Ok, another year has passed, more miles have been put on my bike. It's Thanksgiving time which is such a good time to think about what we are all most thankful for...
I put in nearly one year of living bike-only. Sure, my mechanic scolded me for neglecting my car but I began to view Chicago from the perspective of being on two-wheels. It was a most lovely year.
Now that I'm in D.C. and compare it to Chicago? I'm super grateful for the extensive infrastructure in my favorite Midwestern city. Being in D.C., I see so many cyclists every day riding in between lanes/cars. Being put in situations that I never dealt with in Chicago. One of my first rides on the street, following Google maps bike route, I pretty nearly got smushed by an SUV that was entirely unpredictable in a way I couldn't anticipate. I really feel a deep appreciation for all of the work bike advocacy e.g. Active Trans, Ride Illinois, etc. have done. I now feel Chicago deserved a #1 friendliest bike city. Sure, we have neighborhoods and drivers that put our city in a "needs improvement" but boy do I miss those Chicago bike lanes.
Ok, so what are you most thankful for?
It can be a piece of gear, your commute, a sunny day, local bike shop, favorite bike, your favorite ride/century/race. Anything is game!
Oof, so many end of year and transitional feels, I could make the longest list! So I'll try and keep it to the recents:
Big! Marsh! Park! I feel so honored I got to be a part of this process to make it what it is and what it will be while in my professional capacity, and since opening day through til this Friday, I've been so happy that it exists. I remember being a newbie person on a bike when I moved back to Chicago like, eight years ago?, and "exploring" (aka getting lost) on my way to/back from Wolf Lake, and thinking, this is a slag heap, huh. There's still work to be done, but what an incredible place. I blame it for my entrance into MTB and have spent some really nice summer evenings down there (also thankful for the Jeffery Jump which drops you right off at the door!) just bonking around the single-track and practicing my handling on the pump track. The work being done there is hard and I'm grateful to Friends of Big Marsh for being so, so involved. I can't wait for Friday's race and to see how amazing its going to be - now let's work together so that our neighbors and everyone can access it without, you know, being mowed down on 103rd!
My 510 Freeriders. They're so cool and great. My tiny rigid hardtail and the ever more versatile Aurora I own. Bikes are great. Those Honey Stinger Waffles, what a gamechanger.
And finally, and more intentionally, all of the WTF and especially women of color bike advocates I've been able to build relationships and encounter over my years exploring the bike scene. From community builders like Yasmeen, and neighborhood advocates like Deloris Lucas and Angela Ford, to the ladies holding down the fort at WTB and WB (Danni, Maja, I see you) to ladies kicking bike polo butt and repping around the city, to the WTF messengers gettin' it done in the face of a ton of BS, to all the women racing with arms open to all, to the encouragement of the Single Speed Gravel Crew, to all the others who have really, really inspired me, even if you've burnt out, even if you left town (God, where do I start?), even in the face of predatory and just garbage behavior tolerated in our community, no matter what nonsense continues to stand in our way, I've been lucky to meet many of you and try and get myself better. Thank God for y'all.
Sunny days with the wind behind me.
I'm thankful for Robert Mueller.
I'm thankful for the roof over my head, the food on my table and although it could be better, I'm thankful that I'm relatively healthy and am able to ride.
Thankful for family and friends.
And although I don't post here a whole lot, I'm thankful for the Chanlink. I've learned a lot just by reading everyone elses postings.
Oh, and Yasmeen, I love that picture of the bike at the fence. I think I just found a new wallpaper for my computer.
You cannot look at that image without wanting to jump on a bike. :)