Taking the Slow Road: The Sustainability Office Shares Bicycling Stories

May 12, 2017 - 2:10 pm

Taking the Slow Road

Fun. Refreshing. Exhilarating. And, an excuse to eat more! In honor of National Bike Month, we asked our staff to share their favorite bicycle-related stories. The responses echo a common theme. Exploring a city by bicycle — whether you live there or are just visiting — offers a chance to experience a place at just the right pace. Read on to discover what our office likes best about getting there by bike.



Text: Amy over picture of Amy and her sister in Italy wearing bike helmets

“For my 40th birthday, I took a bike trip through the Puglia region of Italy. Traveling by bike is the best way to really experience a place — it forces you to slow down and pay attention to the journey. You get to see, smell, and hear everything around you — and you can stop to linger over the places and people that capture your heart.” Amy



Text: Lewis, picture of Lewis on a bike with colorful mural in background

“Sustainability means different things to different people. For me, it means trying to limit the negative impact I have on our planet due to the necessary daily activities tied to living in today’s society. Biking to work every day provides one easy opportunity to significantly reduce that negative impact, while saving money, gaining personal health benefits, and starting and ending each work day with a fun activity. Whenever I travel to a different city or country I try to ride bikes, as it’s a great way to experience more of a place than just looking through a window at high speeds. If you haven’t tried biking to work yet, give it a try — you may be surprised how much you have missed of your own city during your daily commute!” Lewis



Text: Mary, picture of adult Mary on a child's bike with a basket

“I couldn’t wait until I turned 7 years old, because that was the age my parents decided I was ‘old enough’ to ride my bike to school. The big day arrived, and to show they intended to keep their word, my parents bought me the most beautiful blue bike with plastic flowers on the basket. Every night for two weeks, my dad and I would practice riding. No child has ever been more excited for the first day of school, as I proudly rode, along with my brother and friends, to my first day as a second grader. Of course we all met at the bike rack after school and rode home together. I remember feeling so safe as we travelled the neighborhood. That year was 1969, and over 53% of students rode their bikes to school, and only 13% were dropped off in a personal vehicle. These days, those numbers have reversed, as less than 12% of students ride their bikes to school. I hope we can find a way to once again get kids back on bikes. That feeling of freedom and belonging is a feeling every child should experience.” Mary



Text: Rodrigo, over pictures of cyclovia in Mexico City

“One of the coolest things I did during my study abroad program in Mexico City was to participate in the weekly Muévete en Bici event, when the city closes off its major boulevards for bicycle and pedestrian use only. Thousands of people, from small children on kid tricycles to older folks on fancy recumbent bikes, stroll along on Mexico City’s historic avenues to enjoy a day free of traffic jams and car pollution. My favorite part of the experience was renting out an EcoBici from the city’s extensive urban bike share program and riding past the Ángel de la Independencia and the Torre Latinoamerica, two of Mexico City’s most iconic monuments. Wouldn’t a similar event on Congress Avenue be incredible?” Rodrigo



Text: Cavan, pictureof Cavan on a bike with colorful mural in background.

“I got into biking in Austin after a trip to the Yellow Bike Project. They got me on an affordable and functional bike which I still ride seven or so years later. Biking reveals another dimension of city life that can’t be experienced by cars or buses. The sights, sounds and smells are enhanced. My favorite place to bike is through alleys. Whether I’m a block from my house or in a neighborhood I’ve never been before, alleys give a unique perspective of an area that most people don’t see.” Cavan



Text: Shannon, picture of Shannon and friend with van, bicycle and mountain in background

“Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved riding a bike. As an adult, I ride as often as I can — typically on the road and sometimes on the trails around Austin. But, one of my favorite bicycling memories was when I biked one of the ‘Most Dangerous Roads in the World’ in Bolivia. I’m not much of a mountain biker, nor am I great with heights, but I agreed to join in on the journey. How bad could it be? I started out terrified, but eventually became confident enough to enjoy the exhilarating feeling of zooming down those steep mountain passes. This experience ended up being one of the highlights of my trip.” Shannon



Text: Amanda, picture of Amanda with sheep in background

“Slower than driving, faster than walking, biking around town lets you take in all the intrigue of a city while also serving the utilitarian purpose of delivering you from point A to B. Whenever I travel, I love to borrow or rent bikes to explore. So naturally, when my husband and I were planning our honeymoon, we were intrigued with the idea of touring land by bike. We settled on the South-East coast of Sicily and cruised among some of the most beautiful countryside I’ve seen! The most memorable part of the trip for me was biking alongside the carob trees and pumpkin patches and everything smelling slightly sweet. Not only do you see more when biking around town, but you also have an excuse to eat more! Bonus!” Amanda



Text: Patricia, picture of Patricia on bike as a child with two sisters

“I've LOVED riding my bike since I was little (see photo above with me and my sisters)! I will forgive a flat tire, a nasty driver, and a hot and sweaty day for chance to ride through the streets of Austin. When I first moved here, riding my bike was the best way to learn how to navigate the city. I explored new neighborhoods — learning which streets had the best shade, steepest hills and widest bike lanes. At the end of a long day, a bike ride offers an opportunity to shift gears (literally and figuratively), leaving me mentally refreshed — and often physically exhausted — in the most incredible way. There is also something uniquely satisfying about cruising by cars stuck in traffic!” Patricia