Laura’s Story: Secret Pop Up Bike-ery
Interview by Caitlin Woodson, guest contributor
Bike to Work Day was months ago, but our excitement about biking to work is endless here at BikePGH. This interview is part of a three-part series chronicling the stories of Pittsburgh riders. If you’ve been working up the nerve to try biking to work, we think you’ll really enjoy this one.
Laura is relatively new to the bike commuting life, having learned to ride a year ago with the aid of her husband (Matt) who happens to be a certified City Cycling Instructor at BikePGH. Before Laura took on her commute solo, she put in plenty of practice; running drills and cycling along her route with Matt. This proved to be incredibly beneficial as it allowed her to become really comfortable and confident in cycling in the city as well as more familiar with the terrain. Her commute is a simple one of about a mile or so from Shadyside to Oakland where she works at the Carnegie Museum of Art but as she grows in confidence and experience with solo rides, she explores different routes to work to mix it up. “I get really excited after biking solo from one place to another, I realize how easy and fun it is do that!”
Laura is also looking for ways to improve the bike parking at work, “Right now there isn’t the infrastructure in place for quality bike parking. We have one rack in front of the building that is hard to lock to beyond the front or back tire and another rack in the parking garage that doesn’t have safe access through car gates.” Biking has also allowed Laura to have more fun during her lunch breaks, just last week she mentioned being able to ride the jail trail into town to catch some of the Penguins parade and still be back to work in time. “Biking allows me to get outside more and if I had taken my car I wouldn’t have been able to see the parade (I’m a big Penguins fan) due to waiting in traffic and needing to find parking once there.”
Some of the challenges of commuting via bike have been when she’s not biking. For instance, when having to drive somewhere or take a bus, “It can feel really frustrating to have to sit in traffic and spend so much time waiting. I save so much time when I’m biking. One of the really cool things about biking is the feeling I get when passing cars during peak traffic times and how happy I am to not have to wait in that long line of traffic. There’s such a freedom that comes with biking that I have come to love and now I can’t imagine ever not biking.”
Laura and her husband have even paired down from 2 cars to 1. One of Laura’s proudest moments came from cycling home one day with a cake strapped to her bike’s rack. She had always wanted to do this and couldn’t wait to share the news with Matt. When she returned home she excitedly says to Matt ‘hey guess what happened?’ he initially thinks something bad happened ‘did she fall or something, what happened?’ she tells him ‘no, I brought a cake home!’ Not only did she successfully ride home with a whole cake on her bike but the cake remained intact. Laura disclosed one of her goals is to have a bike-ery, carrying baked goods via her bike.
Learn urban bicycling basics from the experts at BikePGH. Confident City Cycling is a three-hour, on the bike class designed to teach riders everything they need to feel confident taking their next trip by bike. Our next Confident City Cycling class is Saturday, August 20.