an economic impact on your life? My wife and I had a baby a year ago and had to really adjust our budget. Only having one car to pay for and maintain has made this easier than it would have been otherwise. I see cycling as a way of leveling the playing field for many people – the cost of car ownership really adds up. And of course it’s a great way for kids to get around on their own before they are old enough to drive.

What is the next thing you want to do with your bike? I’ve been wanting to go on a multi-day bike tour for a while but have never gotten a chance to do it. I would still love to do this someday with my family and a few friends. Not sure yet where I’d like to go, but I’d want to keep it fairly simple and start from home, perhaps going along some of the East Coast Greenway.

Anonymous 3

Are you new to biking or has this activity been a part of your life forever? Always been into riding in some form.

What motivates you to get out on your bike? Fitness, riding with friends, charity rides, racing.

Do you participate in organized group rides? NBX Thursday group ride in Narragansett used to be a great part of every summer.

What does biking mean to you? It’s my fun, fitness and friends. No economic impact.

What is the next thing you want to do with your bike? Big solo miles for May, doing the Strava climbing challenge. Planning some long rides with friends. Hoping there’s a cyclocross season in the Fall, but it seems unlikely.

Liza

My parents taught me to love biking from a young age, but it wasn’t until I was a very angsty high school student that I learned to appreciate the mental health benefits and independence it gave me. In college I became a transportation rider, biking to get to class, work, groceries, and for my social life. As a young woman who would often go from place to place solo and late into the night, I realized that I was much safer on a bike than walking – that really opened me up to the social justice aspects of bicycling.

What motivates you to get out on your bike? Do you commute to work or school? Do errands? Go to restaurants or bars? Ride to arts events? Ride to the grocery store? Ride with friends? Bike recreationally? Do you go on bike tours? All of the above! But I need a destination in mind, even if it’s just the post office or an ice cream cone. I don’t ride just to “put in the miles” – there has to be a concrete purpose to the trip.

Do you participate in organized group rides? Yes! Currently my favorite is Providence Bike Jam, which I help organize. Riding in groups is SO much fun – a party on wheels. It combines my two favorite things: community and movement.

What does biking mean to you? Biking means everything to me! It’s my passion, my career, my social life…. I should probably develop some other interests….

What is the next thing you want to do with your bike? Where’s the next place you want to cycle? What is the one thing you would tell someone who is bike-curious? I really want to do more bikepacking, especially on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route and the Adriatic Crest Route. To those who are bike-curious and don’t know where to start: reach out to your bikey friends! Believe me, they are dying to help you out and get you going. Don’t be shy.

Betty H

I’m not new to biking, but I only started racing bikes three years ago. I’ve been commuting to school by bicycle since seventh grade — I’m a Junior in high school now. In ninth grade I started racing cyclocross with 1PVD and have continued to do so.

What motivates you to get out on your bike? Do you commute to work or school? Do errands? Go to restaurants or bars? Ride to arts events? Ride to the grocery store? Ride with friends? Bike recreationally? Do you go on bike tours? All of the above, but replace bike tours with racing.

Do you participate in organized group rides? Not right now! But in normal times, yes. 1PVD practice, among other things.

What does biking mean to you? Does it have an economic impact on your life? I win money sometimes.

What is the next thing you want to do with your bike? Once “school” is over today I’m going to go on a ride.

Jack

I have been an active cyclist my entire adult life starting as a college student looking for a better way to get around, to finding trails in the woods, to finding overnights fun, to touring unfamiliar places. I currently use bicycles to run errands, share my experience with my kids, and of course to explore new, hidden (from me) places out my backdoor.

What motivates you to get out on your bike? Do you commute to work or school? Do errands? Go to restaurants or bars? Ride to arts events? Ride to the grocery store? Ride with friends? Bike recreationally? Do you go on bike tours? All of the above? Yes.

Do you participate in organized group rides? Which ones? Why do you like them?

I am not great at participating in group rides. I see why people enjoy them, but I am best at getting my riding when the opportunity arises. That’s why I always keep my bike in good working order and keep my helmet and tool kit where I can grab it and go.

