Wednesday, June 18, 2008

my submission to Urban Velo Magazine...

NAME: Paula "Righteous Metal Broad"
LOCATION: San Fernando Valley/Los Angeles, CA
OCCUPATION: Medical Biller by day, novice blogger by night.

• Where do you live and what’s it like riding in your city? I live in the Van Nuys area and commute to and from West Hills. It's unsafe to ride out here so I get an adrenalin rush whenever I hit the streets. Granted, that's not the only reason I ride, but I honestly believe the streets will become more safer once there are more and more bicyclists out riding. Nearly every day at least one person tells me that they would love to do what I do and just go out and ride but they don't because it's so unsafe. As cyclists are more visible to motorists, hopefully motorists will learn to share the road and less cyclists will die in hit and runs. Not only do I want to change the attitudes of the drivers out on the streets, but I want to educate the new bicyclists out there. I see many people riding on the wrong side of the street, with no head or tail lights at night, etc.

• What was your favorite city to ride in, and why? Tough question, because I only ride in SFV/LA, I know I have favorite streets, favorite paths, favorite areas. I really love the Metro Orange Line's bicycle path. I ride 4 miles out of my way to take that path every day. My daily commute is about 18 miles. It's worth it because it's 4 extra miles and it's safe. So, I guess my favorite city to ride in is SFV/Los Angeles, because I live here.

• Why do you love riding in the city? I love riding because it's healthy, I lost 60 pounds when I was an occasional bicyclist 2 years ago. Then I inherited an ancient SUV from my father and drove that for a year (supplemented my "healthy living lifestyle" with a gym membership). Before owning the SUV, I was a bus rider. I only lost about 15 in that entire year (try as I might, I could not lose anymore). Then gas started going up, so I sold my SUV and used the money to buy a better bicycle. And I don't regret becoming "car-free" at all, it was like unloading a huge load off my shoulders. I don't have to worry about gas, car maintenance, insurance, parking, etc. I've developed a new love for public transportation. I am much more mellow, I've lost more weight, my clothes fit so much better and the endorphins from my daily rides feel great.

• Or just say whatever you want about riding in the city… Cheesy as it may sound, sometimes it is best if you do stop and smell the roses (or coffee, or corner taco stand). It's much more pleasant if you have the choice to be able to stop on your bike, rather than stop because you are stuck in traffic. I've found that I am catching some things that I would regularly miss if I was driving, a beautiful sunset or sunrise (the latter rarer), a cute child waving "Hi", a cute guy waving "Hi", other bicyclists high on endorphins, a corner grocer or thrift shop. When I'm on my bike, I feel more a part of the scenery. I'm no longer outside looking in. I'm out there, living it up...

So go out there, live it up... I'll see you on the streets...

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