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The League VP’s busy Bike Month
In celebration of May as National Bike Month, we are asking League staff members why they ride and how they make the most of Bike Month.
Next up is League Vice President Elizabeth P. Kiker.
Hi Elizabeth, happy Bike Month!
What’s your favorite Bike Month experience?
I got my first post-college bike in 2000, and loved riding around Arlington, Va. In 2004, however, a guy at my then-job suggested I could actually ride to work. I had moved to Washington, D.C. and worked out near Tysons Corner, Va. My commute was a clogged-highway-66 or a packed Metro — I thought his suggestion was crazy. Then, in Bike Month, he offered me meet me on the trail and show me how easy it was. I was hooked immediately — it turns out the trail ran almost directly from my house to my office, making my commute fun, healthy and so much happier than my other options.
In addition to BTWW, how did you celebrate Bike Month this year?
I actually traveled to Dallas and Colorado (sadly, didn’t there by bike) to ride with advocates and League members there, and helped the Washington Area Bicyclist Association out on Bike to Work Day (so many bagels that must be cut in half, so many bananas …). I just love the energy and enthusiasm of cyclists in May — it is the best time to ride, here in D.C. Those of us who ride all year round see many new faces on the streets, and it’s just fun to be in such great company.
As the League’s Vice President, what are you seeing right now in this country that inspires or encourages you about the state of bicycling? Any big challenges?
There are a ton of challenges for cyclists (actually, for all Americans) as we continue to come out of this recession and talk of cutting the budget continues to make headlines. The reasons for hope are even more numerous, though, and more inspiring. From the (small but strong) headway we are making in my hometown, Houston, Texas, to the amazing leaps forward in D.C., Boston and New York City—bicycling is really making an impact. A personal inspiration is the continued ability to change how people get around– I convinced a neighbor to bike to work this week, passing on the favor that my colleague did for me seven years ago. She’s already asked if we can ride together again next week. That’s how we’re changing America — with landmark legislation, with statewide advocacy organizations, with local advocates working on making streets more bicycle friendly, and … person by person.
When and why do you ride your bike?
I ride my bike anytime I can. My family and I ride to church, I am an all-year-round bicycle commuter, and I live on a rail-trail, so we spend most weekends biking around for exercise and fun.
What tips do you have for new bike commuters?
Remember that you don’t have to ride the way you drive to work— that’s what intimidated me. There are lots of other ways to get from point A to point B, and most are much more pleasant than the huge arterials and freeways that we spend so much time on, usually stuck in traffic.
What do you know now that you wish you knew before you started to ride frequently?
How easy it is! That I don’t have to wear special clothes, or be particularly fast. That it’s a great way to lose weight.
What do you typically wear to ride?
Whatever I am wearing for my day. I rode across the U.S. in 2006, so I have my fair share of lycra, but I’ve found jeans and a t-shirt, or a dress and heels, work just as well for my 6-mile commute.
Anything else you’d like to share?
My husband became an avid bicycle commuter after I bought him a bike while we were dating. He now stays home with our children (3 and 1 ½), and they bike to as many playgroups and art classes as they can. My son loves to coast on his balance bike, and is asking for training wheels soon. It thrills me to come to work every day, knowing that my kids will be able to bike anywhere they want in the U.S., thanks to the work the League and our members are doing now.