Brownie on a Bike in San Diego

Hi. I go by “beany” online as I’m a bean counter. I’m a brownie who is car-free in San Diego and blog at Brown Girl in the Lane . While Dottie and Trish are off galavanting in France, eating the most delectable of meals and drinking the finest of wines, they have asked me to write a post for you. So here it is :)

I had the incredible pleasure of meeting Dottie and Trish in person earlier this year. It is easily one of the most memorable blogger meetings I’ve had because meeting women who ride a bicycle is harder than finding a pair of shoes that I want. Meeting women who genuinely love riding and ride for the sheer pleasure of riding, like I do? Well, that’s much harder than…fixing a flat in the worst of all possible ghettos in sub zero temperatures, in a hail storm while trying not to dirty a nail. In other words, a very rare occurrence in my world.

This post is a brief-ish history of my love affair with riding a bicycle.

Me and my cousin at age 5

I first began riding when I was around five years old.  My father bought me a red colored bicycle that had a banana seat and came with training wheels. To say that that bicycle became an obsession would be an understatement. My bicycle was parked close to my bed and I rode it every day  and soon graduated to riding a two wheeler like a proper cyclist would.

My bicycle became a constant and steady companion. It was how I was able to explore the city of eight million that I grew up in. My bicycle was my ticket to freedom, exploration and with it an incredible feeling of utter exhilaration. Riding through the city began to define how I viewed the world. Everything seemed possible and doable when I was out riding. It was on a saddle (or banana seat) that I was able to sort out the jumble of thoughts and contemplate about things I thought were worth contemplating over.

In my late teens, I moved to the U.S. where I found myself living in a suburb of Philadelphia. It was there that I realized the futility of relying on others for rides or the shoddy public transit system. I also disliked living in a small town. I thrive on the energy that is found in cities. So I began to date a man in Philadelphia who would one day become my husband. My dates with him all revolved around a lengthy bike ride ending at a good bar and grill. Thankfully, he rode because he loved to ride and rode everywhere. But he was unhappy living on the East Coast and wanted to fulfill a lifelong dream of living by the Pacific Ocean. I agreed to move and convinced him to make the move to the West Coast…by bicycle.

And that was what we did. We got rid of everything we owned and got ourselves touring bikes and panniers and headed west.

I would state that teddy bears provide much more visibility that wearing neon would. Because, who would want to run over a teddy bear?

This was how, in late 2008, we found ourselves in San Diego. San Diego seemed like a nice enough city so we decided to make this city our home. I found that I had become a very different person than the one who had left Philadelphia. The weeks of repeated riding had made me fall deeper in love with riding. Whereas in Philadelphia I found myself only riding because I had, in San Diego I soon found myself extending my commute daily, going out for a ride for no real purpose besides for the sheer thrill of riding.

I moved further away from my job to extend my commute. I began frequenting a farmers market located further way to have a longer ride. This was craziness. Especially in a place where the love affair with the automobile is practically a law.

But here I am. Living in a automobile-saturated culture without ever having owned an automobile. Life here without an automobile is the furthest thing from a hardship, for me. With perfect weather to be experienced every single day, the last place I want to be is boxed up in an automobile. The only place I’d rather be is on my saddle: riding, exploring, discovering and falling in love with the world around me every single day.

Visit the awesome Beany and her wickedly funny musings at Brown Girl in the Lane.

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10 thoughts on “Brownie on a Bike in San Diego

  1. mike says:

    and the wose part is, you’ll prob never see that nice shiney ride bike again

  2. Nicholas says:

    Is there a place I can find your experience of the cross-country bike ride? I’d be interested in reading it.

  3. G.E. says:

    I am with Nicholas. What an incredible adventure to pick up and move – via bicycle! I know there are many who cross the country via bike, but generally they go “home” again and it’s a temporary thing to try out. What an amazing way to move from the east to the west coast.

    I also have to agree with you about cycling in socal… it just is a rarity. You might see cruisers on the beach, but not a lot of people who are so committed to riding every day. I have found a similar situation though even in a land of people who supposedly love cycling (in CO). There are hardcore mtn bikers and hardcore rode cyclists, but they do it to prove something, not just for the love of it. It’s been quite a challenge to find women who will just casually ride to the market or into town for lunch. Perhaps slowly people like you will change the way the world views bicycling.

    Thanks for sharing your story!

  4. Kara says:

    Moving by bicycle? You are a rockstar!

  5. Long says:

    I am a very enthusiastic, newbie, cyclist. Similar to your swimming endeavor, I read many bicycle books/magazines, visited bike shops, and talked to avid riders before I invested in a new bike. The research motivated me to take that very important initial step. Since, I feel like a kid on every ride.

    How I found your website? I researched the internet for subjects relating to bicycle. Your website/blog is pleasant reading. Thank you for sharing.

    Long

  6. Bev says:

    And she’s still just as cute as she was at five.

  7. Cool intro- I’d love to hear more about your experiences moving via bike.

  8. Amy says:

    The cross-country move on bike sounds amazing! I would also love to hear more about this trip. The neon clad teddy is brilliant! I’ve always thought that humanizing a rider was a good way to elicit respect on the roads but I think you’ve come up with something better!

  9. maureen says:

    Great post! I think it is awesome that you moved cross country by bike. WOW! You Rock!

  10. Beany says:

    Thanks all, for all the love. And thank you, Bev – you’re a little too kind there.

    I did document our trip online. But I won’t link to it for various reasons. You can find it at crazyguyonabike.com if you feel motivated enough to hunt it down.

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