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Adventures of a Utility Cyclist

For the longest time I didn’t know what kind of cyclist I was.

After 30 years away from the bicycle, I got back on 4 years ago. I loved it and began exploring my community from the view over the handlebars.

I wasn’t a commuter cyclist because I don’t have a job. I wasn’t well suited for lycra and couldn’t keep up with the aging athlete crowd either. I was quickly running out of categories.

While I pondered exactly where I fit, other effects set in. It’s partly my age, but driving a car was becoming less fulfilling; driving is more like the boredom of sitting in traffic than the thrill of the open road. Meanwhile the bike could take me almost everywhere I wanted to go, but some destinations tested my willingness to ride on busy streets.

After a few years I’ve come to the conclusion I’m a utility cyclist. I’m running errands on my bike, going to meetings by bike, riding for exercise, too, but not signing up for many Century rides. I’m integrating the bike into my lifestyle and I’m pretty happy about that.

The radius of my world has shrunk as I adopt the bike as my primary mode of transportation. Yes, I’ve taken my bike on AMTRAK to San Diego and San Luis Obispo, the Brompton on BART, but for the most part, my daily rides are hyper local.

Two destinations tested the boundaries of my comfort zone: my optometrist in Irvine and my dentist at South Coast Plaza. Yesterday I conquered the dentist hurdle.

It was only an hour’s ride, much of that along the Back Bay loop. Once I left the trail I wasn’t sure if I’d find bike lanes along my route, but one thing I was sure of — there’d be no bike rack at my dentist’s office.

Lots of parking for cars, of course, but I had to improvise when locking up the bike. Luckily there was a perfectly well suited railing outside the electrical closet.

The anxieties of riding this route distracted me from what actually awaited me in the dentist’s chair and after 2 hours of sitting, the bike ride home was a great stress reliever. Best of all I’ve expanded the radius of my world by a few extra miles.

Next, I’ve got to start advocating for a bike lane on Bristol…

This railing worked well as a bike rack
This railing worked well as a bike rack

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