Sunday, October 3, 2010

I'm a Winner!

At the Charleston Greenfair last Saturday Biketown gave away 30 free bikes to Bicycling Magazine's Biketown essay contest winners, including me! I'm now the proud owner of a silver and white Jamis Commuter 2. A helmet, lock and a lightset were included in the prize pack. In addition to Metlife, the Regional Council of Governments and Coastal Cyclists contributed to the prizes (the lightsets and locks). According to Biketown representatives this is the first time they've had local groups ask to be involved. That's the kind of thing that makes Charleston a great place to live!

All it took was a ten-minute, off-the-cuff 50 word essay on how having a bike will improve my life by expanding my horizons, and making simple things like trips to the local library and grocery store faster and easier. I really didn't expect to win, from what I understand they received hundreds of essays. So I was thrilled when I received my email from Lois Moss. I jumped on a bus headed downtown right after church on Sunday, praying the rain would hold off. Despite ominous skies and some rumbles of thunder it did - until I was getting ready for my first biking adventure, getting the bike home via CARTA. A very nice young man got of the bus in the rain both to help me load and then unload my bike from the rack. It wasn't complicated and there are clear instructions, but it was kind of this gentleman to help me out.

Due to the monsoon like weather I had to wait impatiently for a rain-free night before I could jump on my new bike and take a spin around the apartment complex after work. It's been many years since I've been on a bike, and there are of course no bike lanes in my neighborhood. It doesn't look like it's in the plans for the road widening project currently in progress either. After a couple of night rides around the complex I braved St Ives road. Then on Saturday we had clear skies and cool temps, and I was off on my bike! First stop Northwoods Park, then up to AC Corcoran Elementary School, down Otranto Road to the library, and Kmart to check out their bike accessories (I have started a wish list) and over to Texas Roadhouse for a late lunch. Then back home again. I haven't tracked it yet, but it should be about a four mile loop. So Carfree Charleston will now include posts about another aspect of living carfree. In addition to public transportation, I'll be posting about the perks and challenges of getting around North Charleston by bike.

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