My Eco- New Year's Resolution is Victorious

If there were a group named EcoFails Anonymous until recently I would have introduced myself like this, 

"Hello my name is Maura and I am an EcoFail.  Yes, I am a 19 year old who does not know how to ride a bike."

"Hi Maura"

However, no more!!!!! I have successfully completed my New Year's Resolution of learning how to ride a bike!!! It was the first nice day in forever, so on March 7th my encouraging roommate Natalie and I went out to the parking lot to check this essential life experience off my New Year's Resolution list.  It was very very scary, but now I know how!  There were some tough times like when I ran into the van.

But, don't let this picture fool you into thinking we had a stressful, grim, and destructive afternoon, it was a great, silly, and successful afternoon! I have some ridiculous footage taken by my awesome sansei Natalie who taught me how to ride.  I hope you all to laugh at me half as hard as I laughed at myself! I could not bring myself to post the truly terrible first runs, just to give you some perspective on how exciting this was!

I sort of had the hang of going straight, but was still very afraid to lean into turns out of fear that I would fall off. 

As the afternoon progressed and I became a little more competent at turning we began to focus on precision and tighter turning in the form of U-Turns. 

Natalie did a wonderful job at teaching how to ride.  She was never without a smile and encouraging advice.  By the end of the day I was worthy of Indiana Jones-esque Background Music generously supplied by Natalie. 

Today on Sunday April 6th I decided that since I went to all that trouble learning how to ride a bike I should probably take the next step and ride to a destination!  I thought, why not ride to church for the 7 pm mass, it it Sunday so there will be little traffic.  Plus it only takes 15 minutes to walk to the Catholic Student Center, so riding a bike there would theoretically be even shorter.  Confidently I left the apartment bike in tow with 20 minutes to get to mass. Well, long story short I left with 5 minutes to spare walking and I was 10 minutes late biking.  I could have walked there twice in the time it took me!  However, I am still going to put the ride in the win column.  I got a little lost and was therefore late, but I navigated through intersections.  Conversely I chickened out and walked through others, but jumped a sloped curb without falling off... and accidentally biked into a wall another time.  However, I made it to my destination, I was doing the right thing most of the time and got to where I needed to go without doing any irreparable damage to my brain overall!  So again, going in the win column!

Bike riding, as I am discovering, is an enjoyable and efficient pastime.  Two of the SGA parties running for election on Tuesday and Wednesday are emphasizing the Campus Bike Share Program as a top priority.  All four major parties also tout sustainability as a priority.  Bicycles as a means of transportation are uniquely perfect for students on a large campus such as the University of Maryland.  The Eppley Recreational Center has a FREE Experiential Bicycle Repair Shop in the Outdoor Recreation Center where our own EcoHouse member Cameron can be found.  However the surrounding areas outside of campus are just as passionate about a pleasant and convenient biking experience that intrinsically be found on a campus.  Check out the College Park Area Bicycle Coalition to see resources available to local bicyclers including a local map.  I am just scratching the surface, and probobly don't have the best information because I am just learning, however I do encourage all of the EcoHouse to think about taking their bikes out for a spin one of these really nice days.  You all may rediscover your love for something that all normal people learned in their childhoods.