That awkward moment when: another bicyclist pulls up at a stop light right next to you and you’re both there, each with a foot on the ground, in silence, and the light seems to remain red forever, and you’re like, “Uuuh, are we supposed to talk to each other, or…?” But then, with relief, the light turns green and you go your separate ways. Katie has one of those awkward-moment-on-a-bike stories too. She was on the bike path when…a coyote appeared. They stopped, stared at each other, and went their separate ways. As for awkward encounters at a stop light? No way has Katie ever had one of those! In fact, red lights are one of her favorite parts of being a bike commuter; she loves chatting with fellow bicyclists, comparing bikes, and finding out how else they get around when not using a car! Katie’s friendly personality will no doubt make your red light rendezvous the least awkward ever…and if you catch her at a light, be sure to keep up the chit-chat because Katie has a wealth of information about bicycling. She is one of the most seasoned bike commuters we know, and that is why she is our bike hero this month!
Katie owned her first bike at age 16. Since then, sustainable transportation has been a part of Katie’s life. She often combines the light rail and biking, carpooling, taking the bus, or riding her scooter. When she doesn’t have a destination, she enjoys packing lunch, hopping on a local bike trail (Hampden Heights and Cherry Creek trails are her favorites), and pedaling around to see what she can see. She has come across deer, coyotes, and plenty of nature, but the urban scenery at Confluence Park always makes Katie smile! We’ve never seen Katie without a smile though, even when she rode all the way from Hampden and Yale to attend the Winter Solstice Ride. Now that’s commitment…not to mention she volunteered, and arrived early!
If you came along for that ride, you know there were plenty of opportunities to get to know your comrades-on-bikes at stop lights. Perhaps Katie even struck up a conversation with you. We decided that if we chanced upon Katie at a stop light, the best question to ask her would be: What are your top tips for commuting by bicycle? With all the mileage behind her, it makes sense. Here are her tips:
1. Dress well! (How do you think Katie managed to waltz in to Wahoo’s with a smile on the chilly evening of the Winter Solstice Ride?)
2. Bring lots of water and take sips at stop lights. (And talk to fellow bicyclists.)
3. Use all the gears.
4. Take your time.
5. Bicycling is often faster than waiting for the bus or a ride, or sitting in traffic.
6. One of Katie’s area-specific tips: the trees along Kentucky Ave. shade the road, causing lots of ice in winter. Beware if you ride there, and wear lots of padding (in case of a fall) when riding any icy route!
The most valuable lesson we learned from Katie, however, is to learn from others. Next time you’re at a stop light and another bicyclist stops alongside you, ask them where they’re headed, where they came from, their favorite cycling tips…you never know what you might learn, and it will be far less awkward than waiting in silence! Thanks, Katie, for setting an awesome example for every type of bike rider!
Bike Hero of the Month Awards highlight different people each month, and help encourage other people to bike by telling the Hero’s personal story. The goal of the Bike Hero Awards Program is to showcase the diversity of citizen-cyclists and the people who support them in Denver.
BikeDenver’s Executive Director Piep van Heuven says: “We introduced the Bike Hero awards because we want to encourage a friendly environment for and public image of bicyclists in Denver. One of the ways we can do this is to showcase the different faces of and great stories about people in our community, like Chris, who ride bikes or help others get out there and ride. Through the Bike Hero awards, BikeDenver honors bicyclists of all ages and walks of life, from the first time bicyclist to the rain or shine bicyclist! We all know people (our neighbors, co-workers, family members or community leaders) who inspire us to reach for the handlebars instead of the car keys. Take a moment to look around you and help BikeDenver recognize the people in our community who are making a difference for Denver, one ride at a time!”
To nominate a Bike Hero, please send a photo and a brief description of why you think they should be recognized (100 words or less) to info(at)bikedenver.org.
We started naming Bike Heroes in 2010. Meet past honorees here:
Bicycle Village has been a Colorado owned and operated business for more than 30 years. From modest beginnings in an 1800 square ft. building in West Denver, Bicycle Village has grown into the largest bicycle retailer in the Rockies. www.bicyclevillage.com
BikeDenver is Denver’s bicycle advocacy organization. BikeDenver promotes and encourages bicycling in and around Denver and works to make Denver a better place to ride your bike for fun, recreation and transportation. Why? Because it’s healthy for you, and healthy for Denver. www.bikedenver.org
Support BikeDenver: You can help make Denver’s neighborhoods and streets more bike-friendly by becoming a BikeDenver member.