Bike Love a la Valentine
By: Emelye Sturges, Cycling Infrastructure Sales Manager
February. In Wisconsin I’d consider that the half-way point in the wonderful season we surround ourselves with, winter. Depending on each year, we might receive more or less snow on the ground, but the chill in the air, the salt on the sidewalks, and the scraping of the frost off the car windows will be there to remind you it’s winter. Here’s my take on how I love biking during this time of the year.
A little back story: I live a car-less lifestyle. It was a goal of mine for about three years until I actually pulled the plug and just did it. Did away with the four wheels, the “freedom,” the gas guzzling money hog. There were more days I was frustrated that I was the only person in the vehicle for the commute, the money I was spending on maintaining a vehicle instead of paying off my student loans, and aware of the impact I personally was making on the environment with my commuting habits.
A fix for all those things that stressed me out? Get rid of the car. Easier said than done right? What if it was a snow storm out? What if I had to haul a lot of groceries? What if I wanted to go camping with my friends for the weekend? What about the lack of “freedom”?
I had all these questions and then some. So did my parents and friends.
“Why are you doing this?”
The truth is very simple. I love my bikes. I love the custom features I have added to each to make the bikes mine. I love not worrying about paying for parking when I go see a local band or farmers market because the city of Madison as well as many local businesses do a great job of offering bike parking at their locations. I love getting creative with hauling camping gear or boxes for moving and I love learning how to fix my bike. That in itself is all the freedom and independence I could ask for when it comes to way of commuting.
To round out the whole picture I will say I use other modes of transportation as well. I’m very appreciative for ride hailing business models like Lyft and Uber when the situation calls for it and have got a pretty decent handle on understanding the local bus routes. I also utilize a local car rental service about once a month to visit family that lives a few hours away.
As the story goes, you have to find a way of commuting that works for you. For right now at this stage in my life, living a car ownership free life is one that works for me. Here’s to sharing the love. Happy February, stay warm, and ride on.