What does commuting mean to me?

Oh LovelyBicycle!, how beautiful your pictures are, how insightful your articles are, and how often you get me thinking. What does commuting mean to me?

When I first started back over a year ago it was all numbers. Three dollars a day. That is how much I would be saving on bus fees if I rode my bicycle. Fifty dollars a week. That’s how much I would be paying for gas if I had a car, if not more. That was before I learned to love.

It all started with my Trek. You see, before that I was riding a beater bike that had not been properly maintained and had been sitting in my garage for years. Comparatively riding my Trek was like riding on air, much how my Masi is now, so little effort, so much speed.

Then came the Albany Bicycle Coalition, a group of people who I first thought were tree hugging hippies, no offence, but I have now come to understand that they, I, are passionate which is something that often gets confused with fanaticism. I still remember my first group ride. It ended with Lorenz and I talking and riding up Western Ave. He not knowing who I was or how long I’d be around for, I the same.

It was ABC that introduced me to the Albany Bike Rescue. It was much more disorganized back then, but still able to get much accomplished thanks to the great men and women that worked there. The first time I came in was for a routine, foreign to me at that time, chain cleaning and regressing. It was Dakota, young Dakota for lack of a better adjective, that helped me. I know now that what I’d come in with was trivial, and I was probably wasting his time, or giving him a much needed respite. I can’t recall. What I can recall is that I loved what they were doing. Helping people fix bikes so that they would become more knowledgeable themselves. I had to be a part of that.

Where am I going with this? Bike commuting means so much. If it wasn’t for riding to work I would have never met Lorenz and the rest of the amazing people at ABC. If it wasn’t for ABC I wouldn’t have known the joy that comes from helping a child get his first bike at ABR. The dominoes of life are ever falling and missing that crucial piece might mean that I wouldn’t be talking to you today. Thank you LovelyBicycle! for helping me remember.

Written by Chris Belsole

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