What does biking mean to you? Cycling is my meditation and the place where I breathe. I find the pace on a bicycle to be what I need to get my body and mind synced up to the world around me. On a bicycle, i connect with the realities of weather, topography, physics, nutrition, decay, and everything else. Side note: Riding out your back door is also a good way to understand and appreciate how you and your neighbors are all connected. One neighborhood flows into the next forever. Make eye contact, smile and occasionally wave. Think of these things when you vote. Bicycles 2020.

What is the one thing you would tell someone who is bike-curious? Bicycles are tools for mobility. Get a bike that fits and learn the basics of how it works. Be open minded. Getting around this world can be something other than a traffic jam. Let yourself have fun.

Bari

I wasn’t a regular cyclist until I moved to Newport 10 years ago – tourist town in August. Yikes. This town was nuts. Way too many cars and, not for nothing, the cycling wasn’t great, either. A Wild West on the roads. But clearly biking won out. 7 square miles? I could bike or walk anywhere. Anyone who know me, knows that’s when the trouble started 😉

What motivates you to get out on your bike? Do you commute to work or school? Do errands? Go to restaurants or bars? Ride to arts events? Ride to the grocery store? Ride with friends? Bike recreationally? Do you go on bike tours? I bike everywhere. Short distance regularly, longer distance when I can. I ride to the supermarket. I ride to restaurants and movie theaters. I ride to black tie events in heels and taffeta. I ride to clear my head. And all of my vacations lately are on my bicycle. It’s my peace. It’s my sanity. I take my time, get there when I get there, and talk to people, cows, and myself along the way.

Do you participate in organized group rides? I love the celebration rides with a big group taking over the road and ringing bells and dressing up. I enjoy group rides, but I also enjoy solitude. Solitude often wins when I have down time.

What does biking mean to you? I have some bracelets that say “Inhale beauty. Exhale love.” When I saw them, I thought – Oh my, that’s what I do on my bike. I know it sounds cheesy, but it’s true for me. When I’m pedaling, I breathe in the things that are beautiful around me, the air, the fragrance, the community, and it calms me in these unusual times. I breathe out love. For myself and my world. And I imagine that when each of us downshifts, we contribute to a healthier happier existence for all.

What else do you want us to know? I’ve had some amazing long bike rides – where I get to know myself and new people and the world we live in. Québec, the Maritimes, France, Holland, Belgium, Georgia, Florida, Cuba. I really (really) want to bike in Spain. And in Colombia – where Cyclovia started. I want to bring the embrace of biking back with me. I want our cities to embrace people biking and walking and understand that simplifying and loving where we live is a solution to our challenges. What would I tell someone who is bike curious? Come for a ride. Breathe the air and feel yourself one with the places you travel through. I’d tell them that I knew I had arrived in Provence because I could smell the rosemary and lavender on the breeze. If they sigh at the thought, they’ll get on a bike, and might stay on, like me.

Angel

I have been riding bikes basically my whole life. I started learning around 5 or 6. Yes, it has had an impact on my life, sometimes it’s just been my transportation to go somewhere and back home.


What motivates you to get out on your bike? Do you commute to work or school? Do errands? Go to restaurants or bars? Ride to arts events? Ride to the grocery store? Ride with friends? Bike recreationally? Do you go on bike tours? It’s usually all of the above. I just don’t go to school on a bike.


Do you participate in organized group rides? I do sometimes go to rideouts in the summer that are planned. I like them because I see a lot of tricks.


What does biking mean to you? I share a lot of memories with family and friends riding bikes late night to other places.


What is the next thing you want to do with your bike? Next thing I’d
probably do is go out bike riding with my friends to go eat somewhere.

Harry

I learned how to ride a bike about four years ago. I never learned as a kid, and once I reached adulthood, I was always afraid to try again. I finally had a “screw it, let’s do it!” moment, and my friend Alex patiently taught me over the course of about an hour. An hour?! What was I afraid of? Over the next year, Alex and my coworkers took me out on local bike paths, and eventually on small group rides. They helped me build my confidence (and convinced me spend a lot of money on gear).

