So I finally got around to buying a bike. I’m a huge pedestrian/transit fan, and biking seemed like the next logical step. I wanted to write this post to share some of thoughts from my first day riding.
- Riding home I was originally scared shitless. Having really haven’t ridden a bike since I was in college, and never haven ridden in a big city street setting, I was quite nervous on the way home. Don’t get me wrong, Chicago has bike lanes on all the major roads to give me some breathing space. But until you cruise down S. Western with traffic zipping by at or around the 35 mph speed limit, its hard to prepare yourself.
- I picked up an older road bike. Maybe its because I haven’t ridden in years, or maybe its because I used to ride a mountain bike, but balancing on a road bike seemed a little different. So I spent some time wobbling. Also very nervous going between moving traffic and parked cars in the bike lanes. Kept getting worried I’d weeble-wobble over.
- This old bike had toe clips. These are not cool when you add in the above issue. I was so busy trying not to fall over, or be freaked out by cars, that the last thing I wanted to worry about was getting moving and slipping my toes in. Needless to say, as soon as I got home, I took those suckers off.
- After the initial 5 mile ride home and taking off the toe clips, I went for a little 4 mile ride to take some money out of the ATM. This ride was much more enjoyable and I felt a lot more comfortable.
So far so good. I spent most of Saturday evening thinking about going for a ride today (Sunday), and I honestly felt like a little kid with a new toy. Unfortunately it was raining today, so frowny-face here. I’m excited to be able to see more of the city in a different fashion. I also enjoyed the thrill of covering a lot more territory quickly and being able to move faster than cars on Milwaukee in the afternoon.
Now I just have to find a seat that doesn’t obliterate my sit bones. Special shoutouts to the Working Bikes Co-Op (where the bike came from, very helpful guys) and Uptown Bikes (who in the previous weekend took the time to talk to me for 10 minutes about the various things to look for…I’ll come back and buy something to rewards you guys, I swear!)
How about you other bikers? I’m already feeling more comfortable in city traffic, but any tips for this new city rider?