Katie Bonomo

Trading four wheels for two

Each summer, Tour de Fat brings its blend of beer, bikes and bemusement to cities across the country. Tour de Fat is a parade and celebration of biking and beer put on by New Belgium Brewing, a strong supporter of Bicycle Colorado. At every event, a brave soul trades her/his car for a bike—pledging to live car-free for one year. It got me thinking about my own (much slower) transition to a bike-heavy, car-light existence.

Gearing up

bike _cropJust after college, I bought a bike—sight unseen—from a friend of a friend. I can’t remember why. I had not had a bike since I was a kid, no one I knew got around by bike and I was living in a city that wasn’t exactly bike-friendly.

When I got the thing, I realized I needed a serious refresher on riding a bike, so I took it to a nearby park. Biking is one of those things that can make you confident—maybe over-confident—fast. After I got comfortable riding a couple miles around the park, I thought: How about a 45-mile rail trail ride? Sounds fun!

As it turned out, that was a little ambitious. I have to admit that the bike was not used for a while after that, but I had in the back of my mind that I wanted to try riding to work.

Taking the plunge

When I switched to a job that was only five miles away, I mentioned to a new coworker that I wanted to ride to work. Before I knew what I signed up for, we were biking together. Pretending to know what I was doing and mimicking every action of my buddy, I made mental notes about what to do in different situations.

It was a good thing I paid attention, because a few weeks later my coworker moved to a different site. It was put up or shut up time. I went for it solo. I got two flat tires in a week (who knew you were supposed to avoid glass?), but I kept biking.

riding _mod _cropI biked a lot when it was warm and nice out. I did not bike when it was raining…or cold…or if I was too tired. It was fun. I felt healthier and good about all the pollution I wasn’t creating. And I felt richer! I was definitely getting hooked on the biking thing. I biked anywhere I could as long as it was decently nice out.

Becoming a bike nut

At the time I started biking, I had an active job, so I did not really need the extra exercise. But after switching to a desk job, biking to work became really important. The few miles to work woke me up and helped me get focused, and the ride home helped me wind down at the end of the day.

When it rained I’d think about driving, but I just did not want to. So I took the bike anyway. If it was cold out, I put more layers on. If it was snowing, sometimes I’d brave it and other times I’d take the bus. I found that I rarely wanted to drive, so my car sat neglected in the parking spot that I was paying $65 a month to keep it in.

Eventually, my car found a home with eGo CarShare’s loanation program. I can still use it when I like, but other people can too. I like to think it’s happier. I definitely am.

Katie Bonomo

About the Author: Katie Bonomo


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Bicycle Colorado

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  • #BicycleColorado’s Executive Director, Pete, and Senior Communications and Policy Manager, Jack, spent part of yesterday afternoon live on @koacolorado’s Mandy Connell Show talking about the way we use our streets. We discussed why Colorado communities are investing in bike lanes, how we can educate on the rules of the road and keep everyone safe, the many benefits of bicycling and much more.

Take a listen by clicking the link in our bio and jumping ahead to the 36-minute mark of the episode!
  • The #BicycleColorado staff is saddled up and ready for the @nationalwestern Stock Show parade!
  • A HUGE congratulations to #BicycleColorado member Matt Y. (@riverboogie) who today celebrated 10 years of commuting to work at @nationalrenewableenergylab car-free and primarily by bike. What an accomplishment! From Matt: •10 years •2,094 bike commutes via roads – •23,040 miles •122 commutes via mountain bike over Green Mountain- 1,875 miles •26 run commutes via roads – 243 miles •0 commutes via car

Please join us in celebrating Matt and this huge accomplishment! How long have YOU been riding to work?