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bluegoatwoods 07-26-09 06:54 AM

new member, long time bicyclist.

I've been lurking here for quite some time. I had thought that I had registered, but whenever I tried to log-in I wouldn't be recognized. So I've re-registered.

I'm a very definite bicycle lover. I can't think of an invention that pleases me more. Though I do like a well-made and/or good looking car, I despise what they've done to our culture in the aggregate. If, say, 3 out of 4 of them would head for the junkyard it wouldn't bother me one bit.

I rode a bike as a kid, of course. When I got my first car as a teen-ager I didn't look back to the bicycle. I thought of that as transport for children. But when I was in my early twenties I went to San Francisco and got a job as a bicycle messenger. Best move I ever made, perhaps. It certainly opened my eyes to the possibilities of a bicycle as grown up transportation. I haven't been without a working bike since. Some years I've ridden more than others, but I've been riding ever since all the same.

Most of my working life has been spent as an independent, skilled tradesman going from customer to customer. I've driven as much as I want to, as a result. I would often carry my bike along and do a bit of riding in various locations, the USA east of the Mississippi River mostly. That was nice, but I couldn't do a lot of riding and make a living. It had to be one or the other.

In the spring of 2008 fuel prices got up to $4 plus and seemingly rising. I figured my business was done with and got a local job. Then fuel prices went back down and my market came back alive. So I've been doing both since. But both is not sustainable in the long run. For one thing I can only reach those customers who are pretty close to me before I have to be back for work. The ones who are more than a couple hundred miles away are out of reach. I was also getting exhausted. I haven't gone out looking up customers since late April or early May, 2009.

So I need to choose; this current job or my old business. Really the choice is made; I'm sticking with the local job. (Though it does pain me to willingly turn my back on my old business) I'm sick to death of driving hours, and even days, at a time. And I get to ride my bicycle every day!!!!!! :)

I'll admit that during the heart of last winter I drove to work mostly. But I still rode my bike a bit. And outside of deep-freeze season I bike virtually exclusively. I sometimes go three or four weeks without getting behind the wheel. I doubt if I've put more than a hundred miles on my car in the last month and maybe a good deal less.

So life is good...........

PS: One sad note, though. The place I'm working at employs about 300 people. I'm the only one, literally, who rides a bike to work. This is a pretty bike-friendly place, too. Such a pity. Looks to me like automobile addiction is every bit as strong as, say, heroin addiction.

East Hill 07-26-09 07:39 AM

Are you going to go car free eventually? It sounds as if you are heading that way. How did you wind up in Illinois, from SF?

I work in a facility that has around 50 employees, and there's three of us who bicycle commute on a regular (although not daily) basis. I ride year round, the other two won't ride when it's snowing.

Welcome (back?) to BikeForums!

East Hill

bluegoatwoods 07-26-09 08:58 AM

Hi East Hill and thanks.

I might have stayed in CA permanently, except I started having children. I knew I didn't have the earning power to raise them there. So I came back to the mid-west. I actually grew up in MI, but while I was out west my family came to IL. So this was a pretty natural place to come to.

It was awfully hard at first. My standard of living dropped quite a bit and Peoria just didn't seem to have as much "flash" as SF. Life seemed pretty bleak. But with time it began to feel like home. And the winters are one or two notches milder than they were in Michigan. That's a bonus for someone who wants to ride a bike.

East Hill 07-26-09 09:35 AM

It's hard to beat SF for a lot of good things, but life is probably more laid back in Peoria!

East Hill

hendrick81 07-28-09 08:25 PM

Welcome to bike forums...

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