Lauren

Lauren

I rode bikes growing up in Miami, but it was always at a destination. We'd drive to Shark Valley and ride the fourteen-mile loop - easy to park, rent bikes, bring your own, and see lots of wildlife. Dad also used to drive us to Key Biscayne where we'd ride in deserted parking lots and the abandoned zoo. It was never, "Let's bike from home!" where I grew up.

My craving to ride more really took off in Colorado. I got into races and group rides, but I kept thinking, "Wouldn't it be amazing to just hop on my bike and go to work or the grocery store?" But in Colorado Springs, it wasn't quite accessible. In Raleigh, I’ve experienced how easy it is to commute everywhere on bike, adopting that lifestyle and doing something I'd always wanted just made sense.

In May 2022, Cameron and I decided to start a social group ride in Colorado Springs because we felt there wasn't a social group ride scene in the Springs. There was an elitist culture; if you were not on a team and if you weren't training for a race, you were not welcome. We started the rides from Building Three Coffee. Our first ride only had four people: Cameron and I, and two of our pals who we tried to convince to go on the ride with us. We took some pics, had a cool time, and the next week there were a few more in attendance. When Cameron left the Springs, I took it upon myself to lead the Wednesday ride. We’d bop around town, try out different small businesses for a drink and a bite, and end back at Building Three. Having this type of ride gets people on bikes. It makes people feel comfortable in their own skin and gets people out there - whatever bike they happened to be on. It was a safe place for people to get together and move their bodies. The Wednesday ride lives on!

Honestly it was uncomfortable when I first moved to Raleigh and tried living without a car. I arrived in August of 2023 and jumped right into the no-car lifestyle. I was sweaty all the time - two, three showers a day just to feel okay! But I wouldn't have traded it for anything. That was the best time. It made every destination worth it, having that little hell yeah, I earned this feeling whenever I got places. Getting around by bike has made me feel really proud of myself. It makes me mindful of the city, the layout, the hills, even the texture of the streets. I can already tell you what areas are hilly, flat, safe, or not-so-safe. It's pretty cool to know that after just six months living here.

I'm trying to find balance with all my physical activities. My goal is to do everything I love – running, cycling, you name it – but in a mindful way, not just mindlessly going through the motions. I want to do them because I truly enjoy them, not just to check things off a list. I always check if I’m doing it for the right reasons by asking if I’m forcing myself! If I feel like running instead of cycling on a particular day, I'll run. No sense in forcing myself to ride just to hit a mileage target. My 2023 goal of riding 100 miles a week started well, but it ended up creating dread around cycling because I felt obligated, not driven by passion. And since I wasn't training for anything specific, it didn't make sense to force it.

Keep riding, folks! Bikes are good. Be kind. Bye!

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