How I Became a Bicyclist
by Stephani Meyers
When planning a move from Chicago two years ago, one of the top factors in choosing a new city was public transportation. Denver’s light rail seemed decent enough on paper and it looked like they were expanding. On my first day in Denver, I walked 12 miles all over to experience the different neighborhoods that I could potentially live in. I was amazed that I could walk through so many neighborhoods in just one day. One of the very first things I noticed was the unevenness of the sidewalks, as I kept tripping everywhere I went and had to remember not to look up when walking.
One stipulation of my new apartment was that it had to be near the light rail and close to downtown. I ended up finding a place six blocks from the end of the D line. I started taking the D line to work downtown but quickly realized that walking downtown took me exactly the same amount of time, if not less. Having always lived close to Chicago’s “L,” I was quickly realizing how spoiled I had become. I was missing having a train arrive every five minutes during rush hour that I had grown so accustomed to taking daily. I started walking to work in the mornings and enjoyed the fact that I could walk to work. Then I discovered biking, which was even faster than walking — cutting my commute time in half. I had tried biking in Chicago maybe four times and determined it was too scary to bike on the narrow, traffic-packed roads, especially in the winter.
I never would have discovered a love for biking had I not moved to my Denver neighborhood. Its flatness, wide enough roads, and the Champa/Stout bike lanes made my commute really fun. It didn’t hurt that Denver is pretty much a year-round biker’s paradise. In Chicago, I was also spending $1200/year on my monthly CTA pass. Now, I am not paying anywhere close to that thanks to bike commuting and occasionally taking RTD when it snows. I am looking forward to the bike network being expanded, including the 5280 loop and funding for Denver Moves and sidewalks to make it easier to get around Denver by bike and foot. My favorite part of the day is biking to work, as my actions align with my values of directly increasing my personal health and wealth while decreasing my environmental impact.