Reprinted here is a message I received this morning, from a member of my local bike group The Bad Ass Bicycle Ride(rs). I asked Layne if I could share it on my blog to not only highlight his experiences but also the kindness that can be found within the bicycle community. Enjoy!
Hello and greetings from a fellow BABRer.
I just finished
reading your latest blog post and I wanted to take a minute and
encourage you as you continue your journey of making your bicycle your
primary means of transportation.
About 3 years ago, as I drove
home from work my car stopped running. Just stopped. I pushed it to
the curb, and called my wife who came and used our other car to push it
I know nothing about cars, but I new that I needed to get
to work the next day and that my wife needed our working car. So the
next morning I became a bicycle commuter. I was out of shape and my
work is just under 3 1/2 miles from our house and my shift began at
It was September, and I had no idea what was wrong with the car. So the next morning I woke up, and bicycled to work.
We did not have a lot of disposable income to pour into fixing the
broken car. So I continued bicycling to work. At the time my wife and I
worked out a deal where I bicycled 3 to 4 days out of the week, and I
used our lone car the other two days.
And Winter approached I
wondered how I would get to work. I explored how long it would take me
to walk to work. I also went online looking at groups in the Midwest
who bicycle all year 'round. These website were helpful, and one person
even wrote me back personally and was very helpful in the advice she
gave. So I entered Winter as a bicyclist.
And I made it through my first Winter.
As time went on I began biking 5 days a week. It got easier, I felt
healthier. --And the broken car sat. I used it as a greenhouse of
sorts to try and start plants for my garden. I also used it to dry
basil from my garden.
Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Spring.
Summer. Fall. Winter. Spring. Summer. And then my Mom, who lives in
Southern California, called saying she bought a new car and asked if I
wanted her old one. So August of last year my son and I flew to Long
Beach and picked up the car.
My only regret in getting the car
is that I no longer bicycle commute. I know, I know... I could-- oh,
but it makes life so much easier (i.e. lazier.)
I never did get the broken car fixed; I ended up giving it to a friend who had a need for it--and new how to fix cars.
Actually I hope to return to the bicycle commute this Spring--I felt better when I was bicycling and loved being on it.
My time as a daily bicycle commuter I discovered some things:
-Our weather is not as extreme as some people like to think it is.
-Riding in snow is FUN! It makes me feel like a little kid again.
-I can push myself through life obstacles.
-You see things on a bicycle that you miss while driving a car.
-Bicycling isn't really that inconvenient, it just makes you move a little slower... and that is not such a bad thing.
-I can get to work just as face on a bicycle as I can driving a car. Even faster, if I have to scrape windows.
-The bicycle community is diverse and there are so many fun facets to it.
Have fun. You are doing great. And yes, there will still be days
where it feels miserable... But don't give up, it gets easier. And you
will probably find that on those occasions where you do not bicycle that
you miss it.
And as you bicycle commute you will find that
there are others getting around that way too, and there is a sense of
camaraderie as you wave at each other.
What can I say? The bicycle community is in general just a superior
bunch of people and the community that we all need can be found within
it. I feel encouraged and renewed by the spirit of people that
reach out to me.