On My Upcoming Bikey Anniversary

Every day is good.

Every breath is good.

Every moment is a chance to turn something bad into something good.

While it’s not verbatim, that was the message from today’s amazing yoga class. A significant amount of hip opening throughout class opened up my emotions—those reassuring words at the end of the class settled in like a friend’s reassuring hand on my shoulder.

It is with those words, then, that I welcome an upcoming three-year anniversary. One is the anniversary of my current job. More notably, though, is my personal bikey anniversary!

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After a brief (REALLY brief) stint in Portland, Ore., I returned to Chattanooga three years ago with overflowing gusto and enthusiasm to be the change, through bicycling as transportation, I witnessed in the Northwest. I do love a challenge, and the South is littered with challenges, as a woman, as a young person, as an independent free thinker and as a seeker who chooses to live by bicycle and as a pedestrian.

My cyclocommuting started slowly. I lived with my parents for three months or so and didn’t have the lung or leg capacity to crank up the big hill they live on. More often, though, I would coast down the hill to work, my basket rattling along on my hybrid commuter, and get a ride home with my Dad. Eventually I moved to the bottom of the hill, and have since lived in another neighborhood before most recently graduating back to a hilly commute.

I now welcome the chance to ride uphill, for many reasons, just as I welcome the challenge I face every morning when I take off pedaling…when I shift into my fancy-pants big front chain ring, my heart pounding, a silly grin on my face, almost beating car traffic down a hill. I welcome the challenge lugging a ton of produce up a hill, or in wedges after a long day, too tired to even THINK about the perceived challenge.

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Learning to live by bicycle hasn’t been the easiest decision or process I’ve ever experienced. I couldn’t do it without the support of family and friends, and it’s not always pleasant. But it certainly has its rewards—drinking in the sight of my beautiful city first thing in the morning; being the only person on the road at night, looking up at the stars on a quiet neighborhood street; stopping to chat with friends on the way home; planning adventures in and around town.

Living by bicycle certainly isn’t the first challenge I’ve faced, and it won’t be the last. I welcome each one—each day, each breath, each moment—as a chance to turn something bad into something good.

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