What motivates you to get out on your bike? I commute to work several days a week, usually meeting up with a coworker on the way to drag me up the local hills. I love to ride with others – whether it be a commute, an organized group ride, or a casual ride with friends. A few of my friends are into bike camping, so we have done a few short tours in RI and VT, and I hope to do a lot more.

Do you participate in organized group rides? I enjoy the weekly NBW club rides; they always have well-curated routes exploring RI/MA/CT. There’s so many beautiful spots I wouldn’t have known about otherwise, and it’s full of great people. Providence Bike Jam is my new favorite monthly casual ride, and the Woony River Ride has always been my favorite charity ride.

What does biking mean to you? How has your life changed because of biking? Biking has certainly changed my life for the better. I’ve always been a tinkerer, and need to know how things work. When I started biking, I saw an ad for Recycle-A-Bike’s Build-A-Bike program, and decided to sign up. What I didn’t know at the time, was my friend Greg Sankey had just gotten a job there as Shop Manager. Greg encouraged me to volunteer and help set up a labeling system for the shop, and maybe help change tires and tubes during their Open Shop program. I ended up meeting some incredibly cool people, and learned more than I ever thought about bikes – a lot more than just changing tubes – and helped lots of people along the way.

What is the next thing you want to do with your bike? The current plan is to build up a better touring bike, and do some gravel grinding and camping in Michigan with my friends. And if you’re looking to get started with cycling: start now! There’s no set path or speed – just enjoy yourself, meet new people, and ride safe.

Kaileigh

I started cycling about 4 years ago. Before that I was very nervous on a bike and felt very nervous around cars so I wasn’t willing to bike either for fun or for recreation.

What motivates you to get out on your bike? I really enjoy bike commuting. Driving to work each day leaves me feeling stressed, biking makes me feel relaxed and refreshed. I find that I am more productive and happy on days that I am able to ride my bike into work, versus days that I have to drive or take the bus. Bike commuting was how I first got into riding my bike, but since then I’ve also fallen in love with camping from my bike. I can pack a lot in a couple panniers, and it’s fun being able to leave the house and get to a campsite without ever needing to get in a car! Lately under quarantine I have been biking a lot with my family. It’s a great way to get fresh air and get out of the house. I recently became a foster parent, and my daughter has joint pain that makes walking for long periods difficult. Biking gives her the ability enjoy exercise and some mobility and freedom too. She’s gotten a lot stronger and faster on her bike, which gives her a lot of confidence in herself.

Do you participate in organized group rides? I participate in PBJ! I love learning new routes around the city and seeing all the nice people and awesome bike lights.

What does biking mean to you? Biking is really important to my health, both mental and physical. It is my main form of exercise. It also provides me with a lot of stress relief and enjoyment.

What is the next thing you want to do with your bike? I would like to ride the Katy trail! Since that’s far and might be logistically difficult, I would also like to do more local bike camping. We’ve biked to Connecticut, Block Island and Cape Cod before, all great trips I would love to try again.

Chris

I biked a lot with my family as a kid but only got back into it about 9 years ago when I moved to an area with a nearby bike trail and that inspired me to get back on one.

What motivates you to get out on your bike? Do you commute to work or school? Do errands? Go to restaurants or bars? Ride to arts events? Ride to the grocery store? Ride with friends? Bike recreationally? Do you go on bike tours? All of the above? All of the above! I do everything from 5 day 400 mile bike tours to riding to the supermarket down the street and everything in between. I am currently trying to ride my bike to every brewery in the state.

Do you participate in organized group rides? I organize group bike rides for the Narragansett Appalachian Mountain Club Young Members group and I participate in PVD Bike Jam, Bike the Night with the mayor, and Dash group rides. They are a great way to make new, outdoorsy friends.

What does biking mean to you? Biking gives me a way to get exercise, meditate, unplug, explore, and reduce my carbon footprint all in one activity. Biking has introduced me to new places and people I might not have known without it and saves me gas money!

What is the next thing you want to do with your bike? I want to learn how to tune up my bike to save money and be able to fix it on the fly. I am planning on cycling the Erie Canal and the Cross Vermont Trail this summer.

