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My healthiest habit
The first time I rode my bike to work, I was terrified. Traffic was fast and frequent on Cascade Road and I hugged the curb as if my life depended on it, which I thought at the time it did. That was after a few weeks of biking to the MARTA station on the sidewalk, and being amazed at how slowly I had to travel. Switching to the street made my commute that much faster, and as I later learned, that much safer.
After 3 weeks (or 21 days, the length of time experts recommend to really latch on to a new habit), I took a deep breath, relaxed, and started the long journey towards truly enjoying my commute.
I discovered I felt more confident, less out of breath, and more like a biker. A biker! Out of shape, non gym-member me! It was a great feeling. I felt empowered by having arrived at my destination powered by nothing more than my own legs, which were growing stronger by the day. Thus I embarked on my low-car diet. In a fortunate coincidence, I was able to lose 15 pounds before my wedding.
I started biking to work four years ago when I was working for a foundation in southwest Atlanta. I rode 2.5 miles one way to the office, arriving sweaty, breathless, and at peace. My coworkers marveled at my dedication, but for me, it just made sense. Those 2.5 miles would have taken me 50 minutes to traverse by bus and train and bus again, and we were a one-car couple, so I didn’t think it fair to drive the car myself every day when my fiance might have needed it.
Eventually, once my now-husband and I both started biking to work, we wised up and took a class with the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition. A few short months later, I took over as the new executive director and had the privilege of sharing what I had learned with others.
Bike to Work Day is Friday, May 21. While thousands of Atlantans bike to work everyday, including the staff here at the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, Friday is a great opportunity for people who usually get to work by some other method to dust off their bike and give it a go!
ABC and our partners are providing Energizer Stations around town where bike users can fuel up for free with refreshments and giveaways. Experienced cyclists will lead Bike Trains that anyone can hop on in order to ride with others and make their commute safer and more social. And everyone who registers for Bike to Work Day (or to ride other days during that week) will be entered to win prizes including $20 gift cards from Sidebar and a surprise item from REI.
Then there’s the thrill of arriving at work, energized and engaged, ready to start the day knowing you took a step to make the air we breathe a little cleaner.