Yay Bikes! Journeys recount how Yay Bikes! is transforming lives and communities, from the perspective of those we’ve impacted. In this installment, we hear from Sarah Riegel about how her involvement with Yay Bikes! over the past couple of years has slowly changed how she knows both her city and herself.
DIPPING A TOE IN: "Go figure—I like riding my bike now that I have a good bike to ride."
Like many people, Sarah rode her bike as a kid...until receiving her driver’s license. Like many people, she biked in college on an old beater bike...but living on a third-floor walkup didn't make it fun. Then, in 2012, a visiting friend had her tag along on a tour of bike shops and she got to thinking—maybe if she got a new bike she would enjoy riding more. And it turns out, she did! She started using her new bike for errands and her love of riding slowly grew from there. Then she did Bike the Cbus. Then she used Yay Valet! at a festival. And then, finally, she attended her first Year of Yay! ride, back when it launched from the Whole Foods Market at Easton.
PUTTING THE PUZZLE PIECES TOGETHER: "Each ride with Yay! has helped get me a better sense of how to successfully piece together my own rides, and feel confident riding stretches of road I never would have thought possible."
Sarah liked that the Year of Yay! rides were slow and in no way competitive—she didn't feel the need to be a speed demon to keep up with the group. Plus all the other riders were so friendly that it was easy to feel safe and welcome, even when faced with roads she couldn't imagine riding otherwise...like Morse! In fact, as she eased into it, she noticed that riding in the Easton area (near where her office is located) was very different than what she expected. From the seat of a car, streets looked WAY too busy to ride safely, but from the seat of a bike they weren't really so bad after all. As the group rode new routes each month, the pieces of her commute started coming together, and she started imaging that it might be possible to ride into work. With a How We Roll ride in spring of 2017 and a few more Year of Yay! rides under her belt, she was ready to roll!
MAKING IT HAPPEN: "For a couple of months now I've been riding to work once a week, on casual Fridays, and I feel really energized when I get there."
Sarah, not known for her effusiveness, nevertheless has plenty to recommend when it comes to her riding and volunteer experiences with Yay Bikes!. She says she's met a lot of great people, gotten to know lots of cool bikes and become more intimately connected with Columbus as a result of her time with us. And it's been such an accomplishment to navigate her work commute by bike! If you want to ride but feel nervous about it, Sarah invites you to come out and give it a try with Yay Bikes!, where you'll be made to feel safe exploring the city by bike. There are lots of ways to plug in, and lots of adventures to be had on the way to freeing yourself from a car. She's done it, she says, and so can you.
Yay Bikes! is grateful to Sarah for her solid commitment to showing up, doing the work and growing into both personal transformation and leadership. We especially appreciate her chill, her wit and her wicked smarts. Helmets off to you, friend!
To share your Yay Bikes! Journey, contact Meredith to set up a chat!