Jonesy

Started biking in elementary school to get around my neighborhood. After leaving home I started biking over the Santa Cruz Mountains to visit my family. Then came bike touring! Then came working as a bike messenger! It slowly crept into my life… now it seems like it’s part of practically everything I do.

What motivates you to get out on your bike? Just about every activity in my life gets happier when a bike is involved. I ride for… everything? Commute, groceries and errands, social rides with friends, blow off steam, day trips, visiting the woods, bike tours….

Do you participate in organized group rides? Which ones? PBJ! And impromptu rides with friends whenever the fancy strikes.

What does biking mean to you? Biking brings out the joy in life. There’s nothing like feeling the air sweep over me, feeling connected to my body, gliding down the road, feeling my power carry me to my destination. Riding is one of the only things that can save me from a bad day, and most of my best days involve a ride. Bonus: compared to owning a car it’s basically free!

What is the next thing you want to do with your bike? I’m about to go on an 11-day tour to Vermont and back! It’s a new challenge to do this in the context of social distancing: I’m doing the trip in isolation, not even going into grocery stores. I’m mailing food to pick-up points along the route. It’s a whole new layer of logistics to do this trip while taking precautions to make sure I’m not a vector for coronavirus.

James

I’ve been commuting by bike for almost 20 years – starting in Boston, then Edmonton, Alberta and now in Providence. When I started riding in Boston, I wouldn’t ride if the temperature was below 40 degrees, but once I’d biked through the -30 degree winters of Edmonton, the New England winters were not much of a challenge.

I commute by bike because it’s cheaper than driving, it works a little bit of exercise into my day, and it’s fun! After I had been commuting by bike for a few years, I realized that I was hardly using my car, so I got rid of it which has saved me so much money over the years.

Along with commuting by bike, I use it for running most of my errands and getting around town. I also take long bike rides for fun, up in the hills of northwestern Rhode Island or the farmland in Massachusetts. Riding a bike is a great way to explore all of the hidden corners of our region.

In the last few years, I’ve started doing bike touring – riding from town to town for several days in a row. You get to experience the land in a new way on a bike tour. You’re slow enough that you get to see all of the details, but fast enough that you can see the changes in a landscape. I’m always exhausted at the end of a day of bike touring, but it’s a great feeling knowing that I was able to use the power of my own body to move 50-80 miles.

Chris M

Are you new to biking or has this activity been a part of your life forever?forever

What motivates you to get out on your bike? biking to and from work is a tension reducer. doing errands because it quit owning a car for a while. Being on the bike you get hungry and thirsty. doing every day riding keeps us in shape to do bike touring.

Do you participate in organized group rides? Yes I have more so when younger. occasionally now, like the chatting, the planned route

What does biking mean to you? bike is a quality of life enhancing tool. If I could no longer ride that would be sad. Economically bikes have let me live well and within my means

Karen and Steve

Steve and I are 69 and 67 and have been biking together for many years. We biked for two months in Europe on our honeymoon in 1981 and were able to climb College Hill upon our return. Then we had kids and slacked off got a few years. We started up again regularly about 15 years ago and built up to over 5300 miles in one year. In 2017, I passed out and fell off my bike on the Blackstone bike path and luckily “only” injured a nerve in one eye. That eye has mainly recovered, but since then, we have discovered the joys of tandem biking and have gone that ever since. We have two tandems, a Salsa and a Trek. We ride the Salsa mostly, but we are unable to transport it, so we use the Trek if we need to take it on our car first. This year, especially since the pandemic, we have been riding almost every day and are up to 1380 miles already at the end of May!

Anonymous 4

I have been riding bikes since I was a kid. I was very fortunate to have bikes growing up, I would say it led directly to adult commuting and recreation cycling.

What motivates you to get out on your bike? Fitness, and getting around.

Do you participate in organized group rides? PVD Bike Jam and various others. Its a great way to meet folks and learn about new paths.

What does biking mean to you? Riding a bike saves me money on gas and I get a workout that people pay gym memberships for. Cycling is very important to me and I strongly believe that everyone should be safe and respected when they ride a bike on our roads.

What is the next thing you want to do with your bike? Explore some dirt paths and ride it to the beach.