OFJCC Staffer Andrea Longini opens up about overcoming her fear of biking in time for Bike to Work Day.
As part of National Bike Month, tomorrow, May 11, is Bay Area Bike to Work Day. Local bicycle advocacy groups are asking folks to dust off their old iron steed and take it for a spin to work. Biking is fun, healthy and produces zero carbon emissions. I am proud to say that I will be among the bikers.
I wasn’t into biking as a kid. Okay, that’s an understatement. I practically never biked a day in my life. In fact, I let a bright yellow, hand-me-down bike rust away in the garage as a child because of my aversion to it. Or rather, indifference. Or was it…fear?
There have been tons of challenges I’ve embraced in life—mastering a second language, giving the commencement speech at graduation, moving to a new place—but outdoor fitness had not been high on the list. Especially activities where I could get hurt. Who wants to get hurt?
Biking was emblematic of my aversion to trying things that could result in me getting hurt. Even though my parents were incredibly encouraging and supportive, I hesitated to take too many risks in the fitness department. I blame this primarily for my failure to ride a bike as a child. I think I was afraid of falling down and getting hurt.
As an adult learning to bike, I did fall down. But guess what? I got up again. And it didn’t hurt that much. Like so many things in life, you have to try and fail at it to succeed.
I was able to get on a bike and starting riding as an adult thanks to a few factors:
My tireless husband. Nutshelling: “Honey! Don’t run into that——tree.”
An encouraging workplace. At the OFJCC, my thoughtful coworkers remembered to ask me how the bike riding was going. The OFJCC is also super bike friendly, with parking galore. Plus, OFJCC Goldman Sports & Wellness Complex staff will be stationed at Bike to Work Day energizer stops in the area on 5/11 to provide snacks and water.
A bikeable community. Fortunately, Palo Alto has dedicated bike lanes as well as a few “bike boulevards.” These are roads that are designed to allow free flow of bike traffic while minimizing car traffic. Check them out here.
My story of learning to ride a bike is a story of conquering my fear. I hope that Bike to Work Day will remind you that you too can conquer your fear. But please don’t run into that tree.