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Why biking is right for me

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By Francesca Tysse – Collegiate Staff

My biking experience transformed from a hobby to an everyday necessity two summers ago when I began working two jobs and I had no reliable transportation.

I started biking to and from work on a mountain bike which is a more difficult ride on the streets of Grand Rapids compared to a regular street bike. After a summer and a half of cruising on my mountain bike I switched to a Schwinn street bike, which made my daily ride much easier and quicker.

I live approximately three and half miles away from the heart of downtown which is nice and not too difficult ride. In order to arrive promptly to work and school I leave 15-30 minutes early depending on my schedule for the day.

Comfort is the way to go when I ride. If I feel comfortable when I ride, the trip itself will be quicker and more enjoyable no matter where I am headed. I tend to wear leggings, jeans, shorts and spandex when I go out. The most comfortable item I tend to sport would be my leggings. Sometimes I dress just for the ride and have to change when I arrive at my destination. Normally, I wear whatever I am intending to do after the biking.

In an attempt to not wear myself out, I try to travel as light as I possibly can. I travel with a waterproof backpack to both school and work. I normally pack my computer, a notebook, pen, chargers, bike lock and a sweatshirt in preparation for the weather.

Commuting by bicycle is easy on my wallet. I don’t have to pay for a car, gas, insurance and repairs. The only money I put into my bike is mainly flat tires and lights for both the front and the back because I travel sometimes early in the morning and late at night on the road.

I only bike in the warmer months until the first snow falls or until it’s too unbearably cold to bike anymore. In the winter I take the city bus, which takes a toll because it takes more time and money.

At first, I was nervous about biking for transportation because of my fear of being on the road with bigger, heavier machines than the one I would be with only a helmet as protection. I began to bike on the sidewalks to ease myself into the new mode of transportation for myself. Until my friend taught me all the ways of the road and made me feel comfortable, I then began to grow confidence in myself and in my biking on the road along the bike lanes and turning at lights with the correct signals.

Physically, biking has whipped me into shape without really trying. I don’t look at biking as exercise because it is my way of transportation and sometimes on my days off a fun hobby. On my days off I enjoy cruising on The White Pine Trail, around downtown Grand Rapids and around Eastown.