Lessons Learned in the Saddle

Today was Bike to Work Day in San Francisco. The ferries ran with extra bike racks, the bike lanes were full, and the fickle San Francisco fog monster stayed away. You could feel the positive energy pulsing through the city. The Bike to Work crowd was as diverse as it gets. There were neon warriors, overflowing with safety gear; father son duos on Extracycles; regulars who couldn’t quite believe their eyes; fixie riders, rolling smoothly past the gears; Amsterdam ladies in tall boots and sheaths; triathletes racing in padded shorts on carbon frames; guy in a suit, who everyone should applaud; and volunteers stoking everyone out with feed bags, bagels, and locally roasted brew.

Bike to Work Day commutes are inherently social. I rode with a friend and we ran into coworkers at the City Hall energizer station. The city felt small riding in a pack of friends, but it also felt diverse. Our group featured three decades, a single speed, a city cruiser, a mountain bike, and a road bike. We talked about why Bike to Work Day matters to us as cyclists and members of the Timbuk2 team. We planned to write it down, commit our two-wheeled feelings to the big bad blogosphere, but then our community took care of it for us.
Timbuk2's Greg and Defne on Bike to Work Day
Timbuk2′s Greg and Defne riding to work in San Francisco.

To Celebrate Bike to Work Day in San Francisco, we took Bike to Work Day banners produced by the SFMTA and made 29 Bike to Work Banner Messenger in our San Francisco factory. We’re donating $50 for every unit sold to the San Francisco Bike Coalition and we gave one unit away on Facebook. To enter the give-away, we asked folks to tell us the most important lesson cycling has taught them. The answers made us laugh out loud, tear up (they were moving!), and exhale with pride. We painstakingly picked one lucky winner, but felt compared to share the greatest hits.

Whether you’re new to cycling or have been pushing pedals since you were seven, read the lessons learned in the saddle below. And raise a glass to the simple pleasure of pedaling.

2012 Timbuk2 Bike to Work Banner Messenger

THINGS WE’VE LEARNED ON A BIKE:

WINNER: Matt McCabe Cycling has taught me that commuting doesn’t have to be smoggy, stop-and-go misery. Commuting can be invigorating, eye-opening, birds-chirping awesomeness!

RUNNER UP: Nicole Elle Cycling has taught me to get out of my head, and get on the road!

Extremely Serious & Important
Jason Carrasco cycling has taught me that even fat mexicans like me can get in shape and have a great time doing it! :)
Brian Pulliam Drive-thru windows need to stop discriminating! Where is the love.
Bob Nesheim Hard work, while rewarding, sometimes rubs my crotch raw.
Tim Hall Cycling has taught me to love everything that goes between my legs.
Lauren Schwartz Cycling has taught me how to breath through my nose… with your mouth hanging open you tend to eat bugs :-)
Joe Hon Cycling has taught me that I have a really big head, incapable of being contained by any bike helmet on the planet.

Spirit
Emily Benning cycling has taught me that i will never, ever be able to pass up bombing full-speed down a hill while screaming like a banshee and pretending i’m a fighter pilot. dignity? pshaw.
Ryan Horikoshi Cycling has taught me that it is okay with my wife if I buy new toys (read “bike stuff”) if I veil said purchases in the shroud of exercise.

Perspective
Jessica Adler Cycling has taught me that even when my son is perfectly quiet, it doesn’t mean he’s not enjoying the ride. He’s just taking it all in.
Mike Smith That a brisk, sun-drenched ride home turns even the worst day at work into a distant memory.
Lia Keller Cycling has taught me that escape from reality is only a pedal away.
Becky Eaton Commuting via bike has taught me that the rain isn’t as wet as I remember
Ally Farrish that a pothole can ruin your day quickly, but a succession of downhill green lights can make it instantly.
Susan Schmierer Cycling has taught me that I can leave for work on my bike in the worst mood imaginable and when I’m about 10 minutes into the commute, magically, all is well with the world.

Inspiration
Nancy XiĆ”oRong Valentine Cycling has taught me to be brave. Weaving through traffic along side cars going twice your speed is intimidating, but having the guts to be good to your body and the environment through cycling instead of driving builds a courage that motivates them to take risks that the ordinary citizen wouldn’t think twice about.
Ryan Wilkerson Living well does not have to feel like a chore
Erin Murray It has taught me to focus on the here and now. To see the path I need to take. And how to time the lights.
Mel Dixon cycling has taught me that you are never too old to own your first bike.
Daniel Renteria It has taught me to check out the smaller nooks and crannys of SF I would’ve otherwise never have seen.

Community
Mike Masters It taught me that my love of cycling grows every time I bring in another person into it. Or ever time I build a bike for someone to make it possible to ride more . CYCLING IS ABOUT SHARING CYCLING!
Jennifer Privat I’m new to biking to work. I love the exchange with other bikers of good mornings with a smile and nod, and the burst of energy that comes from riding to work (versus the drag&frustration of driving to work). I’ve learned that biking to work just makes the day better.
Tony Bonomolo Riding bikes had taught me many things… It has taught me to enjoy late night rides. It has taught me were the Honeysuckle bloom, when the bakery down the road is making sugar cookies or coconut creams. It has taught me to be patient and smile at the things people in cars do not notice like squirrels chatting and birds playing. I know my neighbors down the road on, the next block and around the corner. But most of all it has taught me to live in my community rather than in my city.

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