How Did I Get Here?
And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself
Well…How did I get here?
Do you ever wonder what life would be like if you had been born in another time or place? It’s not really a productive exercise I suppose, but it does make me think that even though I perceive that I’ve worked to be in a certain place in my life, chance has played a big role.
As luck would have it, I was born to parents who encouraged me to be active.
I grew up during a time when learning to ride a bicycle as a child was a rite of passage. My parents were willing and able to buy me a bike. Not a brand new sparkly one, but it did the job. Again, happenstance.
My arrival in Washington, D.C., a place easily navigable by bike and where physical activity is happening all over the place, was mostly the result of a blind stumble during a time when I was flailing about for a different pond in which to swim.
I started bike commuting in 2004, and since that time society’s interest in alternative transport has been growing and growing.
D.C. now has Capital Bikeshare. It has been a huge success and is helping normalize cycling as a form of transport. Encountering other cyclists on the city streets is a regular occurrence. More people are moving into the city, choosing to go car-lite or car-free.
Groups like WABA are working hard to increase bike lanes and improve conditions for cycling so that even more people will ride.
When I first began riding, I don’t recall anyone being too concerned about the cycling disparity between men and women. New groups have formed to build the community of women riders. Gradually we are seeing results.
How did I get here? How am I part of it all?
Maybe I tried to plan some of it, but much of it falls under the umbrella of luck.
Sometimes I idly wonder what life in D.C. will be like 100 years from now. Heck, even 20 years from now.
Will bicycling be a regular form of transportation for people in the area? Will the numbers of men and women riding be more equalized?
Rather than being subject to the unfortunate “Get off the road!” heckling when riding in the District, will cyclists at last be fully integrated into the city’s landscape? Will there ever be a time when the car is not king? I’d love to see that.
I pump up my tires for tomorrow’s ride and hope.