Around 2009 or so, I bought my first adult bike, a Fuji Sagres. It was a great commuter bike, perfect for getting around Berkeley. I remember when I worked at Google, I would bike all the way down to the West Oakland shuttle stop, just so I could get some exercise before heading down to Mountain View.
When I was in Chicago, I got a Hercules cruiser bike. It wasn’t particularly fast, but it was pretty sturdy. The single speed was fine for the flat Chicago topography. I used it to get from my apartment to class. I learned that my lower temperature limit for biking was 10 degrees Fahrenheit. As long as it was above 10 degrees, I could bike to class and be fine. I would notice that at the beginning of the school year in the fall, the bike racks would be crowded with bikes, but by winter, there would be plenty of space.
Now that I will be starting a new job in Berkeley, I bought a new bike, a Dahon Mariner D7. I wanted a folding bike because my current apartment doesn’t have a safe place to park the bike. I also appreciated the flexibility that a folding bike would give me in multimodal transit. I can take it on the BART or put it in someone’s car.
What I appreciate about bikes is the sense of freedom that they convey. With my bike, I can go so much further than I can by public transit. Even with Uber and Lyft available, my bike is fun, free, and great exercise.
I also don’t take this freedom for granted. Some people can’t afford a bike. Some people aren’t physically able to ride a bike. And some people are deathly afraid of sharing the road with cars. I’m looking forward to a future in which there are more freedoms available for these folks too, whether it’s affordable bike shares or mobility adaptations or safer streets. Because transportation equity means that everyone is able to get to where they need to do the things they need in order to thrive.