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Why I Ride: U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood

(Ray Lahood is the U.S. Secretary of Transportation and a former U.S. Congress member from the state of Illinois.)

Ray Lahood (right) biking in to work on June 6, 2011. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Transportation)

Growing up in Peoria, Ill., your bike was your ticket — to your friend’s house, to the store, to all kinds of adventure. And if you weren’t old enough to drive or couldn’t afford a car, your bike could get you where you needed to go. It opened up the whole world.

National Bike Month reminds me of that first taste of independence and mobility.

My life is a little busier today, but not too busy for me to take a weekend bike ride with my wife Kathy. In Washington, D.C., we love the C&O Canal towpath, a local treasure. It’s great just being outdoors, but the path itself is lovely. It’s also wonderful to see so many people out and about, sharing this terrific resource.

In Peoria, the Rock Island Trail offers a similar opportunity. This path used to be a railway but was converted through the Rails-to-Trails program. Again, it’s just a great way to get outside and a healthy way to appreciate our community.

Bikes still open up the world. I see it in my grandkids; I see it in Peoria; and I see it in DC. It’s a great feeling; give it a try.

May is National Bike Month and this year’s theme is One Ride, Many Reasons. To highlight and celebrate the many benefits of bicycling, throughout May we’ll bring you the personal reflections and inspirations of a diverse collection of bicyclists from coast to coast with our daily 31 Days, 31 Reasons blog feature.


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