Ride Story by Michael DeHerrera, PeopleForBikes digital content creator | Photos by Natalie Starr, Photographer
Megan has entered the One Ride at a Time chat! She’s a huge cycling advocate — so much so that you may already know her. Does the “Cyclist Lawyer” ring a bell? Megan currently lives in Golden, Colorado where she makes her way around town by electric bicycle. Let’s join her for a few errands as she replaces a car trip with a bike ride.
No stranger to a bike commute, Megan is ready to go.
We met up with Megan on a beautiful morning to tag along as she ran a few errands. Our first stop was a local bank. As we depart her office, we make our way to a dedicated bike path. There’s nothing cooler than hitting the scenic paths around Golden — so many beautiful sights as you zip through the trees alongside the creek.
When making the initial decision to bike more, what was your motivation?
“I realized I was going and doing these long training rides to be fit for racing, and then I'd come home, shower and get into my car to go get groceries. The disconnect basically hit me upside the head.
This coincided with when my life as a bike racer began to intertwine with my work in bike advocacy. I was startled to realize there isn't much overlap between the groups — the bike advocacy realm contained an entirely new group of people who were not really into racing but who used their bikes for all other facets of life. This was a big “aha” moment for me — one I'm ashamed to admit took a long time in coming. Prior to that I used commuting as a way to train for racing when I was working and didn't have time for long training rides.
Slowly I started using my race bike as my commuter, adding a backpack, then I added a seat post clamp bag, then I came to own a commuter bike and then a few years ago made the leap to a "committed commuter," aka, my e-bike. #RideMoreDriveLess was a mantra and slogan I created a few years ago and it's truly how I live my life now — I'm not ANTI car, but I am PRO bike.”
After a quick stop at the ATM, we decided to head to a coffee shop next. Megan led the way to local shop Pangea. On the cute patio we asked Megan for more great advice.
Local coffee is the best coffee! Thank you Pangea Coffee Roasters!
What advice would you give a new rider considering ditching their car as much as possible?
“Start with what you have — a bike, your helmet, a good bike lock — that will get you far. Start with a backpack. Go run some errands close to home and see how it goes. See how much you feel ok carrying, see where you feel safe leaving your bike and not wanting to leave your bike. Experiment with messy helmet hair and sweat on your way somewhere.
Start with the easy ones, like meetups for coffee or yoga on a weekend when you don't need to maintain a polished appearance, and then start dabbling with riding to work. Start at minimum with all the places you go within a 5-10 mile radius of your home. It may even prompt you to reevaluate where you do your business — isn't there likely a gym, doctor, bank, library, yoga studio, hair salon, etc. within close proximity to your home? For most of us, the answer is yes, so don't spend your life driving all over town to see the dentist you've always seen, when there is likely a great dentist closer to home within a bikeable distance!
For work commutes, consider adding in some public transit to split the distance or drive in one day, ride home, ride in the next day, then drive home. ANY time you leave the car home it's a win. Consolidate trips, too. Using the bike has taught me I do NOT need to ‘run out for that quick thing’ since now, there's effort involved. I also buy less, shop less, spend less... carrying groceries home definitely forces one to be intentional with purchases! You will soon find yourself shopping more locally, getting to know your local business owners and their employees too. All of this goes hand in hand to being healthier, happier and more connected.
Bottom line: don't overthink it — ride what you own, go where you need to go, enjoy the experience of using your legs and lungs to get your daily life stuff accomplished! I even exchange propane tanks and pick up big packages from FedEx by bike now. Virtually anything is possible!”
And we’re off to the next stop.
After coffee and good conversation, we made our way to Runner’s Roost. A local shop full of great supplies for athletes. Megan stocked up on some essentials.
As we wrap up at the shop and leave, Megan loads up her rear rack with her items, securing them in place for the next stop on the list!
Such beautiful scenery in Golden, CO.
How does it make you feel knowing that you are contributing to a greater good and combating climate change by cycling?
Every time my car sits in the garage for a day, a full week, sometimes several weeks at a time — it feels really, really good. I am not contributing to pollution when I ride, and I'm also improving my health which means I'm likely to be less of a strain on our already tapped-out healthcare system. I'm not spending money on fuel. I'm breathing air and engaging with my environment rather than cruising around burning fossil fuels for my convenience. It feels really good.
Am I sweaty when I ride versus polished and neat when I drive with the A/C on? Yes. Is sweat and sunshine good for me? Hell yes.
Bikes are a HUGE part of the climate change discussion and a great solution — we simply cannot all be out driving as single passengers in our cars anymore. It's not good, it's not sustainable, traffic makes us all so angry and the planet can't handle it.
Do I fly on airplanes and do I take trips in my van? Yes. I try my best to offset my trips by biking more than I drive in a year, recycling, composting, buying used clothing and doing what I can. It's all small stuff but it all adds up. Imagine the possibilities — if everyone even just committed to one "no car" day a week, one "meatless” day each week and so on. The power is in all of us to do what we can when we can. Riding for me is a big personal carbon offset that makes me feel good.”
As we wrap up our morning ride we say goodbye to Megan as she plans one last stop on her morning errands.
Last but not least, Why do you bike everywhere?
“It makes me happy. I am happiest when I am pedaling. When I'm talking to the car driver stopped next to me at a red light, or chatting up the cyclist I encounter on the bike path, or talking to someone at the store about my helmet and why I'm wearing it while I'm getting groceries. For me the bike is the hub — the center — of my happiest, healthiest life. It's at the core of everything I do.
I believe bikes can save us, if we let them. I ride everywhere in the hopes, too, that I'll inspire others to do the same.”
Is sweat and sunshine good for me? Hell yes. Bikes are a HUGE part of the climate change discussion and a great solution.