I started riding just 10 years ago; well, started again. Like you, I rode a bike as a kid then in college when I couldn’t afford a car. I remember when I stopped riding – it was right after a close encounter with a Cadillac on campus at UCLA. I felt it was too dangerous to be sharing the road in Los Angeles.
Thirty years later, after sitting for too long at my desk, I fretted about my weight and cholesterol levels. Dieting wasn’t working. Heard that before?
Then my brother-in-law suggested I get on a bike instead. I did and wow, what an eye-opener! It was low impact, so my feet, knees and back could handle the effort. And what a gorgeous place to ride! Think of how we all take the Balboa Is. ferry for granted! To have this on-the-water component for most of my bike rides was causing me to pinch myself! What a beautiful place in the world we live! And to be able to bike ride all year long; I discovered paradise.
Then there was trouble in paradise. Sharing the road with automobiles that felt quite entitled to have the whole road to speed to their worthy destinations. To many, a middle-aged cyclist blocking their way was just too much to bear! So the horns blow and the catcalls are hurled. This was a new revelation: in all other parts of my life I am treated with courtesy and respect and I like it that way, but on the bike I would be treated like a miscreant or worse.
When the City of Newport Beach started a Bike Safety Task Force in 2009 I jumped at the opportunity to serve. Since then I’ve learned a lot about politics and resistance to change. One way I felt I could make a difference was to influence public opinion, to educate you when you come to the site; not with my own opinions – what do I know – but through interviews with experts in advocacy and cities where great improvements have been made.
So listen to the interviews and get on a bike. Feel like a kid again.